2012 NBA Draft: Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Hornets Can Learn From Spurs and Thunder Blueprints

 @twitter.com/#!/cerebralsportex on June 01 2012 11:11 AM

Things are looking up for the New Orleans Hornets after they were awarded 2012's No.1 overall pick in a conspiracy-filled NBA Draft lottery.

I won a national championship in New Orleans, so why not win another one in New Orleans? said Davis after the Lottery.

While Anthony Davis will no doubt change the complexion of the franchise's future, the Hornets have to recognize that one draft pick alone won't solve their franchises' woes. Small market franchises that draft well over multiple seasons rather than rest on the laurels of one pick ultimately reap the rewards.

The Orlando Magic drafted Dwight Howard in 2004 and while he's panned out as the best big man in the game and a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, he's also gotten lonely on the island as the Magic have failed to surround him with comparable star talent.

 With the 20th pick in the 2004 Draft, Orlando picked Jameer Nelson who has been nothing more than a rich man's Derek Fisher. In 2005, the Magic drafted skilled 22-year old, Spanish big man Fran Vasquez to pair with Howard. However, Vasquez ultimately opted to remain overseas and may never suit up for the Magic. The only draft pick the Magic have made in the last eight years that has had any sticking power is J.J. Reddick. As a result, Dwight Howard is seeking an escape route from Orlando.

On the other side of the spectrum, the two teams duking it out for the Western Conference's Finals berth have both drafted incredible well after selecting an elite college prospect in the NBA Draft.

Ignoring the fact that the first championship of San Antonio's dynasty era was spurred by their 1997 no-brainer selection of Tim Duncan.  However, their success has  continued courtesy of a pair of unheralded late first and second round picks.

After winning their first title in franchise history, the Spurs selected 21-year old Argentinian forward Manu Ginobili with the penultimate pick of the entire draft. In 2001, they selected 19-year old French point guard Tony Parker. With the 26th pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, San Antonio selected Tiago Splitter. However, Splitter opted to remain in Europe until 2010. While ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith may laugh about Splitter's contributions to the Spurs, he became a three-time Spanish Cup champion and Spanish League MVP in Europe.

Dejuan Blair was drafted 36th overall in 2010 as an undersized power forward with two bad knees but managed to average 9.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in his second season with the Spurs.

The Spurs also drafted guard George Hill with the 26th pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. However, after Hill's emergence in the rotation, the Spurs flipped him to Indiana for the 15th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Kawhi Leonard. Leonard has been tasked with guarding Kevin Durant throughout much of the Thunder series and produced a double-double in Game 2.

Oklahoma benefitted from a quartet of draft picks between 2007 and 2009. Durant wasn't the No. 1 overall pick like Duncan but the discussion raged all summer in 2007 between Durant and Oden as ferociously it did for the NFL's Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III.

However, Oklahoma City didn't stop there.  In 2008, they selected Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka, who finished second in 2012 Defensive Player of the Year voting, with the No. 4 and 24th overall picks respectively. They rounded out their core by taking James Harden No.3 overall over highly touted prospects Ricky Rubio, Tyreke Evans and Stephen Curry.

On June 28, the Hornets will begin the next stage in their evolution but the work shouldn't end there.

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