The middle of this June's NBA lottery improved considerably when Georgia Tech point guard Kenny Anderson became the first prominent underclassman to turn pro.
Anderson announced yesterday he will give up his last two seasons of college eligibility to join the NBA. In doing so, he probably will become the first guard taken in the June 26 draft, possibly by Charlotte.
An NBA gag order concerning underclassmen still applies to Anderson, so Hornets vice president Allan Bristow couldn't discuss Anderson's impact yesterday. However, one NBA general manager, speaking under anonymity, predicted Anderson will go somewhere between third and seventh overall.
"The only team that would take him as high as third is Sacramento," the general manager said. "If Minnesota or Orlando had the third pick, he wouldn't go third."
Minnesota and Orlando are already strong at point with Pooh Richardson and Scott Skiles. Miami is less secure at the point, with Sherman Douglas entering restricted free agency in July, but the source said it is unlikely the Heat would take Anderson as high as third.
The Hornets have the fourth-worst record in the NBA. If that holds the rest of the season, the Hornets are guaranteed no worse than the seventh overall pick under the draft-lottery system.
The Hornets probably would have to be closer to seventh than first to justify taking Anderson or any guard at this time. Charlotte is loaded in the backcourt, and Hornets coach Gene Littles advocates going with a center like Georgetown's Dikembe Mutombo.
Anderson said yesterday that he is turning pro primarily to provide for his mother, who is ill with an ulcer and unable to work.