Heading into the Draft this week the Charlotte Hornets have the 9th, 24th and 45th picks. In such a deep draft there are a multitude of potentially good players to draft. Here are a few players the Hornets should look at for each of their picks in the draft.
It’s still up in the air what Charlotte will do at this point with the 9th pick. Many reports seem to indicate that they will look to trade it but the talent available might be too good to pass up.
The biggest need for the Hornets is shooting at the wing position. The question is whether or not they’ll upgrade at either the Shooting Guard or Small Forward position. What the Hornets choose to do will not only show what direction this team wants to take this season—trade for a veteran and see how are far the team can go in the playoffs or draft a player and hope he can contribute now and develop quickly—but also an indicator of how the team feels about Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s development. If they feel that his shot and offense can continue to grow then it’s likely a Shooting Guard, if they feel there isn’t much hope for his shot/offensive game it would make sense for them to look at a Small Forward.
The top three choices for the Bobcats at the 9th pick are likely going to be Doug McDermott, Nik Stauskas and Gary Harris.
McDermott is obviously the best scorer of the three but at this point he projects to be a Small Forward or Power Forward which complicates things when he’s put on defense. He’s probably going to be too slow to defend other small forwards and he’s not a rim-protector either which could make pairing him with Al Jefferson a liability.
Stauskas is seen as the best pure shooter of the draft which would obviously make him a no-brainer as a contender for the Hornets to pick. But he also lacks the athleticism to create his own shot which would leave him largely as a spot up shooter. The lack of athleticism is also concerning on the defensive end. Steve Clifford was able to transform the team last season into one of the top defensive teams but how many minus defenders can he put on the court before the cracks become too much?
Harris projects as a shooting guard and is likely the best two-way player at his position in the draft. He’s not particularly dominant in any one area but he’s solid across the board. The biggest need for Harris will be to not get into the habit of shooting pull-up midrange two’s and instead look to step out beyond the arc. Regardless, his weaknesses aren’t too glaring and that’s basically a plus within itself.
At the 24th pick there will still be several intriguing players left to take. If either Kyle Anderson or KJ McDaniels is still available the Hornets should give them a hard look.
Kyle Anderson is 6’9 and is projected as a Small/Power Forward who really wants to play Point Guard. He has some of the best IQ and vision in the draft as well as the ability to step out beyond the three-point arc. The difficulty with Anderson is that he is so unique and it could be hard for teams to accommodate his specific skill set. But he could actually fit right in for the Hornets in an expanded Josh McRoberts type role—spacing the floor on offense and helping to move the ball effectively.
KJ McDaniels is an outstanding athlete and an excellent defender. There are questions about his ability to shoot but coming from someone who watched him play most of his games, he averaged 17 points for a team that struggled to score 40 sometimes. He was basically the only offensive option for the Tigers and received much of the defensive focus. Don’t be surprised if he shoots better than expected at the pro-level.
As for the 45th pick if the Hornets are still hurting for shooting there will probably still be a good chance that CJ Wilcox is still around. Wilcox shot over 40% from 3 on nearly three attempts per game. While he doesn’t project to be much more than a good shooter, he could still be valuable coming off the bench. His age, 23, isn’t ideal but if he can fill a roll well he should be playable.
Bismack Biyombo hasn’t been quite the success that he was hoped to be when the team drafted him and with his rookie contract expiring next year it might be good to get another cheap big to back up Big Al at center. If Isaiah Austin is still available the Hornets should definitely consider him. The 7-footer from Baylor is a physical freak with one of the largest standing reaches in the draft which gives him great blocking capability. He’s not the greatest rebounder but if he can develop a little bit more of his midrange game he could possibly share the court with Jefferson which could shore up those woes.
Patric Young from Florida is another big that the Hornets could look at if he’s still available. He never put together consistent dominant performances and wasn’t the greatest rebounder but playing next to someone like Jefferson he wouldn’t have such a burden. Young shines as a physical presence, shot blocker and a great post-defender which would make him a great player to shore up the Hornets frontcourt defense.