The thing about the draft is that it seldom goes according to the mocks and so the teams that are often the most successful are the ones that can react the best. The Charlotte Hornets did a great job of this in last week’s draft.
Everyone had Doug McDermott going to the Hornets but as Noah Vonleh continued to fall it became more and more apparent that the Hornets would have a chance to snag a highly rated prospect. Sometimes you pick according to need, other times you take what’s best available and sometimes you get lucky and get to pick someone who fits both descriptions. The only caviat is that Steve Clifford prefers a player with more experience than potential. This is understandable because it often takes rookies not only several years to reach their potential but it also takes a while to adjust to NBA defense. So while Vonleh is very young, if he develops well he will be a great compliment to Al Jefferson as a stretch-four and an impactful defender to replace Josh McRoberts.
PJ Hairston was widely seen as a potential candidate for the Hornets second pick and so it wasn’t all that surprising. Hairston is a great shooter and if the North Carolina native can maintain good behavior then he should really be a great fit for the Hornets. The team also made a great move by trading the pick to the Heat for the 26th pick and two second-rounders. The Hornets would have likely still taken Hairston with the 24th but they were still able to get him with the 26th as well as two additional picks.
In the second round the Hornets drafted Dwight Powell and Semaj Christon. However, Powell was traded to the Cavaliers along with Brendan Haywood for Alonzo Gee. Gee’s contract is unguaranteed so he could easily be waived, but if he remains he would give additional depth on the wing and is also a decent defender. Christon was traded to Oklahoma City for cash considerations which frees up more room as the Hornets prepare for free agency.
The draft is just the beginning of the offseason and it seems like the Hornets are set with their young pieces and are ready to hopefully make some quality additions as free agency begins at midnight.