DRAFT TRADE: Hornets acquire No. 34 overall pick (Devonte' Graham) in trade with Atlanta Hawks for second-round picks in 2019 and 2023
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Areas Of Strength
The Hornets are coming off back-to-back 36-win seasons with essentially the same core group and will ride that continuity with a new set of eyes in the GM and head coaching chairs into the 2018-19 season. New general manager Mitch Kupchak has already announced the there is no “master plan to blow up the roster” and that new coach James Borrego came on board with the understanding that he’d coach the players currently under contract. That clear understanding of the way forward at least gives everyone involved an understanding of where they stand and what’s expected. The Hornets believe they are a playoff team as presently constituted, whether anyone else believes it or not.
A new regime has to shine a light on the Hornets’ player development program that is clearly in need of tweaking. The Hornets have piled up lottery and first-round picks in recent years but have produced just one homegrown All-Star in Kemba Walker. If the Hornets are going to continue to lean on their own talent, however it was acquired, they have to improve on the internal structure that accelerates the growth process.
Two Stats That Matter
+21 -- For the second straight season, the Hornets had a losing record and a positive point differential, having outscored their opponents by 21 points over the course of 82 games. This year, they were the only team with that distinction, with a 2-8 record in games decided by fewer than five points.
132 -- The Hornets made just 132 corner 3-pointers, fewest in the league. They ranked 22nd in the percentage of their shots that came from 3-point range and 29th in the percentage of their 3-point attempts that came from the corners.
-- John Schuhmann
The Way To Go
The Hornets are set at point guard with Kemba Walker and can avoid reaching for one of the top prospects at the position. Bolstering the rotation with another long, athletic wing or front court player to add even more depth to an already stout group. A player like Mikal Bridges would be an ideal fit and could make an immediate impact. Kevin Knox is even longer and every bit as athletic. But the real prize could come in the form of a player projected to go higher who drops for whatever reason (guys like Wendell Carter or Michael Porter).
2017-18 Team Stats (points per 100 possessions, with NBA rank)
Offensive: 107.0 (13th)
Defensive: 107.0 (16th)
G: Kemba Walker
G: Jeremy Lamb
G: Malik Monk
G: Julyan Stone
F: Nicolas Batum
F: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
F: Marvin Williams
F: Frank Kaminsky
F: Dwyane Bacon
F: Cody Zeller
C: Willie Hernangomez
C: Dwight Howard
C: Mankong Mathiang
G: Michael Carter-Williams (unrestricted)
G: Treveon Graham (restricted)
G: Marcus Paige (unrestricted)
Recent Draft History
2017: Malik Monk (11), Frank Jackson (31) traded to New Orleans
2016: Malachi Richardson (22), traded to Sacramento
2015: Frank Kaminsky (9), Juan Pablo Vaulet (39), traded to Brooklyn
2014: Noah Vonleh (9), Shabazz Napier (24), traded to Miami
2013: Cody Zeller (4)
2012: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (2), Jeffrey Taylor (31)
2011: Kemba Walker (9), Tobias Harris (19), traded to Milwaukee
-- Sekou Smith