For a team with a rather poor history of Draft decisions, the Hornets struck it big with LaMelo Ball two years ago. With two picks in the top 15 of the 2022 draft, they’re looking to find someone just as good. Their biggest need is on the front line at the power positions as Charlotte could use better rebounding and a rim-protector/intimidator. The Hornets were 22nd in defensive rating and defensive woes were behind why the Hornets failed to make the playoffs and led to coach James Borrego’s dismissal. Charlotte could package its two first-round picks in the Draft, or trade for an established big.
A Stat That Matters
2nd — The Hornets ranked second in both ball and player movement, averaging 357 passes and 11.8 miles traveled per 24 minutes of possession, according to Second Spectrum tracking.
The Way To Go
With two first-round picks, the Hornets could take a center as well as a defensive-minded swingman. A good fit for the former would be Memphis center Jalen Duren, who brings a 7-foot-5 wingspan and is more of a traditional center who patrols the paint. Then at 15, the Hornets would be happy with EJ Liddell because, as a junior, he’s more NBA-ready from a maturity standpoint than most and brings lots of two-way promise from his time at Ohio State.
G: LaMelo Ball
G: James Bouknight
G: Terry Rozier
F/G: Kelly Oubre Jr.
F: Gordon Hayward
F: JT Thor
F: P.J. Washington
F/C: Mason Plumlee
C/F: Kai Jones
C: Nick Richards
G: Scottie Lewis (restricted)
G: Isaiah Thomas (unrestricted)
F: Miles Bridges (restricted)
F: Arnoldas Kulboka (restricted)
F: Cody Martin (restricted)
F/C: Jalen McDaniels (team option)
F/C: Montrezl Harrell (unrestricted)
Last Year’s Draft
2021: James Bouknight (11), Kai Jones (19)*, JT Thor (37)*, Scottie Lewis (56), Balsa Kroprivica (57) **
* = acquired via trade
** = traded in draft-night deal
— Shaun Powell