2017 NBA Draft Combine: Day 1

Matt Rochinski and Sam Perley of hornets.com will be following the Hornets throughout 2016-17 NBA season and keeping fans up to date through the Buzz Words | Hornets Notebook. Keep checking back to see what the latest is as the season unfolds.

By Sam Perley, hornets.com | Thursday, May 11, 6:43 p.m.

Nearly 70 of the country’s top collegiate players are in Chicago, IL this week as they get set to showcase their skills at the 2017 NBA Draft Combine. A majority of these prospects will take part in a number of different evaluations including physical measurements, drills, testing, five-on-five competition and media interviews. It’s the first step in an extremely busy selection process as these players will soon move on to individual workouts with teams all over the league in the next few weeks.

It should also be noted that a majority of the lottery-projected players declined to attend this year’s NBA Draft Combine, likely opting for private workouts with teams later on down the line instead. For those who do attend the event, many have officially declared for the NBA Draft already while others are still on the fence about leaving the collegiate ranks. Much of the feedback provided in the NBA Draft Combine’s evaluation process will ultimately be used to make those final decisions for players that are still up in the air.

Barring a major surprise in next week’s lottery selection, the Charlotte Hornets are scheduled to have the 11th and 41st overall picks in the 2017 NBA Draft. Hornets General Manager Rich Cho recently stated that the primary offseason needs for the team this upcoming summer include a backup point guard and additional rim protector. Whether these areas will be addressed in the NBA Draft is to be determined as the team can also be externally improved via trades and free agency.

During Day 1 of media availability at the NBA Draft Combine, players projected to be selected somewhere within the vicinity of Charlotte’s first-round pick gave their take on what it’d might be like to join the Hornets.

“[Playing for the Hornets] would definitely be something legendary. North Carolina is a legendary state when it comes to basketball,” said Wake Forest forward John Collins. “I went to an ACC school right down the street so it’d definitely be cool to see all that support from Winston-Salem and in state.”

University of North Carolina guard Justin Jackson added, “It’d be cool [to continue playing in North Carolina]. I’d get back [to school] and maybe be able to see a few games. Some of my teammates that are still going to be at North Carolina can come and see mine. That would definitely be cool. I still have all those relationships that I could continue to build.”

“Kemba [Walker’s] a New York guard. I feel like [the Hornets] need that one guard who comes off the bench and knocks down shots and also backup Kemba. I feel like I can create that role and play defense on the floor well,” stated Louisville’s Donovan Mitchell, whose father, Donovan Sr., also played college baseball for UNC-Charlotte in the early 1990s.

Not only will the Hornets be eyeing players to take in the NBA Draft, but also looking at ones to add for their Summer League and D-League rosters as well. Only 60 prospects will be drafted and there are always a handful of players every year who slip through the cracks only to eventually wind up on NBA teams.

Although there is just one more day of NBA Draft Combine action to go, the Charlotte Hornets will be plenty busy over the next few weeks searching far and wide for potential additions to the franchise.