While last Wednesday’s appearance in the NBA Play-In Tournament didn’t go as planned for the Charlotte Hornets, the organization still managed to end the week on a high note. Following Play-In Tournament wins by the New Orleans Pelicans over San Antonio and then the LA Clippers, the Hornets have officially snagged a second 2022 first-round pick, which is slotted at 15th overall.
This selection stems from last summer’s three-way sign-and-trade deal between Charlotte, New Orleans and Memphis, which involved Devonte’ Graham going to the Pelicans in exchange for a lottery-protected 2022 first-round pick. Had the Pelicans missed the playoffs this season, this pick would have immediately conveyed into a pair of second rounders in 2022 and 2024.
On top of its own first-round pick – the 13th overall, which was top-18 protected from Atlanta via New York – Charlotte also owns its own second-round pick this year, the 45th overall. If this selection had not fallen between 31 and 55, it would have been sent to New York via Boston as part of the Gordon Hayward and then Evan Fournier sign-and-trade transactions. With this pick now not conveying, any future obligation for Charlotte has now been extinguished.
Similarly, the Hornets had Toronto’s incoming second-round pick that they acquired last year from Golden State in the Brad Wanamaker deal. This pick was protected from 31-54 – now slotted at 50 – and will stay with the Warriors, with future obligations also nullified.
At the moment, this will be the first time that the Hornets have entered draft night with multiple top-15 picks since 2005. The NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday, May 17 will determine whether Charlotte’s own first-rounder will be 13th (92.9%), 14th (2.3%), top-4 (4.8%) or first (1.0%). The Hornets will need quite a bit of luck on their side to make this unusual leap – since the odds were flattened in 2019, no team slotted 12th or lower has jumped into the top-4.
Recent and other notable 13th overall picks include Tyler Herro (2019), Donovan Mitchell (2017), Devin Booker (2015), Zach LaVine (2014), Kobe Bryant (1996), Karl Malone (1985) and even current Hornets President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Mitch Kupchak (1976). Giannis Antetokounmpo (2013), Kawhi Leonard (2011), Al Jefferson (2004) and Dell Curry (1986) were all former 15th overall picks, as well.
Regardless of how things ultimately shake out, picking up another valuable asset with this first-round pick certainly gives the Charlotte Hornets more options and flexibility as they continue to build up the roster moving forward.