featured-image

Charlotte Hornets Add Four Players In 2023 NBA Draft

Charlotte Selects Brandon Miller, Nick Smith Jr. and Amari Bailey; Team Agrees In Principle to Acquire Draft Rights to James Nnaji

June 22, 2023 - The Charlotte Hornets tonight added four players in the 2023 NBA Draft, led by second overall pick Brandon Miller, a 6-9 forward from the University of Alabama who was named First Team AP All-America, SEC Player of the Year and NABC Freshman of the Year for the 2022-23 season. He became the first player in conference history to win SEC Player of the Year, SEC Freshman of the Year and SEC Tournament MVP in the same season, as the Crimson Tide won the SEC regular-season and tournament championships. Miller led all freshmen nationally in scoring, averaging an SEC-best 18.8 points per game. He also ranked first in the conference in three-point field goals (106), second in both 3-point percentage (38.4%) and free-throw percentage (85.9%), and fourth in rebounds per game (8.2).

With the 27th overall pick, the Hornets selected guard Nick Smith Jr. from the University of Arkansas. The 6-5 Smith Jr. averaged 12.5 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 25.8 minutes per game in his lone season at Arkansas, where he was limited to 17 games due to right knee management. He was a consensus top-three recruit in the country out of North Little Rock High School, collecting 2021-22 USA Today National High School Player of the Year and Arkansas Player of the Year honors and winning the state championship as a senior. Smith Jr. was also named co-MVP of the 2022 Jordan Brand Classic and participated in the 2022 Nike Hoop Summit.

The Hornets selected Xavier guard Colby Jones and Washington State forward Mouhamed Gueye with the 34th and 39th picks, respectively, and agreed in principle to trade the draft rights to those players to the Boston Celtics as part of a trade with Boston to be finalized later in which the Hornets will acquire the draft rights to James Nnaji, the 31st pick. A 6-10 center, Nnaji spent the past two seasons playing for FC Barcelona in the Spanish ACB league and EuroLeague. In 2022-23, he saw action in 27 games, averaging 4.9 points and 3.0 rebounds in 12.2 minutes per game, while shooting 67.1% from the field.

The Hornets used the No. 41 pick to select UCLA guard Amari Bailey. A member of the 2022-23 Pac-12 All-Freshman Team, the 6-5 Bailey averaged 11.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.1 steals in 30 games played for the Bruins, increasing those numbers to 17.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists in six postseason games between the Pac-12 and NCAA Tournaments. During his high school career at Sierra Canyon School, he was named California Mr. Basketball as a junior in 2020-21 and a McDonald’s High School All-American as a senior in 2021-22.