Potential Draft Options for Hornets: Second-Round Guards

Matt Rochinski and Sam Perley of hornets.com will be following the Hornets throughout the 2017 NBA offseason 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 | Monday, June 5, 9:44 a.m.

The 11th overall pick in the upcoming 2017 NBA Draft scheduled to be made by the Charlotte Hornets could be paired with another incoming rookie player as the team also holds the 41st selection of the night as well. Although second-round picks can change hands multiple times throughout the draft process, some recent rule changes in the NBA might have teams now thinking twice about doing so.

Beginning next season, each franchise will be allotted a pair of “two-way contracts”, extending each roster from 15 to 17 guaranteed spots. These designated players, who need to have less than three years of professional service to qualify, will likely spend much of the season moving between the NBA and G-League, although at higher salaries than in previous years. The goal is to incentivize more players to sign and develop with NBA teams, rather than head overseas.

With two extra roster spots available, NBA franchises will certainly be doing their due diligence knowing they now have more resources to entice players to stay stateside and develop. That being said, a number of intriguing guard prospects could be available for the Hornets during the second round if that’s an area they choose to address at the time.  

Jawun Evans (PG, Oklahoma State) – Jawun Evans saw his freshman season at Oklahoma State end prematurely because of a shoulder injury, but he recovered nicely this past year with averages of 19.2 points on 43.8 percent shooting, 3.4 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 1.8 steals across 32 games for the Cowboys.

Evans is a talented, versatile scorer who can also really facilitate and create turnovers. He’s a bit undersized (5’11 ½”) and not an overall elite athlete, but his ability to generate offense and act as a floor general should help him find a place at the next level.  

Frank Jackson (PG, Duke) – Frank Jackson finished his freshman campaign at Duke on a high note, posting overall averages of 10.9 points on 47.3 percent shooting, 2.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 24.9 minutes over 36 games for the 2017 ACC Tournament Champion Blue Devils.

A gifted athlete with high-level scoring ability, the 6’3” Jackson doesn’t exactly have a defined position or elite facilitating skills. Despite recent right foot surgery to address a stress reaction that will likely sideline him until late July, Jackson has enough physical upside and potential to find a home on a NBA roster.

Derrick White (G/SG, Colorado) – Derrick White made his lone season of Division I basketball count with averages of 18.1 points on 50.7 percent shooting, 4.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.4 blocks in 32.8 minutes across 34 appearances for the Buffaloes last year.

A two-time NCAA Division II All-American at Colorado-Colorado Springs, White is a prolific scorer, free-throw creator, defender and overall playmaker. It’ll be another big jump in the level of competition for White, although he’s proven he has the size (6’4 ½” with a 6’7 ½” wingspan), skill set and all-around ability to make it as a future NBA combo guard.

Edmond Sumner (PG, Xavier) – A season-ending left ACL tear in January didn’t deter point guard Edmond Sumer from declaring for the NBA Draft after he averaged 14.3 points on 47.9 percent shooting, 4.2 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.2 steals as a redshirt sophomore at Xavier.

An alum of NBA-talent factory Detroit Country Day School, Sumner has a very nice blend of size (6’5 ¾” with a 6’9” wingspan), athleticism and speed. To what extent his knee injury will affect his NBA development is a bit of mystery, but Sumner’s overall offensive and facilitating skills in addition to great intangibles should still land him on a roster somewhere. 

Josh Hart (SG, Villanova) – Villanova might not have won a second-straight National Championship in 2017, but senior shooting guard Josh Hart still marveled for the Wildcats with averages of 18.7 points on 51.0 percent shooting, 6.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.5 steals over 36 total outings.

On top of a well-rounded offensive game, Hart is an experienced player with very high character and maturity. The 2017 Big East Player of the Year doesn’t have a huge amount of upside at 22 years old, but certainly brings enough to the table to earn a rotational spot on a number of NBA teams. 

P.J. Dozier (SG, South Carolina) – Shooting guard P.J.Dozier’s NCAA Tournament run with South Carolina helped cap off a sophomore season in which he averaged 13.9 points on 40.7 percent shooting, 4.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.7 steals over 36 overall appearances for the Gamecocks’ Final Four squad.

Dozier has great size and length (6’6 ¾” with a 6’11” wingspan), which should give him some positional flexibility in the NBA. Not a great long-range shooter or rebounder for a player his size, Dozier is an aggressive, two-way prospect very capable of latching on somewhere at the next level. 

Frank Mason (PG, Kansas) – Kansas senior point guard Frank Mason exploded for averages of 20.9 points on 49.0 percent shooting, 4.2 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.3 steals in 36 contests on his way to claiming Naismith College Player of the Year honors this past year for the Jayhawks.

A regular three-point threat (42.0 percent for his career at Kansas) who can create his own shot, Mason also possesses great quickness and end-to-end speed. He is already 23 years old and a bit undersized (6’0”), but Mason should have enough adaptable skills already to make it in the NBA.  

Tyler Dorsey (SG, Oregon) – Sophomore shooting guard Tyler Dorsey put up 14.6 points on 46.7 percent shooting (42.3 percent from three-point range), 3.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 39 games this past year as part of a talented Oregon core that lead the school to its first Final Four appearance since 1939.

A dual American-Greek citizen with international experience, Dorsey is not only a great overall scorer, but is also known for his rebounding and playmaking abilities. Dorsey’s consistency and decision-making will need to improve, yet he’s talented enough to eventually become a great all-around NBA combo guard down the line.  

Monte Morris (PG, Iowa State) – MonteMorris finished off a stellar four-year career at Iowa State with averages of 16.4 points on 46.5 percent shooting, 4.8 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.5 steals in 35 total outings for the Big 12 Conference Tournament Champion Cyclones this past season. 

The four-time reigning NCAA leader in assist-to-turnover ratio (4.65 for his career), Morris is an extremely reliable facilitator who can also score the ball a number of different ways. He will need to get a bit bigger (currently 175 lbs.) and although lacks elite athleticism, Morris does possess very sought-after skills and basketball intelligence for any NBA point guard. 

Wesley Iwundu (SG, Kansas State) – Wesley Iwundu finished off his senior season and career at Kansas State by posting averages of 13.0 points on 48.1 percent shooting, 6.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.0 steal over 35 games, helping the Wildcats snap a three-year NCAA Tournament drought.

Standing 6’6 ¾” with a 7’1” wingspan, Iwundu projects as a NBA combo guard/forward who can score, rebound, facilitate and defend the wing. Iwundu needs to become a better overall jump- shooter, although his high energy and two-way abilities will surely be coveted by plenty of teams in the upcoming NBA Draft. 

Sindarius Thornwell (SG, South Carolina) – The 2017 SEC Player of the Year, Sindarius Thornwell concluded his senior season with averages of 21.4 points on 44.5 percent shooting, 7.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.1 steals in helping lead the South Carolina Gamecocks to their first-ever Final Four appearance.

Thornwell is an experienced shooting guard with a transferable offensive game to go along with outstanding toughness and leadership. Already 22 years old, Thornwell doesn’t have a ton of upside or great athleticism, but can certainly score at a high-enough rate to make it as a NBA player. 

Nigel Williams-Goss (PG, Gonzaga) – Redshirt junior Nigel Williams-Goss averaged 16.8 points on 48.6 percent shooting, 6.0 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.7 steals over 38 games in his debut season at Gonzaga, helping the Bulldogs make their inaugural NCAA Championship Game debut in April.

The 2017 West Coast Conference Player of the Year, Williams-Goss’ game is predicated on his playmaking, facilitating and overall on-court leadership. Not a tremendous athlete with great quickness, the 22-year-old Williams-Goss can score and run an offense effectively enough to land himself a NBA roster spot. 

Kobi Simmons (PG, Arizona) – Freshman Kobi Simmons put up 8.8 points on 39.7 percent shooting, 1.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 23.5 minutes over 37 games this season for an Arizona Wildcats team that won its second Pac-12 Conference Tournament Championship in the last three years.

Despite limited playing time in Tucson, Simmons showed flashes of being a high-level athlete who can score in a number of different ways with accompanying rebounding and passing skills. Simmons will still need a bit of time to develop, but could be a valuable NBA combo guard somewhere in the not-too-distant future. 

Sterling Brown (SG, SMU) – Sterling Brown finished off his four-year SMU career with averages of 13.4 points on 45.9 percent shooting, 6.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.5 steals in 35 games this season, helping the Mustangs reach the NCAA Tournament for just the second time since the 1992-93 campaign.

The younger brother of two-time NBA champion Shannon Brown, Sterling can score, create plays and possesses desirable size and length (6’5” with a 6’9 ½” wingspan) for a shooting guard. Brown can certainly carve out a role as a 3-and-D player at the next level, despite not being a super-great athlete or exceptional in one particular area on the court.

L.J. Peak (SG, Georgetown) – Shooting guard L.J. Peak put up 16.2 points on 48.0 shooting, 3.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.1 steals over 32 games as a junior for the Georgetown Hoyas this past season, numbers that have helped him firmly move into the 2017 NBA Draft conversation.

Peak is another potential two-way player at the next level who excels as a versatile scorer, passer and defender. Although he will need to work on his shooting mechanics and ball-handling, Peak’s overall skill set, physical dimensions and recent improvements could land him a spot on a NBA roster.