So, the basketball gods have smiled upon the Charlotte Hornets Franchise and have blessed us with the #3 pick in this year’s NBA draft. It has been a long time since we have been with a pick that was better than 8, and with Mitch Kupchak as the GM, I believe we are in a great position to start making some waves in the NBA.
Now, if you follow fellow Hornets fans on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., and you are part of a “Hornets Fans” group of some sort, the hopes and prayers of many fans as to who Mitch drafts at #3 are very diverse. I want to address each version that I have seen, and I’m just going to brush lightly on them:
- Hornets need to draft James Wiseman to fill the need at C.
- Hornets need to draft LaMelo Ball and then the Hornets will get more media attention.
- It would be great for the Hornets if they could draft a big man like Wiseman, Okongwu, or Toppin.
- We should try to trade down and draft Cole Anthony.
- We ought to go after Anthony Edwards.
Yeah, the opinions are far and wide as to what to do this year. I mean, since it is the first year since 2013 that we have a choice of the 3 to 4 best players available in the draft, so all eyes are on Mitch and his staff to pick that BEST PLAYER AVAILABLE. In 2013, Cody Zeller was drafted. I really like Cody, so I am OK with drafting him (please don’t bring up that Giannis Antetokounmpo was drafted at 15, or that Rudy Gobert was drafted at 27. Hindsight is always 20/20). With that said, let’s take a glance at the above options and dig into them a little bit. Granted, we all have a right to our own opinions, so, let’s get to it.
According to Mitch Kupchak, we will draft the best available player with our number 3 pick. This makes it sound like we will take whoever is there that we believe is the best overall player, and that is that. Glance back up now. Basically, the consensus belief is that the top 3 players in this draft are Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman, whom we only saw limited college action of, and LaMelo Ball, who we all know comes with the drama of Lavar. Then there is this blur of Obi Toppin, Onyeka Okongwu, Killian Hayes, Deni Avdija, Isaac Okoro, and Tyrese Haliburton. No, I am not mentioning Cole Anthony as a top 4 player in this draft, and I don’t think I need to, so go ahead and mark that #4 bullet point above off of the list.
Of these names, if Mitch were bluffing about wanting to draft for a team need, Wiseman and Okongwu would be the 2 centers we are targeting in the draft.
If he’s not bluffing, from what I’ve seen in mock drafts, Edwards is almost a lock at #1, with Lamelo Ball and James Wiseman floating at #2 and #3. If they are truly the top 3 guys, get ready to welcome a player we need, a player whose dad knows how to drum up publicity, or Anthony Edwards, a shooting guard who would be a great addition to the team.
We could get a curve ball from Mitch, and go get Deni Avdija, who could be the next coming of Luka Doncic. At this point, we still have to take a look at our roster and decide what the plan is.
Did you know that the Hornets will have guaranteed salaries next season for 9 players? Granted, we will be keeping Devonte Graham, so that makes 10, and we could either extend a qualifying offer to Dwayne Bacon, which I think we should, which would put us to 11 players on the roster. No way Nic Batum turns down $27,130,434.00 for his last year on his contract…right? RIGHT?!?! That mean’s we are at 11, and he will not be here in the 2021, 2022 season. Cody Zeller is an expiring contract this year, so after this season, we won’t have him anymore on guaranteed money. Bismack Biyombo’s contract has expired, so perhaps we could keep him here on a small deal. He and Cody are both major energy and hustle guys that could really mentor a rookie center. Willy Hernangomez is off the books, so we are actually thin at the center position, with Cody as the only Center we have on the roster, unless we push PJ Washington to that spot. As for wing players, we got ’em. Monk, Bridges, Cody & Caleb, Bacon, McDaniels…and Nic. We should have the 2-guard and small forward covered in my opinion. With Graham and Rozier, I think we are in reasonable shape as well at point guard. Monk needs to commit 100% to this team and win the fans over by showing what he is truly capable of. This is a make or break season for him. I know it seems like I’m drifting away from the draft, but I needed to make these points so that everyone would actually stop and look at what we got, where we are, and where we need to go.
This team overachieved last season, and we could either see us take the reigns, our youth continue to surprise critics and show the world that they were the real deal and not a fluke, or we could drift back into a “blah” and boring team. As an avid follower of this team, “blah” is not going to happen. Mitch has aimed us in the right direction, and filled the team with extremely talented youth that we can work with and build on.
I do tend to get long-winded sometimes and people don’t like to read novels when they are looking for information on their favorite team, so I’ll wrap this up. With everything I have said above, and looking at the players we have, and players we will lose at the end of next season, here is what I would like to see:
- Devonte Graham – PG
- Terry Rozier – PG
- Malik Monk – PG/SG
- Cody Martin – SG
- Dwayne Bacon – SG
- Miles Bridges – SF/PF
- Caleb Martin – SF
- Jalen McDaniels – SF/PF
- PJ Washington – PF/C
- Cody Zeller – C
- James Wiseman – C/PF
- Bismack Biyombo – C
- Undrafted Gem
- Undrafted Gem
- Trade or buy out Nic Batum
Yep, that’s about it for me. I’m on the Wiseman train. If he’s truly a top-3 talent guy, might as well draft a need. If he’s picked before we get to him, I’d consider going after Deni or Onyeka.
Wiseman has a good bit of unknown, but you can’t teach size, and this guy…well, he’s big guy to fill a big need.
One other note to mention; Mitch said we wouldn’t be too active in the free agent market. I love the intensity that Montrezl Harrell brings to the court and I would LOVE to have him in the teal and purple. If we had him, he’d certainly fill a need at PF/C, bringing crazy aggressiveness to the paint. Even if we got Wiseman, I think a multi-year contract to have Harrell would be worth it.