The NBA Draft is coming up on October 16, which means The Game Haus will be doing draft profiles for each NBA team. Each day, a new team will be analyzed for their past season, their team needs and projected targets. Today, the Charlotte Hornets will be evaluated.
The Charlotte Hornets finished 10th in the Eastern Conference, which left them on the outside looking in when the NBA restarted in the bubble. Despite having one of the better records in the lottery, they ended up with the third overall pick.
Charlotte acquired Terry Rozier in a sign-and-trade for franchise stalwart Kemba Walker before the season began. Their win total dropped by 16 in 2019, which signifies a soft-rebuild. Last year’s first round draft pick P.J. Washington saw significant minutes, but other than that there are not too many bright spots of which to speak.
In a fortuitous turn of events, the Hornets have a chance to turn their team around with a top-five pick. They may even find a new Kemba Walker in the process.
The Hornets have three picks in the 2019 NFL Draft.
First Round: Pick No. 3
Second Round: Picks No. 32, 56
Offense, offense, offense- The Hornets ranked dead last in points per game last season, which should paint a picture of their struggles and who they should be targeting in this draft. At 102.9 points per game and 43.4 percent from the field, the Hornets will go nowhere until they focus on scoring.
Blocks and steals– Charlotte also failed to impress in the most flashy (and arguably helpful) defensive stats, ranking 25th in blocks and 26th in steals last season. They need to find players that can unsettle the other team’s rhythm and capitalize on them.
First Round, Pick No. 3: LaMelo Ball, PG (Australia)
The Hornets cannot really go wrong with this pick. Any of the top five players would fill one or many of their needs. LaMelo Ball, however, might be the best two-way player in the 2020 draft, even if the Hornets are a little on the smaller side.
Ball can be paired with Rozier or Monk equally well. He needs to work on his assist numbers, but if the Hornets can up their scoring total, they will rise quickly. Although he may not be the prospect with the most raw talent, one could argue he is one of the most NBA-ready in the draft.
Again, if Charlotte winds up with Obi Toppin, James Wiseman or Onyeka Okongwu they should have no reason not to be thrilled. But Ball will be hard to pass on if he falls to the third pick.
Second Round, Pick No. 32: Paul Reed, PF (DePaul)
Continuing the line of reasoning established above (that Charlotte picks Ball), then a big should be next on their list. There is lots of talent at the power forward and center positions in this draft, but Paul Reed would be a great pick based on the Hornets’ needs.
First of all, he averaged 2.6 blocks per game in his last season at DePaul. Considering his 6-foot-9 frame, that is a massive number. He also finished with almost two steals per game as well. He can play big minutes right away and can give Charlotte extra possessions with his rebounding prowess.
The biggest problem here is his scoring. Although Reed averaged 15.1 points per game his field goal percentage sits at just 51.6 percent. That has to rise to make this pick worth the high-second rounder they would be spending on him.
Second Round, Pick No. 56: Nate Hinton, SG/SF (Houston)
A glaring hole in the 2020 NBA Draft is the lack of combo guards/forwards. There are very few on most people’s big boards, but if Charlotte sees one they like they need to take a swing. Nate Hinton might be worth a bit of a reach at pick number 56.
None of his numbers stand out, aside from his 8.7 rebounds per game in an average of 30.3 minutes. But for versatility’s sake, a player that can handle multiple positions like Hinton should intrigue the Hornets.
Obviously, his scoring needs to rise (10.6 points per game in 2019-2020). However, there is potential in this draft to cheat out four positions out of only three draft picks. For a team like Charlotte that needs to grow in a few different categories, Hinton could be an X-factor if he is coached up well enough.
Featured Image courtesy of Charlotte Hornets
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