The NBA Draft is under a month away, which means NBA Draftmas is back. Each day, The Game Haus will review a team’s past season, their team needs and targets. We will continue with the team that has the No. 11 overall pick, the Charlotte Hornets.
For the second straight season, the Charlotte Hornets finished with a 36-46 record. They have landed right in that middle section of bad teams and playoffs teams that prevents them from improving their team with a high draft pick. Charlotte was interesting at times during the season, but ultimately could not win consistently.
Kemba Walker had another All-Star season at point guard with averages of 22.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game. Dwight Howard also impressed with 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. Jeremy Lamb was a nice surprise as he averaged career highs in points (12.9), assists (2.3), steals (0.8) and 3-point percentage (37 percent).
After that, there was not too much to get excited about in Charlotte. Last year’s first-round pick Malik Monk showed potential early in the season after averaging 19.3 points in the team’s first six games. However, Monk struggled to see minutes and time in the rotation once the season got going. He had a few good performances at the end of the season and finishing with 6.7 points per game.
As a team, the Hornets ranked 10th in points, 24th in field goal percentage, eighth in 3-point percentage, 24th in assists and also had the third fewest turnovers.
Defensively, they ranked third in rebounds, 19th in points allowed, 22nd in opponent field goal percentage, 27th in opponent 3-point percentage, 28th in steals, 18th in blocks and 24th in forced turnovers.
The Hornets have room for improvement in a lot of places. It is important that they have a successful offseason if they wish to get out of mediocrity.
Picks and needs
First round: No. 11
Second round: No. 55
The Hornets are right on the fringe of missing out on all the top prospects like they were last season. However, this class of rookies is almost as stacked as last year’s. The Hornets were fortunate enough to land Monk outside the top 10 last year and could also get another solid prospect this season.
Other than Walker and Howard, there are not many players Charlotte can count on to score. Charlotte was above average when it came to scoring, but they were not as efficient as they should be. They also could use some defensive help but may have to address that in free agency.
Targets and thoughts
Pick No. 11: Kevin Knox, SF/PF, Kentucky
Kevin Knox brings the offense that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Nic Batum lack. In his freshman season at Kentucky, Knox averaged 15.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.
Knox has great size at 6-foot-9, 212 pounds and length with a 9-foot standing reach and nearly a 7-foot wingspan. His frame created a lot of matchup problems for defenders and allowed Knox to get shots and rebounds over his opponents.
That size also helps Knox drive to the basket and post up inside. His shot should also translate well to the NBA.
Knox was not the strongest defender at first but showed improvement as the season went on. It is something he should be able to keep improving on with NBA coaching.
Overall, Knox brings a lot of versatility on offense. He can develop into a dependable scorer in Charlotte’s offense and help push them to playoff contention.
Pick No. 55: Devonte’ Graham, PG, Kansas
Everyone in Charlotte is hoping Walker stays in a Hornets’ uniform after this coming season. Adding point guard depth would not be a bad idea with this second round pick. The best prospects will be gone at this point, but Devonte’ Graham could prove to be a good player in the NBA.
Graham improved every year during his time at Kansas. In his senior season, Graham 17.3 points, four rebounds and 7.2 assists per game. The Big 12 Player of the Year also has a nice shot as he was 40.9 percent from behind the arc in his career at Kansas.
Graham’s former Kansas teammate, Frank Mason III, also fell in the second round last draft, but was able to give the Sacramento Kings solid minutes off the bench in his rookie campaign. Hopefully, Graham could do the same in Charlotte.
Charlotte has been mediocre. If they want to become a playoff team, they are going to need to work on a few things. They have a couple key pieces in the lineup, but need a few more (and also need others to develop).
Kevin Knox could develop into an efficient player on offense with his ability to drive and post up inside. He also has a good shot and could stretch the floor. Graham could be a solid player off the bench giving players in the backcourt like Walker time to rest.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for the Los Angeles Clippers 2018 NBA Draft profile!
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