With the trade deadline fast approaching and the Hornets desperate to surround star player Kemba Walker with more talent, reports have stated that they are in talks with the Detroit Pistons to acquire 2-time All-Star Center, Andre Drummond.
These reports dropped around the middle of last week on Wednesday and further speculation has said that the deal would revolve around a variation of Nic Batum, Malik Monk & a 1st & 2nd Round Pick.”
It obviously comes as no surprise that Batum has been raised as a trade piece by the Hornets as his contract remains one of the worst in the NBA at roughly $25 Million per year until it expires at the end of the 2020/2021 season. The real sacrifice in this trade comes from both giving up 2nd year guard, Malik Monk, and the future pick which in an ideal case for the Pistons would be our upcoming 2019 first rounder.
Monk has not made the strides in his 2nd season that many thought he would – shooting less than 40% from the field and seeing his minutes on the court often fluctuate. His struggles were typified in the Hornets defeat in their last game to the Milwaukee Bucks where in 12 minutes, Monk was not able to make any of his 5 shots, ending with 0 points in a game where Charlotte could’ve done with some reliable shot makers in the 4th quarter.
Combine this with the youngsters inability to create his own shot, erratic handle and limited contribution on the defensive end. You start to wonder if Hornets GM Mitch Kupchak would look to move Monk while he still carries decent value and perceived potential among NBA circles.
In terms of giving away our 2019 first rounder, I would be reluctant to include this as part of the deal and I can seeing this being something which could be the downfall of the trade negotiations. The most likely scenario is that this pick will be somewhere between 15th to 20th overall, an area where legit talent can still be found – whether that be productive bench guys to provide depth, or solid and consistent starters.
Despite this, there is still a chance that Charlotte will throw caution to the wind and make this deal happen with the 1st round pick included because of how much Drummond has to offer, which brings us to the upside that would be provided should he become a Hornet.
Charlotte currently rank dead last in the NBA in Offensive Rebound Chance Percentage, and do so by some distance. At 34.8% the Hornets are a full 2.2% behind the team ranked 2nd last, the Chicago Bulls. The same distance that separates Chicago from the Atlanta Hawks, who rank 18th in this category. Drummond would immediately be a solution to this problem – He currently ranks 1st in the entire NBA in offensive rebounds with 5.2 a game and in total rebounds racking up an impressive tally of 14.9 rebounds a night average at this stage of the season. In fact, he has lead the NBA twice already in his career in total rebounds including 2017/2018. From these numbers and his obvious ability to be a presence in the paint as a scorer and a defender, it is clear to see how Drummond would make his presence known from day 1 and help the team immensely going forward.
However, the downside to his game is almost as clear to see as his upside. While he is someone who can control the glass on both ends, this ultimately symbolizes the old school nature of his game which does not necessarily correlate to the modern NBA or James Borrego’s ideal style of playing. He has no jump shot to speak of and even his numbers shooting the ball inside aren’t exactly efficient, shown in his sub 50% shooting percentage so far on the year, which is almost unacceptable for a guy who lives in the paint.
Despite these worries, I still feel as though getting this deal done at the right price would be a no brainer for the Hornets. Especially if they can talk Detroit into taking a couple 2nd rounder’s rather than a 1st. Being able to get off Batum’s monster contract would be invaluable, and if trading a streaky young player who may or may not find some consistency to his game along with some 2nd round picks is what it takes to get a 25 Year Old bonafide top 50 player into the building, then Charlotte should be pulling out all the stops to make this deal happen as soon as possible.