In arguably the most important draft in Charlotte Hornets history, the Hornets front office didn’t care about structure, and because the Hornets didn’t care about structure, why should I in this piece? Let me follow this franchise’s lead by throwing garbage at the wall to see what works.
There is one word that comes to mind to describe this draft: Whatever. That’s the feeling that all of us at the Queen’s Guard felt when the draft concluded late into Friday morning. We were exhausted, burnt out, and finished. Us, and many other Hornets fans, put so much time and effort into this year’s draft analyzing who would be the best fits at our variety of selections throughout the draft. It seems as if we put in more effort than the actual front office, which makes it all the more frustrating.
I want to reiterate this point. This was the most important draft in franchise history. With Kemba Walker’s future in jeopardy and the state of the franchise in disarray, the Hornets needed to nail their three picks in order to either impress Walker by showing an organizational direction or to form a contingency plan should he depart in free agency. They did neither. Instead, they drafted three (3!!!!!!!) forwards, all of whom are simple, vanilla prospects. No swing for the fences selections, no one exciting, no one to fill a positional need (guard scoring and rim protection), nothing. This truly might have been one of the worst drafts I’ve seen, especially given the players available at each pick.
Let’s start at the Hornets’ first round pick at number 12. We saw the dominoes drop early with players such as Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura and Texas’ Jaxson Hayes off the board. At Queen’s Guard, we were all out on Hachimura and mostly out on Hayes. We loved scoring sensation Kevin Porter Jr out of USC (congrats, Cleveland, what a steal), big man Goga Bitadze from Georgia (not the state), Bruno Fernando from Maryland, and I especially loved Bol Bol from Oregon. All of these players were available to us at 12. However the Hornets selected PJ Washington, power forward from Kentucky. A fine player, absolutely, but doesn’t really standout on the court. A very simple, safe pick where guys in that range had a bit of uncertainty. Whatever.
Now as we moved toward our selection at 36 things get interesting. Players that we originally loved start slipping. Porter Jr. keeps dropping, Bruno Fernando is still on the board, and Bol Bol is absolutely plummeting. Not going to lie, the group chat was electric when we got to pick 29 and all three were still available. We thought for sure we could get at least one. Then the Cavs traded up for Porter Jr, then Fernando gets taken by Philly. Finally, with Bol Bol on the board the Charlotte Hornets select….. Cody Martin, Nevada. What. WHAT. W-H-A-T. Even our own players were clamoring for the team to select Bol. Dwayne Bacon tweeted (had since been deleted) “Bol Bol still available I’m SHOCKED, SHOCKED,” to which Miles Bridges responded saying he’d welcome Bol with open arms.
Martin is a fine player. He and his brother Caleb carried Nevada to back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances, but he’s another forward and 36 seemed early especially with another pick later. Whatever.
About 45 minutes later the Hornets are on the clock again. At this point we were deflated. Could the Hornets take a risk and spice it up? Nope. Rather, they selected Jalen McDaniels an athletic power forward from San Diego State. Who could they have drafted instead? St. John’s point guard, Shamorie Ponds, Virginia guard, Kyle Guy and Yale shooting guard and Ivy League leading scorer Miye Oni were still on the board. Charlotte completed the trifecta. Three draft picks. Three forwards. Zero improvement. Whatever.
Malik Monk has not panned out, Jeremy Lamb is likely gone in free agency. A two-guard would have been great. Tony Parker retired, Kemba Walker might leave in free agency, and Devonte Graham might be the only point guard on the roster. A point guard would have been great. Our centers are Willy Hernangomez who is a traffic cone on defense, injury prone Cody Zeller, and Bismack Biyombo who was schemed off the court last season. A versatile big rim protector would have been great.
HOWEVER THE CHARLOTTE HORNETS SELECTED THREE FORWARDS WHEN THEY ALREADY HAVE MILES BRIDGES, NIC BATUM, KIDD-GILCHRIST, AND MARVIN WILLIAMS. DAMMIT I’M TICKED OFF. WHATEVER.
This is one of the worst drafts I have ever seen and that is not hyperbolic. This might have been worse than season eight of Game of Thrones with how poorly it was constructed. The draft last night showed that this front office has no plan. They have no idea what’s going on, and have no desire to even try. F’s in the chat, because that’s the grade they rightfully deserve. See y’all in Vegas for Summer League, I guess. Whatever.