Do you feel lucky, Hornets fans?
The NBA Draft Lottery is coming up on Tuesday, June 22nd and optimism for Charlotte Hornets basketball is surging.
That’s because less than a year ago the Hornets hit the jackpot when they drafted phenom LaMelo Ball with the number three pick. That was made possible when the lottery elevated them from the 7th pick to the 3rd pick. Given the talent atop this draft, the Hornets organization has to be hoping lady luck is on their side again.
Currently the Hornets sit at the 11th spot but they have an 8.5% chance to land a top 4 pick and a 1.8% chance of landing the number one pick.
The Hornets franchise has held the number one pick just once in Charlotte when in 1991 they selected UNLV Forward Larry Johnson.
While we’re dreaming, I’ve put together a list of names for Hornets fans to know ahead of the lottery. I’ve put together 3 players that make sense if the Hornets land a top 4 pick and another 3 players if they stay at 11.
Top 4 Pick Wish list:
Cade Cunningham, Guard, Oklahoma State: Cunningham is the presumptive first pick for good reason. He’s a 6’8, 220 lb lead guard who has the size, strength and skill to be a nightmare for other team’s defensively. He and LaMelo Ball would have the highest ceiling of any recently drafted backcourt in the NBA.
Jalen Green, Guard, G-League: Green spent his one year between high school and the NBA in the G-League’s inaugural Pathway Program. From a fit perspective, Green is an upper echelon scorer that would fit perfectly next to the pass-first LaMelo Ball. At 6’6 and 6’8, Green and Ball would overwhelm most NBA backcourts with their size, skill and scoring.
Evan Mobley, Center/Forward, USC: Mobley was an absolute star in his one season at USC and he’s clearly the best big in this draft. For Charlotte, he would solve the Hornet biggest need. He’s also a generational level talent who has drawn comparisons to Raptors & Heat great Chris Bosh.
11th Pick Wish List:
James Bouknight, Guard, Connecticut: Don’t let Bouknight’s shooting struggles in his final year at UConn fool you. He struggled with an elbow injury but he’s a really nice athlete and his scoring talents would blend well with LaMelo Ball’s facilitating abilities. Bouknight has some boom or bust to his game but is the kind of risk worth taking for a team in need of another upper echelon player.
Isaiah Jackson, Center/Forward, Kentucky: Jackson might be the best case scenario at 11 for Charlotte. He’s 6’10 with a 7’5 wingspan but he’s more than just a pure shot blocker, tho he did average 2.6 blocks per game at Kentucky last year. Jackson teased deep shooting ability and his athleticism would be explosive in transition with LaMelo. He will need to gain some weight as he comes into the NBA at just 200 lbs.
Corey Kispert, Guard/Forward, Gonzaga: Admit it, you’re already rolling your eyes and saying Adam Morrison in your head. I get your reflective response to any white, wing player from Gonzaga given Charlotte’s history but Corey Kispert might be the best shooter in this draft. That level of shooting would make LaMelo Ball even more dangerous and is something Charlotte currently doesn’t have.
Overall this is a great year to have a top 11 picks in the NBA Draft. There are generational type talents in the top 4-5 picks and there will still be quality starter type talents available if the Hornets pick outside the top 10.
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