Having produced their first 40-win season and first winning campaign since 2016, the Charlotte Hornets may have finally turned a corner as a franchise. But with the 2022 NBA Draft fast approaching, their two first-round selections (13, 15) are key to accelerating that process.
LaMelo Ball is the star of this team, but with Miles Bridges entering restricted free agency that could command max-offer sheets, Ball could be losing a very valuable sidekick. Reports of the Hornets being hesitant to pay Bridges a max contract could undermine the success that this team finally experienced this season, making this draft class that more important.
But choosing the right players is just as important as avoiding certain players too – here are some options that Charlotte should make sure not to select on June 23.
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2 Players Hornets Must Avoid In NBA Draft
TyTy Washington Jr. – PG, Kentucky
Surprisingly, this draft class produced one of the weakest point guard groups in recent memory. With no true PG a lock to go top 15, it would be a reach for the Hornets to grab Kentucky’s TyTy Washington.
One of the prospects vying to be the first PG off the board, Washington is strong with the ball in his hands, utilizing a healthy mid-range game to put himself in the crop of first-rounders. But being a bit small (6’4”) could hurt his stock, and Charlotte does not need to take a risk on a backcourt option that likely projects as a bench contributor more than a starter for his professional career.
Patrick Baldwin Jr. – SF, UW-Milwaukee
Injuries frequently left NBA scouts wanting more during Patrick Baldwin Jr.’s lone season in college, but the lanky youngster has a huge ceiling that he could potentially get to with the right developmental plan.
The main issue lies in if Baldwin’s skills will actually translate to success in the NBA. Having joined his dad/now-former head coach at UWM, Baldwin seemed to coast during his freshman season, just biding his time so he could make the leap to the NBA. But all he currently projects as is a question mark, and drafting a player that still has three years to go until he shows you who he truly is makes it tough to use a first-round selection on.
With the Hornets postseason window currently open, a selection of a player like Baldwin would likely not do anything to help keep it open. While Baldwin certainly could take the same path as what Michael Porter Jr. did with the Denver Nuggets, Baldwin has yet to showcase why he deserves a first-round grade, even if he does have a high ceiling.
Regardless of the direction that the Hornets take in the NBA Draft, they will be doing it without a head coach, as Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson spurned them after accepting their head coaching offer. Reports of a limited staff budget and the ask to keep most of the old staff on as assistants may have factored into Atkinson turning down the job, so back to the drawing board they go.