The Charlotte Hornets failed to get in the postseason once again after ending the 2020-21 season with a 33-39 record to finish 10th in the Eastern Conference. Despite the result, the team still evidently improved and could eventually see themselves being in the playoff race in the next few years. In this post, though, we’re providing Hornets 2021 NBA Draft grades for every pick.
With a promising young core led by the reigning Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball, the Hornets front office had to do more work in the 2021 NBA Draft in a bid to add quality players to their roster. General manager Mitch Kupchak didn’t disappoint as he nabbed a few young pieces that have a ton of upside and can serve as vital contributors for the Hornets moving forward.
Here are the grades for each of their acquisitions in the recently-concluded draft proceedings:
Charlotte Hornets 2021 NBA Draft Grades
James Bouknight: A+
UConn standout James Bouknight was projected to be a lock in the top 10 but he surprisingly fell to Charlotte when they were on the clock with the 11th pick. With the amount of talent that he has, the Hornets knew that they had to use their first-round lottery pick to select the 20-year-old shooting guard from New York.
Bouknight had a stellar 2020-21 campaign for the Huskies as he averaged 18.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.8 assists through 15 appearances in his sophomore year last season. His arrival will surely come in handy as the Hornets will now have a promising backcourt duo in Ball and Bouknight who could drain buckets and haunt opposing defenses on the floor.
Kai Jones: B+
Kupchak wasn’t done making moves on draft night as he traded away a future protected first-round pick in exchange for the 19th pick in the first round. He then used the acquired asset to select a 6-foot-11 big man in Kai Jones to address their lack of an inside presence in the paint.
The Bahamian center averaged 8.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks in 26 games played for the Texas Longhorns last season. Even though those numbers aren’t quite eye-popping, the Hornets are still banking on his potential to contribute and provide much-needed depth to their frontline unit moving forward.
Charlotte Hornets 2021 NBA Draft Grades Continued For Second Round
JT Thor: A+
Seeking to add another young big man, the Hornets used their 37th pick to select power forward JT Thor out of Auburn. He might have gone under the radar heading to the draft but he is definitely a guy who holds a ton of potential to go with his good size and length for his position.
At the age of 18, Thor isn’t a finished product yet but he has already shown flashes of brilliance in his one-and-done season with the Tigers as he averaged 9.4 points and 5.0 rebounds in 27 appearances. On the bright side, he does have a good offensive skill set but the Hornets will still have to develop him in order to maximize his potential and allow him to make an impact for them in the future.
Scottie Lewis: B-
Charlotte rounded out their draft haul with the selection of Florida shooting guard Scottie Lewis with the 56th pick in the second round. Though he was a highly-touted recruit back in high school, the New York native never lived up to the lofty expectations during his two seasons played with the Gators.
Similar to the prospects previously picked by the Hornets, Lewis is an incredible athlete but still possesses raw talent as of the moment. The team took a chance on his upside and is hoping that he can turn out to be a diamond in the rough for them as his NBA career progresses.
Nonetheless, how do you feel about our Hornets 2021 NBA Draft Grades for every pick?