Steve Clifford wanted to draft Donovan Mitchell instead of Malik Monk
Steve Clifford concluded a five-year run with the Charlotte Hornets with another season out of the playoffs, but in retrospects, the Hornets could have made it, had they drafted the right rookie.
According to ESPN draft expert Jonathan Givony, the former coach was hellbent on selecting Louisville phenom Donovan Mitchell, but was overrulled by others in the war room, who selected Kentucky’s Malik Monk.
“Clifford was on the table in the war room saying we need to draft Donovan Mitchell and he was overruled on that and they took Malik Monk instead.” said Givony on Zach Lowe’s The Lowe Post podcast, as his colleague Lowe backed up that claiming saying that “Cliff was 100 percent trying to get them to take Donovan Mitchell.”
It’s been a long-known fact that the front office didn’t help this Hornets team much, after putting together a multi-million-dollar starting lineup that produced little results, for the exception of Kemba Walker and Dwight Howard.
Drafting Donovan Mitchell would have been a game-changer, but the team’s success would have been predicated on how he was used within the system and what his role could have been.
Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder deserves some credit for pulling Rodney Hood, who had the faith of the front office, from his starting shooting guard spot, allowing Mitchell to flourish in that role and grow into the team’s leading scorer.
The Hornets had a cleat No. 1 option in Kemba Walker, and giving Mitchell that kind of leeway with an All-Star guard would have probably not gone as smoothly as it did in Utah.
Monk impressed with his shooting during workouts last season and was a surprise when he fell out of the top-10, which likely played a part in their decision to pounce on Malik Monk.