For the fans of the Charlotte Hornets, Wednesday’s NBA Draft could be a turning point in general manager Mitch Kupchak’s tenure. Not only is this his best draft position since he was hired but the team has not picked this high since 2002 when they drafted Kentucky forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
Outside of last year’s lottery pick PJ Washington, the Hornets have not faired too well with first-round picks over the last few years.
In 2018, they drafted Shai Gilgious-Alexander (11th overall) but traded him to the Los Angeles Clippers for fellow lottery pick Miles Bridges. Bridges has had ups and downs during his tenure in Charlotte but Gilgious-Alexander has flourished after being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder after his rookie season.
They also drafted Malik Monk (11th overall) in the 2017 draft. He was a big time scorer in his one season at Kentucky and was expected to be the shooting guard of the future. Inconsistencies on offense and defense has made him a huge question mark in the team’s future.
Then how can we forget the 2016 NBA Draft when the Hornets drafted Malachi Richardson with the 22nd overall pick. Richardson was traded 14 days after he was drafted for Marco Belinelli who only played 74 games for Charlotte. Richardson only played 70 career games and hasn’t played in an NBA game since 2018.
Those choices including first-round draft picks Frank Kaminsky, Noah Vonleh and Shabazz Napier have not worked for the Hornets. After drafting two rotation players in PJ Washington, Cody Martin and the potential of Jalen McDaniels in last years draft, the optimism going on in the Queen City is at an all-time high.
Having the potential of drafting either LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards or James Wiseman with the third overall pick has energized the city.
Adding one of the three highest rated players on most analysts draft boards to a young group that has Washington, Bridges, Devonte’ Graham and Terry Rozier, has the potential to have the Hornets on the right track to make the playoffs sooner rather than later.
The third overall pick has been an overall success selection over the last 10 years. During this time, five all-stars (James Harden, Bradley Beal, Luka Doncic, Jayson Tatum and Joel Embiid) and a few really good players (Jaylen Brown, Derrick Favors, Otto Porter Jr. and RJ Barrett) have been selected with this pick.
Also players like Hall of Famers Dominique Wilkins, Kevin McHale, Bob Cousy, Pete Maravich and Hornets team owner Michael Jordan as well as future Hall of Famers Pau Gasol and Carmelo Anthony have been selected third overall in the NBA draft.
So the history of the pick turning into a key building block for the team looks very good. If Charlotte hits a home run on this selection, they could potentially have drafted the franchise player of the future.