The Charlotte Hornets haven’t had much success, or seemingly placed much emphasis, on second-round picks since the NBA returned to Charlotte in 2004.
There are hints that might change under new general manager Mitch Kupchak, who mined the second round with some success during the 20 years he oversaw the Los Angeles Lakers’ basketball operation.
The Hornets will get two second-round picks in the Dwight Howard trade they will make with the Brooklyn Nets once the NBA’s new salary-cap year begins July 6. They also traded two future second-round picks to the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday to move up to No. 34 (fourth in the second round) to select Kansas point guard Devonte Graham, a candidate to back up starter Kemba Walker.
“It took two picks to move up in the draft. We felt he wouldn’t be available in the mid-40s,” Kupchak said Friday. “So they are valuable. This guy (Graham) would not be sitting here today if it wasn’t for second-round picks.”
Kupchak and his staff made several strong second-round selections with the Lakers, including Ronny Turiaf (37th in 2005), Luke Walton (32nd in 2003) and eventual All-Star Marc Gasol (48th in 2007).
The Hornets/Bobcats have had little production out of the second round, although Dwayne Bacon, the 40th pick last June, shows promise. The Hornets sometimes sold second-round picks under Kupchak’s predecessor, Rich Cho, though it was unclear whether that was Cho’s call.
“You can sell a pick, but that doesn’t help a basketball team,” Kupchak said Thursday after the draft. “It might help the accounting department, but it’s not going to help the basketball team.”