Charlotte Hornets

NBA mock draft: With the 11th pick, the Charlotte Hornets select ...

Breaking down who the Hornets might take in the NBA draft

Hornets reporter Rick Bonnell breaks down what the Charotte Hornets need, and who they might take in the 2017 NBA draft.
Up Next
Hornets reporter Rick Bonnell breaks down what the Charotte Hornets need, and who they might take in the 2017 NBA draft.

Point guard has become the hardest position to fill in the NBA, and this is a gusher of a point guard draft, at least at the top.

The top three picks might all be point guards, and five of the top 10. The Charlotte Hornets pick 11th overall in the June 22 draft, to be held in New York. The Hornets need depth behind Kemba Walker at the point, and if one of those five players slips beyond No. 10, he’d have to be a serious consideration for the local team.

In all likelihood, the Charlotte Hornets will sit and wait next Thursday night, to see what falls into their grasp.

Point guard has always been a key position in basketball, as quarterback is in football. But having an elite point guard grew in value when the NBA passed a rule in 2004, banning defenders from hand-checking the opposing ballhandler. That set free dribble-drivers, such as Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving and Stephen Curry, to shred defenses and set up spot-up jump shooters.

These five point guards span from the familiar (N.C. State’s Dennis Smith) to the foreign (Frank Ntilikina of the French league). The chance of any of these playmakers slipping to No. 11 appears dicey.

If that’s the case, the Hornets will have to weigh other options – a combo guard such as Louisville’s Donovan Mitchell, a wing scorer such as Duke’s Luke Kennard or North Carolina’s Justin Jackson, or perhaps another big man, such as Gonzaga’s Zach Collins or Kentucky’s Bam Adebayo.

The Hornets sidestepped this process a year ago, trading the No. 22 pick (Syracuse’s Malachi Richardson) for veteran Marco Belinelli. With such a high pick this time around, it seems unlikely the Hornets would similarly trade out of the first round.

So, in all likelihood, they will sit and wait next Thursday night, to see what falls into their grasp.

Charlotte Hornets Executive Vice President and General Manager discussed the upcoming NBA draft.

Mocking the first round of the NBA draft:

Markelle Fultz
Washington’s Markelle Fultz would be a contrast to undersized, but explosive, Boston guard Isaiah Thomas. Elaine Thompson AP

1. Boston (from Brooklyn)

Markelle Fultz

College: Washington.

Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 195

Pos.: Point guard.

Comment: What a luxury for the Celtics, who won the Eastern Conference regular season. Fultz would be a contrast to undersized, but explosive, Boston guard Isaiah Thomas.

Lonzo Ball
Lonzo Ball, who played at UCLA, has been frequently linked to the Los Angeles Lakers. Damian Dovarganes AP

2. L.A. Lakers

Lonzo Ball

College: UCLA.

Ht.: 6-6. Wt.: 190.

Pos.: Point guard.

Comment: He has a beautiful feel for the angles of the game, plus size at the point, which Magic Johnson should like. A Southern California star for a Lakers fan base that loves Showtime.

DeAaron Fox
Kentucky Wildcats guard De'Aaron Fox, left, is a terrific competitor. Charles Bertram cbertram@herald-leader.com

3. Philadelphia (from Sacramento)

De’Aaron Fox

College: Kentucky.

Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 170.

Pos.: Point guard.

Comment: The Sixers have collected a lot of talent, but they still haven’t nailed down the point guard spot. Ben Simmons may or may not be a fit there. Fox is a terrific competitor.

Jayson Tatum
Duke forward Jayson Tatum could have the most potential in this draft class, although he might take a while to develop at the NBA level. Chuck Liddy cliddy@newsobserver.com

4. Phoenix

Jayson Tatum

College: Duke.

Ht.: 6-8. Wt.: 200.

Pos.: Small forward.

Comment: He could have the most potential in this draft class, although he might take a while to develop at the NBA level. The Suns are in a big-time rebuild/youth movement.

Josh-Jackson
Kansas forward Josh Jackson will need patience to develop. Orlin Wagner AP

5. Sacramento (from Philadelphia)

Josh Jackson

College: Kansas.

Ht.: 6-8. Wt.: 200.

Pos.: Small forward.

Comment: The Kings might need an alternative to replace Rudy Gay at this position. Jackson is pretty solid on both offense and defense, but like most one-and-dones, he’ll need patience to develop.

JonathanIsaac
Florida State forward Jonathan Isaac’s, left, ability to play multiple frontcourt positions is a big plus. Wilfredo Lee AP

6. Orlando

Jonathan Isaac

College: Florida State.

Ht.: 6-11. Wt.: 210.

Pos.: Small forward/power forward.

Comment: His ability to play multiple frontcourt positions is a big plus. The Magic has made over its basketball operation after a disappointing season.

Lauri Markkanen
Arizona forward Lauri Markkanen could go to Minnesota at No. 7, but this pick is a wild card. Marcio Jose Sanchez AP

7. Minnesota

Lauri Markkanen

College: Arizona

Ht.: 7-0 Wt.: 225

Pos.: Power forward (possibly some center)

Comment: This pick is a wild card because the T’Wolves have so much young talent. A wing defender would fit, but is it too early to draft Donovan Mitchell or Justin Jackson?

8. New York

Frank Ntilikina

Pro affiliation: French league.

Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 170.

Pos.: Point guard.

Comment: Phil Jackson, now running the Knicks’ basketball operation, always preferred big guards when he was coaching the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers.

Dennis Smith Jr
N.C. State's Dennis Smith Jr. is a great natural talent. The question is how good Smith will be in the organizing/facilitating responsibilities that come with the point guard position. Ethan Hyman ehyman@newsobserver.com

9. Dallas

Dennis Smith Jr.

College: N.C. State.

Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 200.

Pos.: Point guard.

Comment: He’s a great natural talent. The question is how good Smith will be in the organizing/facilitating responsibilities that come with the point guard position.

Malik Monk
The question about Kentucky’s Malik Monk, left, is his relative lack of size for a wing player. Mark Mahan

10. Sacramento (from New Orleans)

Malik Monk

College: Kentucky.

Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 200.

Pos.: Shooting guard.

Comment: He has a gift for scoring in bunches. The question about Monk is his relative lack of size for a wing player. Hiding him defensively could be a challenge.

donovan mitchell1
A combo guard such as Louisville’s Donovan Mitchell may work out best for the Charlotte Hornets at No. 11. Alex Kormann akormann@charlotteobserver.com

11. Charlotte

Donovan Mitchell

College: Louisville.

Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 210.

Pos.: Shooting guard/point guard.

Comment: A long-armed defender. Kentucky center Bam Adebayo could also make sense. If a true point guard lasts to here, that would be a logical way to address the Hornets’ needs.

12. Detroit

Justin Jackson

College: North Carolina.

Ht.: 6-8. Wt.: 200.

Pos.: Small forward.

Comment: Stan Van Gundy would be enamored of Jackson’s ability to impact a game both offensively and defensively. He steadily improved in his time in Chapel Hill.

Luke Kennard
Duke guard Luke Kennard has the ability to create shots in a variety of ways. Chuck Liddy cliddy@newsobserver.com

13. Denver

Luke Kennard

College: Duke.

Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 196.

Pos.: Shooting guard.

Comment: Kennard is highly skilled offensively, with the ability to create shots in a variety of ways. He will be challenged to defend the array of great scorers at shooting guard in the NBA.

Zach Collins
Gonzaga forward Zach Collins, top, figures to be more a long-term project than a quick-impact draft pick. David J. Phillip AP

14. Miami

Zach Collins

College: Gonzaga.

Ht.: 7-0. Wt.: 232.

Pos.: Power forward/center.

Comment: A reserve on Gonzaga’s national championship team, Collins has big-time athletic gifts for his size. But he figures to be more a long-term project than a quick-impact pick.

Bam Adebayo
Kentucky center Bam Adebayo could make sense for the Charlotte Hornets at No. 11. Charles Bertram cbertram@herald-leader.com

15. Portland

Bam Adebayo

College: Kentucky.

Ht.: 6-10 Wt.: 250.

Pos.: Center.

Comment: He appears to be a riser in this NBA draft. The Trail Blazers have a history of being willing to bet on long-term potential and to accept some time for players to develop.

terrance ferguson1
Former Adelaide 36ers guard Terrance Ferguson says he needs more muscle and bulk to compete in the NBA. Alex Kormann akormann@charlotteobserver.com

16. Chicago

Terrance Ferguson

Pro affiliation: Australia.

Ht.: 6-7. Wt.: 185.

Pos.: Shooting guard/small forward.

Comment: Ferguson chose to sign with a pro team in Australia, rather than pursue eligibility to play college basketball. He has 3-point range and some defensive ability. He needs more muscle and bulk to compete in the NBA.

JohnCollins1
Wake Forest's John Collins, left, is coming off a breakthrough sophomore season in which he averaged 19.2 points, 9.8 rebounds and 62 percent shooting from the field. Ethan Hyman ehyman@newsobserver.com

17. Milwaukee

John Collins

College: Wake Forest.

Ht.: 6-10. Wt.: 225

Pos.: Power forward.

Comment: Collins is coming off a breakthrough sophomore season in which he averaged 19.2 points, 9.8 rebounds and 62 percent shooting from the field. Collins should be a solid low-post scorer in the NBA.

HarryGiles2
Duke’s Harry Giles is a high risk/high reward candidate. Robert Willett rwillett@newsobserver.com

18. Indiana

Harry Giles

College: Duke.

Ht.: 6-10. Wt.: 232.

Pos.: Center/power forward.

Comment: Giles did little in his one college season (3.9 points per game and 3.8 rebounds). Despite being an elite recruit, he averaged fewer than 12 minutes for the Blue Devils. That was mostly about knee injuries. He’s a high risk/high reward candidate.

Jarrett Allen
Texas' Jarrett Allen’s, right, incredible reach compensates for so-so height for an NBA center. Charlie Riedel AP

19. Atlanta

Jarrett Allen

College: Texas.

Ht.: 6-10. Wt.: 234.

Pos.: Center.

Comment: Allen thrived the second half of his one season with the Longhorns, thrusting him into this draft. Allen’s incredible reach (a 7-5 wingspan, as measured at the NBA Combine) compensates for so-so height for an NBA center.

Og AnunobyCropped
The Trail Blazers are draft-pick rich this spring, so they can chase depth like Indiana forward OG Anunoby. Eugene Tanner AP

20. Portland (from Memphis through Denver and Cleveland)

OG Anunoby

College: Indiana.

Ht.: 6-7. Wt.: 232.

Pos.: Small forward (possibly power forward).

Comment: The Trail Blazers are draft-pick rich this spring, so they can chase depth without particular concern for any one position in the first round.

TJLeaf
The son of a former Israeli pro player, UCLA forward TJ Leaf, right, is a versatile scorer-shooter Mark Humphrey AP

21. Oklahoma City

T. J. Leaf

College: UCLA.

Ht.: 6-10. Wt.: 222.

Pos.: Power forward.

Comment: The son of a former Israeli pro player, Leaf is a versatile scorer-shooter who will need to get stronger to hold down the power forward position at the NBA level.

Justin Patton
Creighton's Justin Patton projects as a strong rim-protector in the NBA Nati Harnik AP

22. Brooklyn (from Washington)

Justin Patton

College: Creighton.

Ht.: 6-11. Wt.: 229.

Pos.: Center.

Comment: Patton was a classic late bloomer, drawing limited attention in high school. He projects as a strong rim-protector in the NBA, averaging more than two shots blocked last season and possessing a 7-2 wingspan.

23. Toronto (from LA Clippers through Milwaukee)

Isaiah Hartenstein

Pro affiliation: Lithuanian league.

Ht.: 7-0 Wt.: 225.

Pos.: Power forward/center.

Comment: While he was born in Oregon, Hartenstein, of German descent, has played professionally in Europe. A relatively high skill level for a big man.

Ivan Rabb
California's Ivan Rabb, right, would add depth to a Jazz team on the rise. John Locher AP

24. Utah

Ivan Rabb

College: California.

Ht.: 6-11. Wt.: 220.

Pos.: Power forward.

Comment: A good shooter (54 percent from the field and 40 percent from the college 3-point line), Rabb would add depth to a Jazz team on the rise.

IkeAnigbogu
Picking UCLA's Ike Anigbogu defines drafting on potential. John Locher AP

25. Orlando (from Toronto)

Ike Anigbogu

College: UCLA.

Ht.: 6-10 Wt.: 250.

Pos.: Center/power forward.

Comment: There’s not a lot of data on Anigbogu, in that he averaged just 13 minutes in his only college season with the Bruins. So this defines drafting on potential.

Jordan Bell
Oregon's Jordan Bell would need to improve considerably to stretch the floor with 3-point shooting, Charles Rex Arbogast AP

26. Portland (from Cleveland)

Jordan Bell

College: Oregon.

Ht.: 6-8. Wt.: 225.

Pos.: Power forward.

Comment: A good shotblocker for his size. Bell’s offense is almost entirely at the rim. He’d need to improve considerably to stretch the floor with 3-point shooting, as so many NBA power forwards now do.

Tyler Lydon
Syracuse's Tyler Lydon, right, is a very good shooter. Nam Y. Huh AP

27. Brooklyn (from Boston)

Tyler Lydon

College: Syracuse.

Ht.: 6-9 Wt.: 215.

Pos.: Power forward.

Comment: A very good shooter who averaged 39 percent from the college 3-point line and 83 percent from the foul line for the Orangemen last season.

28. L.A. Lakers (from Houston)

Anzejs Pasecniks

Pro affiliation: Latvian pro.

Ht.: 7-2. Wt.: 229.

Pos.: Center.

Comment: The European pro system leans on experience over potential, so he didn’t play all that much last season for Gran Canaria.

tonybradleycropped
North Carolina’s Tony Bradley, center, chose to stay in this draft rather than return to Chapel Hill. Robert Willett rwillett@newsobserver.com

29. San Antonio

Tony Bradley

College: North Carolina.

Ht.: 6-10. Wt.: 248.

Pos.: Center.

Comment: On the fringe of the first round, Bradley chose to stay in this draft rather than return to Chapel Hill for a chance to help the Tar Heels defend their national championship.

Semi Ojeleye
SMU forward Semi Ojeleye, left, has a nice jump shot. Tim Sharp AP

30. Utah (from Golden State)

Semi Ojeleye

College: Southern Methodist.

Ht.: 6-7. Wt.: 241.

Pos.: Small forward.

Comment: He has a nice jump shot, making 42 percent of his 3-point attempts from the college line for the Mustangs last season.

Rick Bonnell: 704-358-5129, @rick_bonnell

  Comments