Tom Sorensen

What 11th pick in the NBA draft has been traditionally – and what it could be for Hornets

Former Creighton star Doug McDermott, left, is the kind of player available at No. 11 in the NBA draft – which is why Hornets should gamble on greatness.
Former Creighton star Doug McDermott, left, is the kind of player available at No. 11 in the NBA draft – which is why Hornets should gamble on greatness. AP

If you like the NBA, you know by now whom the Charlotte Hornets should take in the June 22 NBA draft. We all have our player. We build up our candidate until, by draft night, we expect commissioner Adam Silver to be too intimidated to shake his hand.

Barring a trade, the Hornets will draft 11th. These are the last 10 players selected with the 11th pick. Let me know if you see a trend.

2007: Acie Law IV. He briefly was a Bobcat. (Charlotte didn’t draft him.) Law averaged 1.8 points for the Hornets. He played for five NBA teams, and for Golden State twice. He has been out of the league since 2009.

2008: Jerryd Bayless. He was drafted by Indiana and is playing for Philadelphia, his seventh team. This season he averaged 11 points for the 76ers, a number he has surpassed only once. He has his own website.

2009: Terrance Williams. This is not the Terrance Williams who last season caught four touchdown passes for the Dallas Cowboys. This Terrance Williams last played in the NBA in 2013.

2010: Cole Aldrich. He plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves, his sixth NBA team. This season he averaged 1.7 points and 2.5 rebounds.

2011: Klay Thompson. Thompson, who is Stephen Curry’s backcourt partner in Golden State, has increased his scoring every season he’s been in the NBA. This season he averaged 22.3 points. He plays defense, too.

2012: Meyer Leonard. He’s played for the Trail Blazers since they drafted him. He averaged 5.4 points and 3.2 rebounds this season.

2013: Michael Carter-Williams. He was the rookie of the year, averaging 16.6 points and 6.3 assists. He was the first rookie drafted 10th or later to be named rookie of the year since 1987. He’s been traded twice. One of the trades included Charlotte’s Miles Plumlee. Last season Carter-Williams averaged 6.6 points and 2.5 assists for Chicago.

2014: Doug McDermott. He averaged 10.1 points with Chicago last season. In February, the Bulls traded him to Oklahoma City. He averaged 6.6 points there.

2015: Myles Turner. Now this was a good pick. Turner, who is 6-11 and played at Texas, started all 81 games for Indianapolis this season. He averaged 14.3 points and 7.3 rebounds. Drafting tall and athletic players who are about 6-11 can greatly enhance a team.

2016: Domantas Sabonis. He started 66 games last season for Oklahoma City, and averaged 5.9 points and 3.5 rebounds. He, too, is 6-11.

Review the picks, and with the exception of Thompson and Turner, do you see what the No. 11 pick gets you?

It gets you a helper. The Hornets have helpers. They need a star to join Kemba Walker and Nic Batum.

Harry Giles has an opportunity to be a star. He’s 6-10 and athletic, and was the best high school player in the country in 2016. Yes, he’s torn the ACL in both knees.

I acknowledge that because of the injuries Giles is a gamble. But if his knees are good the Hornets win big. If they don’t take him, they get a helper. Cole Aldrich, come on down.

Giles could be gone when the Hornets draft. Philadelphia loves to select injured big men, and the 76ers pick third.

Lastly, I hear from North Carolina fans that I love Duke, and favor Duke and therefore am a proponent of Duke players going to the NBA. It’s not as if I went to school at Duke. But, OK, it was my backup school if I couldn’t get into Minnesota.

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

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