Tom Sorensen

Wingspan, Part I: Should we mock Hornets if they take safe pick with crazy-long arms?

Louisville guard Donovan Mitchell (45) left the Cardinals after his sophomore season to reach for the NBA dream. His 6-10 wingspan doesn’t hurt.
Louisville guard Donovan Mitchell (45) left the Cardinals after his sophomore season to reach for the NBA dream. His 6-10 wingspan doesn’t hurt. AP

A reporter once told a general manager about mock drafts. The reporter told him who the mock drafts had him picking. The general manager was incredulous. He makes his living acquiring talent. He was nice, the GM, and instead of yelling at the reporter, he gently told him he doesn’t care about mock drafts.

The player most mock drafts have the Hornets taking is Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell, who played for Louisville, is a guard who could immediately become the team’s best athlete. He’d back up Kemba Walker and Nic Batum, go to the hoop and play defense.

Mitchell is not a good outside shooter. But with work a player can become an effective shooter, as Walker will attest.

Mitchell is 6-3, and has a remarkable 6-foot 10-inch wingspan. Wingspan is the term of the 2017 NBA draft. Players will be demoted to the bottom of a round because they lack a superior wingspan, and others will be promoted because they have one.

The term has become so common that if you walk into a bar and meet somebody you might think, “She’s pretty and she’s smart. But her wingspan is little.”

Mitchell strikes me as a safe pick. He’ll be athletic, he’ll work hard and he’ll enhance Charlotte’s bench.

This is not the time for the Hornets to play safe.

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

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