Tom Sorensen

Can Mitch Kupchak change pattern for Charlotte Hornets, No. 11 picks in NBA draft?

Charlotte Hornets guard Malik Monk is part of a speckled history of NBA draft picks at No. 11 in the past 11 drafts, which show that particular spot isn’t a slam dunk.
Charlotte Hornets guard Malik Monk is part of a speckled history of NBA draft picks at No. 11 in the past 11 drafts, which show that particular spot isn’t a slam dunk. AP

We love the NBA drafts. If you're a fan of the Charlotte Hornets, you believe, or want to, that your team will get it right and suddenly become competitive. The Hornets are scheduled to pick 11th. The draft is only two weeks away.

For context, let’s examine the past 11 No. 11 picks.

2007: Acie Law IV. He briefly was a Bobcat. Law averaged 1.8 points for Charlotte, has been out of the NBA since 2009.

2008: Jerryd Bayless. He has played for seven teams, most recently the Philadelphia 76ers, and has four times averaged in double figures. He's a bad fit for the 76ers.

2009: Terrance Williams. He played for four teams, the last of them in 2013.

2010: Cole Aldrich. He’s played for six teams, most recently the Minnesota Timberwolves. Mostly, he watches.

2011: Klay Thompson. Thompson, who is Stephen Curry’s backcourt partner in Golden State, has averaged 20 or more points the past four seasons. He’s one of those bright, unselfish and talented players the Warriors collect. He plays defense, too. Tell him what you need, and he supplies it.

2012: Meyers Leonard. He’s played for only one team, the Portland Trail Blazers. He this season averaged 3.4 points and 2.1 rebounds.

2013: Michael Carter-Williams. He was the first rookie since 1987 drafted 10th or later to be named rookie of the year. That was with Philadelphia. He has played for four teams. Last season he averaged 4.6 points for the Hornets and shot 33.2 percent from the field. He has skills. Shooting is not among them.

2014: Doug McDermott. He’s played for four teams in six seasons. He's in the league because he can shoot. He averaged 9.0 points for the Dallas Mavericks last season.

2015: Myles Turner. Good pick, Indiana Pacers. Turner, who is 6-11, has averaged in double figures each of his three seasons.

2016: Domantas Sabonis. Although he’s played for two teams in two seasons, he has a future. In 2017-18, he averaged 11.6 points and 7.7 rebounds for Indiana. Like Turner, he’s 6-11.

2017: Malik Monk. He averaged 6.7 points for the Hornets last season, but there’s an asterisk. He missed the summer before his rookie season with an ankle sprain and began the season hopelessly behind. As the season wore on, his defense improved and his playing time increased. He’ll be interesting to watch next season.

With the exception of Thompson and Turner, the 11th pick has been at best a complimentary player and at worst a washout. Too many Charlotte picks have washed out. Good players are available at No. 11. Other teams occasionally find them.

Somebody expected to go in the top 10 will be available when the Hornets select. It’s not as if teams follow a script.

If Missouri’s Michael Porter Jr., is available, how do you pass? If Duke’s Wendell Carter Jr. somehow slip slides to 11, how do you not pounce? If Alabama’s Collin Sexton is available, don’t you give him a jersey? If Villanova’s Mikal Bridges is unclaimed, don't you select him?

The pick will be the first for first-year Charlotte general manager Mitch Kupchak. We know him by reputation. On draft night, we’ll get a feel for who he is.

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

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