The “Yeah, but…” argument for every Charlotte Hornets draft prospect

PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 17: Collin Sexton #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide dribbles against the Villanova Wildcats in the second round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at PPG PAINTS Arena on March 17, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 17: Collin Sexton #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide dribbles against the Villanova Wildcats in the second round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at PPG PAINTS Arena on March 17, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

There are few things in the world more fun than playing devil’s advocate. So let’s do that with every potential prospect the Charlotte Hornets could draft.

Ringer writer Shea Serrano posted his “Yeah, but…” arguments for the 2017-2018 NBA Playoffs recently. The premise of the concept is a classic argumentative tactic: the “Yeah, but…”. No matter what great things are said, it’s the ultimate rebuttal. It’s both an acknowledgment and a counter. Even better, it happens online, in barbershops, at cookouts, everywhere, all the time, any time someone wants to argue about sports.

So what better to do than run through the “Yeah, but…” arguments for every potential prospect the Hornets might draft? Let your inner devil’s advocate loose and strap in for some arguments.

Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama

The long Kentucky point guard is one of the more intriguing players that could end up in Charlotte. He wasn’t expected to be a major part of Kentucky’s year coming into the season, but by the end of it, Gilgeous-Alexander played a crucial role.

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A crafty dribbler and acceptable shooter, he projects to be a player who can change up his game depending on team needs.

Yeah, but… His jumper is iffy. He shoots with a pushy, mechanical release, and his 40% 3PT shooting numbers came on a measly 57 attempts. It’s unsure how naturally he’ll be able to shoot at the NBA level. This is especially worrying for a player as skinny and slight as Gilgeous-Alexander because it’ll be tough for him to absorb contact at the rim. If he busts out as a shooter and can’t finish at the rim, he won’t have much of a role in NBA offenses.

Player comparisons: Dejounte Murray, Dante Exum, Brian Shaw

Kevin Knox, SF, Kentucky

After spending his collegiate next time next to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kevin Knox is another Wildcat in Charlotte’s sights. The do-it-all small forward is still a bit of a project, who has plenty of room for growth. Knox scored 15.6 points per game en route to Kentucky’s Elite 8 appearance.

There’s certainly a place for him on the Hornets roster too, as shot creation from the forward spots is a big need for this team.

Yeah, but… Knox is still trying to put it all together. He was featured as one of the focal points for Kentucky but wasn’t particularly impressive or efficient. Despite having all the physical tools to be dominant, he looked disengaged at times, leading to poor defense and shot selection. Charlotte may need more consistent wing production than Knox can provide.

Player comparisons: Jeff Green, Tobias Harris,  Kelly Oubre Jr.

Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech

Shooting his way up big boards around the nation, Zhaire Smith is one of basketball’s hottest names right now. He was mocked to Charlotte in the collective Hornets bloggers mock draft, and for good reason.

Smith came up at 6’4″ with a 9’10” standing reach, and his dominant combine numbers make him an impressive athletic prospect at the 2 guard slot.

He’s an incredibly athletic defender, who posted breathtaking splits in college when taking Texas Tech to the Elite 8.

Yeah, but… Smith’s jumper isn’t natural and there are a lot of questions about how it translates to the next level. His 45% shooting numbers from deep came on only 40 attempts. And, despite his talents on the offensive boards, his game on that end of the court doesn’t feel natural. Is his rise on the draft boards a flash in the pan or a sign of something more?

Player comparisons: Danny Green, poor man’s Jaylen Brown, Donovan Mitchell with a worse handle

Michael Porter Jr, SF, Missouri

Michael Porter Jr. was a sensation coming out of high school, making waves when he committed to Missouri. At the time, it looked like he was a lock for the top 3, and had potential to go number 1 if he impressed in college. Unfortunately, Porter Jr. suffered a back injury, relegating him to the bench as he played just three games in college.

Despite the injury, Porter Jr. is still likely a top-10 pick in this draft. Charlotte still met with MPJ, meaning they believe there’s a chance he slides out of the upper echelon. (Or, the Hornets trade up, potentially with Kemba Walker)

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Yeah, but… He hasn’t really shown anything impressive since high school. Granted, the back injury was devastating, but he wasn’t a particularly efficient or lethal scorer before his injury. Questions will continue to swirl about health, and with his lack of elite handle, it’s possible he becomes more of a Jonathan Bender than a Kevin Durant.

Player comparisons: Harrison Barnes, Danilo Gallinari, poor man’s Kevin Durant

Miles Bridges, SF/PF, Michigan St.

Despite being a projected lottery pick last year, Miles Bridges chose to return to Michigan State for his sophomore year. In his efforts to win a national championship, the combo forward may have hurt his draft stock.

He’s a unique player. Bridges can play both forward spots because of his thick frame. Additionally, he can finish at the rim, spot up from deep, or handle the rock in transition.

Yeah, but… Bridges didn’t take that next, dominant leap he should’ve in his second season in college. His game stagnated, meaning this could be the ceiling for him. Furthermore, no one really knows where he’ll fit on an NBA team. Can he become a dominant small ball four, or will he be stuck between positions?

Player comparisons:  Tobias Harris, Derrick Williams, Justise Winslow

Next: What the Borrego hiring can tell us about the future

Charlotte is still without firm answers heading into this draft. Backup point guard is definitely a need, but wing creation and athleticism are as well. It’s unsure where the direction the team might take, especially if someone like Mikal Bridges or Wendell Carter Jr. manages to slip on draft night, a la Malik Monk. So yeah, this might be everything Hornets fans need to know for draft night. But, there might be more cooking behind the scenes.