Charlotte Hornets: Arnoldas Kulboka proving worthy of a final roster spot

Charlotte Hornets Arnoldas Kulboka (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Arnoldas Kulboka (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Arnoldas Kulboka, the 55th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets, has had a strong Summer League and deserves a final roster spot on the team.

Here we are — It’s July 11th, and all of the big free agents are off the board. Rosters are beginning to form, and we now have a good idea of what teams will look like for the upcoming 2019-20 season, including the Charlotte Hornets.

Charlotte has had a tough off-season, losing both of their top scorers from last season in Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb. They have, however, quickly filled up the roster, and they now only have a limited amount of spots left.

One of those roster spots could very well go to Charlotte’s draft-and-stash project, Arnoldas Kulboka.

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As it stands today, the Hornets have 12 players under contract for next season, as well as one player on a two-way contract. Second round picks Cody Martin and Jalen McDaniels will likely sign at some point, so that would boost the roster up to 14 players.

If that is the case, then Charlotte will have one regular roster spot remaining and one two-way spot remaining. Kulboka would be a good option for either of those positions. He’s made an impression in Summer League with his shooting and improved strength.

In four Summer League games thus far, Kulboka is averaging 8.7 points and 4.7 rebounds. He had an 18 point game against China on Monday night, adding four rebounds and three three-pointers in the tough loss.

During the 2018-19 season, Kulboka played in the G-BBL and BCL in Germany, averaging a combined 5.2 points in just 13.2 minutes per game.

Kulboka is still just 21 years old and still has a ton of developing to do, but with the Hornets in rebuild mode, bringing him over to Charlotte now and getting him NBA experience would be ideal. He’s an intriguing prospect at 6’10” and fits the timeline of the franchise.

His biggest NBA skill set is his shooting. That’s one thing that will translate right away. He’s got a smooth, effortless and quick release and he’s shown that off in Summer League play. The physicality could be a problem, but he’s slowly bulking up. Kulboka is also not the best athlete in the world, but he’s stealthy and will surprise you from time to time.

Kulboka’s physical attributes are also intriguing. He has great size and length, and that should allow him to play multiple positions in the future. Despite all of these positive signs, he’s still a project and it’s going to take a few years of developing before he makes an impact.

Still, the franchise is clearly high on him. They’re getting a good look at him during Summer League, and even if he doesn’t join the Hornets this season, they’ll still track his progress overseas until he does eventually join the team.

In my opinion, I just don’t see much risk of bringing Kulboka to the Charlotte Hornets right now. Like I said, the Hornets are rebuilding and will be mainly focused on developing the young talent. It makes sense to have Kulboka in Charlotte where you can closely work with him every day.

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Only time will tell if this is the year for Kulboka, but I do think him joining the Hornets now would benefit both sides.