Charlotte Hornets: Team USA to showcase the Kemba/Mitchell duo that could have been

Charlotte Hornets Kemba Walker (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Kemba Walker (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Former Charlotte Hornets star Kemba Walker will likely team up with Donovan Mitchell for Team USA this summer, giving fans a glimpse of what could have been quite a duo.

The Charlotte Hornets, along with 11 other teams, have to be still kicking themselves for passing up on Donovan Mitchell during the 2017 NBA Draft. Mitchell flew up draft boards prior to the draft and worked his way into getting picked in the lottery, but I don’t think anyone thought he would be this good so early into his NBA career.

Mitchell was originally selected 13th overall by the Nuggets, but was then traded to the Jazz in exchange for Trey Lyles and Tyler Lydon, both of which are no longer in Denver. Utah came out of nowhere and completely stole a star that no one else saw, and they desperately needed one to pair with Rudy Gobert after losing Gordon Hayward in free agency.

The Hornets had the 11th overall pick, and many, including myself, thought that they got a steal with Malik Monk. Two years into his career, Monk has been a disappointment, but he has the chance to turn things around starting in 2019-20.

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However, he will very likely never be as good as Donovan Mitchell is right now. The scary thing is, Mitchell is going to get even better. He’s already one of the most popular faces in the NBA, and with Utah’s player development staff, he could end up being one of the best players in the entire league.

Mitchell is averaging 22.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists in two seasons with the Jazz. He’s been their second best player and the duo of him and Gobert have led Utah to the playoffs for two consecutive seasons.

For comparison, Malik Monk, who the Hornets drafted over Mitchell, is averaging 8.9 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists. He hasn’t gotten nearly the opportunity or amount of shots that Mitchell gets, but you get my point.

Charlotte had their chance to take Mitchell and put him next to Kemba Walker in the back court, but it wasn’t meant to be, I suppose.

I can’t help but wonder how different things would be if Mitchell did end up with the Hornets. I would think, especially in the Eastern Conference, that Mitchell makes them an instant playoff team. Would that have changed things during Kemba’s free agency? Probably. It was a big time miss by Charlotte.

Well, it’s looking like we will finally get to see both Kemba Walker and Donovan Mitchell on the same team after all. With so many players backing out of playing for Team USA this summer, Walker and Mitchell have emerged as near locks to make the roster. They will likely be competing together as USA looks to add another gold medal to the collection.

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Cover your eyes during the games, Hornets fans, because that sight has got to sting. A back court of Walker and Mitchell would have become one of the best in the entire NBA and Charlotte had a golden opportunity to make it happen.

The Jazz had interest in signing Walker as a free agent this summer, but those rumors died after Utah ended up trading for Mike Conley instead. Walker ended up signing with the Celtics, leaving the Hornets with nothing left to do but rebuild around their new point guard, Terry Rozier.

It’s a new era in Charlotte Hornets basketball. We’ll see how this young group grows together. They would have been better off with Mitchell, of course, but we must look towards the future and move forward.

Hornets have a history of players on Team USA. dark. Next

The thought of Kemba Walker and Donovan Mitchell together in the back court for the Hornets will make many fans sick to their stomach because of the missed opportunity. In this case, though, you just have to move on and trust the process. Hopefully the Charlotte Hornets can recover from all of this.