Mitch Kupchak seems to always find good players when he drafts and it has made a tremendous difference in the trajectory of this Charlotte Hornets team.
As Charlotte Hornets fans, we have been accustomed to drafting very poorly.
Maybe the draft selections weren’t all busts, but the organization had repeatedly passed on all-star talents to take players who ended up as mediocre role players at best (outside of Kemba Walker, of course).
For example, taking Michael Kidd-Gilchrist over Bradley Beal in 2012, taking Cody Zeller over CJ McCollum in 2013, or taking Frank Kaminsky over Devin Booker in 2015. Beal is a multi-time all-star, McCollum has been the second-best player on a good playoff team for years now, and Booker has dropped 70 points in a single game before and was an all-star this year.
I know that hindsight is 20/20 and that no one knew who these young players would become, however, the pattern of serious draft mistakes is unnerving.
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Since firing the previous GM Rich Cho and hiring current GM Mitch Kupchak, our drafting has been above average, especially in the second round. And just not taking the wrong guy in the draft is like drafting a superstar in this fanbase’s eyes because of the repeated passing on better talent.
Mitch Kupchak’s track record with the team so far has been stellar! In his first year, he actually drafted Shai Gilgeous-Alexander but traded him to draft Miles Bridges and traded up with the assets from the Shai deal to grab Devonte’ Graham in the second round. In his second year, he drafted PJ Washington, Cody Martin, and Jalen McDaniels, then he grabbed Caleb Martin as an undrafted player.
Most people like to look at the utilization of second-rounders and how Kupchak seems to always find an impact player late in the draft when most GMs seemingly pay very little attention close after the first round.
Finding an offensive stud in Devonte’ Graham, a Marcus Smart type player in Cody Martin, and what looks to be a skilled scorer in Caleb Martin and maybe Jalen McDaniels bodes well for Mitch and his scouting process.
This all shows his determination to find the best player available despite the projected draft big board; remember, Cody Martin was taken with the 36th pick when he was projected to go much later, if not undrafted, but Mitch did not want to miss out on the opportunity to take the player he believed would make a difference.
He has not drafted a player yet (not even a second-rounder or undrafted player) that has fizzled out, especially with his players taken in the lottery.
Mitch Kupchak has given us an abundance of evidence that we should be confident and comfortable with him behind the draft process.
This upcoming summer will be very important for this team’s future and that whole process begins, literally, with the draft.
No matter what pick the Charlotte Hornets end up selecting at, Mitch Kupchak has earned the benefit of the doubt and should be trusted by this fanbase moving forward.