NBA Draft: Charlotte Hornets should look at drafting a center

Charlotte Hornets James Borrego. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets James Borrego. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Heading into this year’s draft, the Charlotte Hornets should be considering a center to fill a potential hole on their roster.

As we wait out the NBA’s hiatus of the regular season, the Charlotte Hornets may need to start reviewing potential prospects in this year’s draft. The league’s hiatus could affect when the NBA draft begins, but luckily the Hornets will have a lot of needed time to look over draftees.

Heading into this year’s draft, the Hornets will be facing an issue that may arise in their frontcourt. Following this season, whenever that may be, Bismack Biyombo and Willy Hernangomez will become unrestricted free agents.

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This is an issue for Charlotte, as the team will potentially be losing both of their backup centers. Backup centers are important, and Coach James Borrego proved that with the various center rotations he used this season.

Moreover, the Hornets will be heading into the offseason after escaping “cap room purgatory.” The team is expected to have at least $30 million in cap space, and the Hornets may not be eager to spend all of it.

If Charlotte wants to conserve cap space to address another issue, then the Hornets must target a center in the draft. As we head into this year’s draft, there are a variety of talented centers that could end up being lottery picks.

Since the team is potentially losing both of their backups, it’s clear that this is one of the weakest position groups on the team. The Hornets are currently the 28th ranked team in defensive rebounds per game, proving why the team needs a productive frontcourt member.

As of now, the Hornets may get the 8th pick in the draft due to their current record of 23-42. While there is a chance to get a top pick in the draft like the New Orleans Pelicans got last year, the Hornets still have many options at #8 overall.

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At the 8th spot, centers like Onyeka Okongwu, Daniel Oturu, James Wiseman, Precious Achiuwa, Isaiah Stewart, and Vernon Carey Jr. should be available. If the Hornets want to draft a second-round center, then Jalen Smith, Nick Richards, Zeke Nnaji, and Udoka Azubuike could also be great prospects to look at.

The lottery centers all have the ability to rebound and play consistent defense. Since James Borrego constantly preaches the need for defense and physicality, it only makes sense for him to prioritize defense in this year’s draft.

However, most of the aforementioned centers are different when it comes to their offensive game. They all have the ability to score, but some may need more polishing to their offense than others.

In terms of defense, I like what I see in this year’s draft. The Hornets have a variety of options, and a center will help them fill the frontcourt void they’ll have if they decide not to re-sign any of their backup centers.

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Right now, I expect the Hornets to really dig into scouting players during this hiatus. It’s unclear when the draft will occur, but it looks like the Hornets will have more than enough time to study prospects.