Charlotte Hornets NBA Draft: Nick Richards is a consistent two-way player

Heading into the 2020 NBA Draft, there will be a lot of talent for the Charlotte Hornets to look over. This prospect article will cover Nick Richards.

Before the Charlotte Hornets get ready for next season, the team needs to be prepared for this year’s NBA Draft. Since the regular season is still suspended, the date of the draft is unknown; however, Charlotte has a lot of time to scout prospects.

When the offseason does start, the Hornets will be faced with an issue in their frontcourt, as both of their backup centers will become unrestricted free agents. With Cody Zeller as the only guaranteed center on the roster for next season, the Hornets could look at drafting a center for depth.

The Hornets are looking at possibly getting the 8th pick in this year’s draft, but it’s unknown to what prospect they will target. However, the Hornets do own two second-round picks (32nd and 56th).

If the Hornets end up not drafting a center with their first-round pick, then there should be a great option available early in the second round. If the Hornets want to continue their luck of productive second-round picks, then the team should look at drafting Nick Richards.

About Charlotte Hornets draft prospect Nick Richards

Height: 6’11”

Weight: 245 pounds

Wingspan: 7’4″

2019-20 stats (per game): 14.0  points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.1 blocks, 64% FG, 29.6 minutes

Strengths

  • Has great size and length
  • Great mobility and exclusiveness
  • Consistent shot-blocker
  • Great rebounder
  • Smart on offense, does not force shots
  • Consistent scorer in the paint
  • Solid free-throw shooter

Weaknesses

  • Lacks an outside game, primarily stays in the paint
  • Needs to improve his jump-shot
  • Has a raw post-game that needs polishing
  • Needs to work on ball-handling to avoid turnovers

Nick Richards has played in three seasons for the Kentucky Wildcats. He saw minimal playing time in his first two seasons, which led to his low averages. For example, Richards started in 37 games as a freshman and averaged 12.1 minutes per game.

In Richard’s second season, he saw even fewer minutes, as he only started in three games for Kentucky. A reason behind the limited playing time was because of Kentucky playing with a smaller lineup; the Hornets’ very own PJ Washington started in many games as a center that season.

As many forgot about him after his first two seasons, Richards established himself as a candidate for SEC Player of the Year with his play during the 2019-20 season. In just 31 games, Richards tripled his points per game average and doubled what he averaged in rebounds in his first two seasons

Following the cancellation of the NCAA Basketball Tournament, Richards earned himself the honors of the All-SEC First Team and SEC All-Defense. While Richards may not be considered a first-round pick, he’s someone who will go early in the second round.

Richards is a two-way player that can provide an impact on both sides of the court. His inside game and ability to block shots could be very helpful to the Hornets as they search for depth at the center position.

As a Kentucky athlete, Nick Richards has a lot of potential; the school has produced some good NBA centers. Current-day notable centers to come from Kentucky are Anthony Davis, Bam AdebayoKarl-Anthony Towns, DeMarcus Cousins, Enes Kanter, and Willie Cauley-Stein.

With the Hornets’ recent draft history, the team has selected a Kentucky player in their last three drafts (drafted and traded Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in 2017). Clearly, there is a connection, and I expect Charlotte to follow the trend and take another Wildcat this year.

Next: The Charlotte Hornets’ Must-Watch Games of the 2020 Season

The Hornets have had a lot of luck with their past two selections in the second round of drafts, so Richards could add to their recent success. As a young player, he could see consistent playing time under Coach James Borrego.

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