Charlotte Hornets Draft: Udoka Azubuike could be a second-round steal

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 Udoka Azubuike.

As of now, the Charlotte Hornets have a lot of time to review prospects for the 2020 NBA Draft. One of the biggest issues facing the Hornets this offseason will be their frontcourt and its potential lack of depth. Bismack Biyombo and Willy Hernangomez will become unrestricted free agents at the start of free agency.

The team recently found out that they would not be finishing their regular season in Orlando, Flordia. With that said, Charlotte has until October to choose who they may draft. For this year’s draft, the team will have one first-round pick and two second-rounders.

The Hornets are currently looking at receiving the 8th pick in the lottery this year. If the team decides not to go with a center in the first round, then the team will have a variety of options later in the draft.

A prospect the Hornets could potentially look at is Udija Azubuike, who is a four-year college athlete from the University of Kansas. Azubuike saw a lot of playing time in the starting lineup with Devonte’ Graham during the 2017-18 college season.

Without further ado, let’s take a close look at Azubuike’s game, and why he would be a second-round steal for the Hornets.

About Charlotte Hornets draft prospect Udoka Azubuike

Age: 20

Height: 7’0”

Weight: 270 pounds

Wingspan: 7’7″

2019-20 stats (per game): 13.7  points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.6 blocks, 75% FG, 27.7 minutes

Strengths

  • Great size and length
  • Terrific shot-blocker / great defensive anchor
  • Great rebounder
  • Explosive athlete / plays physical
  • Finishes strong on dunks
  • Can make jump hooks

Weaknesses

  • Lacks an offensive game beyond the paint
  • Needs to improve free throw
  • Only effective on the offensive fastbreak
  • Needs to improve defensive awareness for certain situations

Does Udoka Azubuike make sense for the Charlotte Hornets?

When it comes to second-round picks, Mitch Kupchak has done very well for the Hornets as of late. With what the Hornets need on defense, I think Udoka Azubuike makes a lot of sense to take later in the draft.

Coach James Borrego constantly tries to teach physicality to his players, and I think he would really enjoy coaching Azubuike. If you’ve seen his highlight tape from this season, then you know that Azubuike has elite size and strength.

Azubuike is vert explosive and is a great athlete at the five spot. He is almost elite when it comes to catching rebounds, and he’s proved that he can be a consistent shot-blocker on defense.

The Hornets ranked 25th in rebounds per game this season with 42.8, while also ranking 26th in blocks per game at 4.1. To be even more specific, the Hornets ranked 28th in defensive rebounds last season, making them one of the worst defensive rebounding teams in the league.

Azubuike has a lot of potential with his defensive abilities, but he’s not going to come in right away and save the day. He would likely see a lot of time off the bench next season if he’s drafted by Charlotte, but I think he would develop nicely under Coach Borrego.

However, Azubuike’s offensive game is the most troubling aspect of his game. As of now, he can only shoot jump hooks with his right hand and finish on assisted dunks. Azubuike understands his role as a center; he mainly stays in the paint and attempts his shots from there.

I think Azubuke’s game could be improved, but Hornets fans would see an offensive game from him that’s similar to Bismack Biyombo’s. Something that also really needs to be improved is his free throw shot. Azubuike shot 44% from the line this season with Kansas.

Next: The Charlotte Hornets could use Davis Bertans’ mix of size and range

Overall, the Charlotte Hornets will be getting a defensive anchor if they pick Udoka Azubuike in the second-round. Due to his physicality and defense, I suspect he will be on Charlotte’s radar.