Charlotte Hornets Draft: Joel Ayayi could be an interesting project

With two second-round picks in the upcoming NBA Draft, the Charlotte Hornets may look to increase their depth at guard. Joel Ayayi might be the right fit.

It’s going to be a while until the NBA Draft and until then, expect thousands of experts and fans alike to give their analysis and speculation up until that night. If you’re interested in the Charlotte Hornets, it’s about all you’re going to get as the team will be looking to the offseason to make some positive changes.

One such change could be bolstering their guard lineup and in the second round of the draft, there are plenty of options, should the team decide to go that route. Joel Ayayi might be their answer.

The 6’5″ guard from Gonzaga averaged almost 11 points per game for the Bulldogs and shot 38% from the field while making 35% from three. That’s not terrible from a redshirt-sophomore on a talented squad like Gonzaga, where many players can touch the ball on any given night.

Something that really stands out about him, though, is his rebounding. He nabbed just over 6 rebounds per game, good for second on the team. You don’t see many guards with rebounding skills like that and for a team like the Hornets who were at the bottom of the league on the glass, his ability could be a boon.

The reigning WCC Tournament Most Outstanding Player could prove to be a steal in the late hours of the draft for the Charlotte Hornets.

He’s obviously not first-round talent, but should the team decide to part ways with Dwayne Bacon and/or one of the Martin twins gets traded, Ayayi could provide some nice depth behind Devonte’ Graham and Terry Rozier.

While he’s a capable shooter and rebounds the ball well for a guard, he’s got a few issues. Firstly, he’ll need to bulk up a bit as that 180-pound frame is a little light for guarding bigger shooting guards in the NBA.

He’s a capable defender but can be lax at times, taking plays off or sagging off his assignments. With him defending some of the better players on each team in the NBA, he’ll need to focus on defense, or else he’ll become yet another defensive liability for the Hornets.

He can knock down free-throws at a dependable clip, making almost 83% of his shots from the line, but he needs to do a better job at getting to the line. Primarily a spot-up shooter, Ayayi needs to become a better slasher and initiate contact at the basket. He averaged just two shots from the line last season, so you would prefer him to be more aggressive at attacking the hoop.

He’s a decent playmaker and can run an offense with middling results, but you do not want him as your floor general. He’s best paired with a true point guard who can facilitate and find him coming out of a screen or in the transition game.

He’s not the flashiest guy in the draft, by any means, but Ayayi could be a solid role player for a team looking to incorporate more youth at the guard position. Charlotte has recently fared well in the second round of the draft with players like Graham and Cody Martin and Joel could be another guy added to that lost.

He’s got promise and while he might not have been the focal point in college, he more than proved he’s a capable player. The Charlotte Hornets should certainly take a look at him come October.