Charlotte Hornets 2022 NBA Draft Profile: Jalen Duren

Memphis Tigers center Jalen Duren reaches out for a rebound against the Gonzaga Bulldogs in their second round NCAA Tournament matchup on Saturday, March 19, 2022 at the Moda Center in Portland, Ore.Jrca2816b
Memphis Tigers center Jalen Duren reaches out for a rebound against the Gonzaga Bulldogs in their second round NCAA Tournament matchup on Saturday, March 19, 2022 at the Moda Center in Portland, Ore.Jrca2816b /

The Charlotte Hornets have possession of the 13th and 15th overall picks in the 2022 NBA Draft. The Hornets have an obvious hole at the center position, and it’s no secret. Defense is another major issue the team has at the moment. Could they kill two birds with one stone in the draft? It’s not likely that a player picked at 13 overall will fix all of their problems, but it could definitely help and put them in the right direction.

Kai Jones, the Hornets draft pick in the first round last year, is still developing. Mason Plumlee is still on the roster and is on an expiring contract. Nick Richards is still on the roster as well. The team has options, but they desperately need someone to make an impact down low and on the defensive end of the floor. If they do keep both picks, one prospect they could consider is Jalen Duren, the freshman big from Memphis.

Jalen Duren

Age: 19

Height: 6’11

Weight: 250 Ibs.

College Stats and Awards:

Duren averaged 12.1 points per game with 8.1 rebounds per game, 0.8 steals per game and 2.1 blocks per game this season at Memphis. Duren ended his freshman year shooting 59.7% from the field. Duren was named the AAC Freshman of the Year. He also landed on the All-AAC First Team. He made quite a name for himself in one year!


Duren is an extremely gifted athlete, which gives him versatility. That should be able to be a positive transfer to the NBA. His ability to block shots is something that will be highly sought after amongst the league. In general, his defense is solid and should only improve going forward. Duren’s athleticism makes him able to rebound at a high rate. Duren can also pass the ball fairly well when needed, and he can score in the low post at an efficient rate. Duren should really make his money in the pick-and-roll at the next level, as he can finish in traffic with crafty lay-ins or thunderous dunks.


Duren needs to improve his free throw shooting. With his size, he should be able to get to the free throw line quite a bit, but he needs to develop more consistency from the stripe. He needs to try to improve his face up game and ability to sink the mid-range shot when it is given to him. He’s shown flashes of having some range, but he just needs to refine that shot and make it a consistent part of his game as well. He could benefit from learning some new post moves down on the low block. He has had some careless moments in the past leading to some wild shots, turning the ball over, being unfocused, and sometimes just not being aggressive enough. Some of these weaknesses are due to his age, and other are bad habits that need breaking.

Fit with the Hornets and Overall Assessment:

The strengths outweigh the weaknesses for Duren, and he should transition well into the NBA. His athleticism and defensive ability should make him an impactful player early on. He’s young but also has played some solid competition at the Olympic level and in his lone season at Memphis. With Charlotte’s massive hole at the center position, it’s not a given that he would start as a rookie, but it’s probable that he would be in the rotation early on. Inserting him into the pick-and-roll with LaMelo Ball would be a beautiful thing. His athleticism, ability to block shots, and ability to defend the paint would help the team out tremendously since that is an area that the Hornets have struggled at for as long as fans can remember. Duren is a high flyer and Ball would surely find him with a plethora of alley-oops. All-in-all, Duren would be an excellent fit with the young core of the Charlotte Hornets.


Duren has been projected in the middle of the lottery. He could potentially go anywhere from pick 7 through 13. Some teams that could potentially draft Duren are the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Duren very well could be gone before the Hornets make their pick at 13, so they may have to trade up if they want to secure a potential big man of the future.

Next. Hornets Early Offseason Primer: What To Do With All This “Currency”. dark