On May 5th, 2023 the Charlotte Hornets hosted six players for Pre Draft Workouts. All of these players are likely late first-round/second-round picks, Mitch Kupchak’s specialty.
The Hornets played a ton of former second-round picks all throughout the course of last season, therefore it is important to keep an eye on even their last selection in the upcoming draft.
Let’s take a look at a few of the top guys the Hornets welcomed to the Hive.
Emoni Bates (Eastern Michigan)
Emoni Bates has been called the next Kevin Durant since his early teenage years. Those are both literally and figuratively huge shoes to fill. After an extremely impressive high school career full of honorable accolades, growing popularity and an array of Division One offers, Bates decided to commit to Memphis.
The 17-year-old Bates battled injuries throughout the course of his freshman year which allowed him to play only 18 games. During his limited time on the court, Bates underperformed and did not meet the expectations the nation had for the young star. He averaged just 9.7 points per game while shooting 38.6% from the field (stats via ESPN).
For his sophomore season, Bates transferred to Eastern Michigan where he began to build a name for himself again. Despite a lack of team success, Bates played considerably better averaging 19.2 points per game on 40.5% from the field and 33% from three-point land. He put up over 25 points in eight of his 30 games played in the 2022-23 season. (stats via ESPN). He was also arrested after a gun was found in a car he borrowed in September.
Bates has always been known for his scoring ability. At 6’10, Bates has an elite handle and can get to his spots with ease despite the fact he lacks quickness. His ability to shoot over defenders and take the shots he wants is largely where the Kevin Durant comparisons come into play.
However, Bates’ biggest weakness is his shot selection. There are times when Bates will continue to fire shots in hopes of getting going when in reality he is disrupting the team’s offense and rushing into immature looks. Bates only shot under ten shots twice in his 30 games with Eastern Michigan.
Overall, Bates has a ton of potential to be a lethal offensive weapon in the NBA. If he is able to buy into a role, make the right plays, and can still contribute with less volume, Bates will be a valuable asset on any roster.
The Hornets could look at Bates in the second round, and allow him to mature his game in Greensboro while he also looks to add to his frame in order to be able to physically hang with NBA personnel.