Ok, breathe. The NBA lottery was quite an exhilarating time to be a fan of the Charlotte Hornets. After being projected to have the fourth pick in the draft, the Hornets actually ended up with the second pick overall. It’s a better pick than the numbers indicated that the team would receive. It also means the team will miss out on Victor Wembanyama, one of the most hyped draft prospects the sport has ever seen. The San Antonio Spurs will select the Frenchman in June.
Even having that thrill of excitement was different for fans this season. After getting out of the gates so poorly in the season’s first couple of months, it was obvious that the team wouldn’t be competitive, and would not break the playoff drought that has taunted the once-proud franchise. There was hope, even for a precious few seconds, that all the agony of the season would be all worth it.
What will the Charlotte Hornets do with the 2nd overall pick in the 2023 NBA draft?
But what does the second overall selection mean for the Hornets? It means they have the opportunity to draft Scoot Henderson. Henderson has largely been considered the clear number two choice. In other years, he would have been at least in the running to be selected first overall. While that was never the case, the 6’2 guard from G League Ignite is an explosive athlete with a smooth handle and incredible decision-making. His 6’7 wingspan fills out nicely with his nearly 200-pound frame, and will likely translate to an ability to be a quality defender at the next level.
His only clearly discernable weakness is his outside shooting. He shot 27.5% from three on 2.75 attempts from deep a game. If he were to be selected by the Hornets, the backcourt would be set—it would be Henderson and LaMelo Ball for the foreseeable future. But how long Ball stays in Charlotte is closely tied to how successful the franchise is, according to head coach Steve Clifford. Immediate fit with whomever the Hornets select matters. Because despite being a young player, Ball’s absence from the postseason could drive the former Rookie of the Year to seek greener pastures sooner than later.
Does that mean that Henderson is the wrong choice? General Manager Mitch Kupchak has long said that grabbing talent is important in the draft, but WCNC Sports Director Nick Carboni reported that Kupchak said now that there is more talent on the team, they “could be a little picky” and take into consideration the position when it comes to who is selected.
Or perhaps not selected.
As mentioned, Henderson is a highly-touted NBA prospect in his own right. And with an expedited timetable, perhaps the Hornets would be better off adding an accomplished veteran to the team and trading the pick to instantly become a more formidable team and finally get over the hump to make the playoffs.
Or maybe the team simply decides to add wing talent, to go along with Ball and center Mark Williams, their selection from the 2022 NBA draft and representative for the team during the NBA lottery. Alabama’s Brandon Miller likely is the best player at that position in the upcoming draft. Miller, a three-level scorer would instantly help the league’s worst offense.
Whatever the case is, there’s optimism in the Queen City for the first time in a while. Savor it, Hornets’ fans. Maybe the night didn’t go exactly how everyone wanted it, but the team is in a much better position today than it was 24 hours ago.