Charlotte Hornets and NBA draftee development

LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

With the NBA draft on the horizon, and the lottery sequence now established, the Charlotte Hornets now must decide who they will take with the number two overall pick. The Hornets are likely choosing between Alabama’s Brandon Miller and G league Ignite’s Scoot Henderson. But as much as the Hornets will be making a decision between two talented prospects, it won’t be one made in a vacuum. Whomever the Hornets select will be joining a team and in need of development.

The fit of the player alongside LaMelo Ball seems like it will heavily influence who the team selects. But another player will likely be severely impacted by the draft results—Terry Rozier. Rozier, second on the team in scoring during the 2022-23 season, will likely largely be impacted by either Miller or Henderson’s selection. Henderson would take over a large percentage of the ball-handling duties if he were to be selected. Duties that were previously almost solely handled by Ball and Rozier. And with Rozier’s three-point struggles last season (he shot 32.7% on eight threes a game), the spacing will be at a premium—particularly if Henderson, and his shaky three-point shot, is selected.

What do the Charlotte Hornets need to do to bring along their draft pick?

Miller’s role would be different than Henderson’s.  Miller would operate more off-ball. But even if Miller wouldn’t directly impede Rozier’s obligations, there would likely be issues with Gordon Hayward and Miles Bridges—two other wing players that will likely eat up a large number of minutes next season.

Whomever the Hornets choose, there will likely need to be plenty of support in place to accentuate their talents and develop their weaknesses. The latest first-round rookie, Mark Williams had a strong finish to his season. But it’s important to remember he spent plenty of time in the G-league. Williams, the 15th pick in the 2022 NBA draft, was brought along slowly even with the team’s struggles this season. It wasn’t until after Mason Plumlee’s trade that he got consistent minutes and starts.

Head coach Steve Clifford has garnered a reputation as being “tough on rookies”. His response when asked by the Charlotte Observer’s Scott Fowler this past season about rookie development shed some important insight on how he approaches their growth, “I think sometimes there’s this misconception that when guys aren’t playing minutes, they don’t have a chance to be seen, nothing could be further from the truth.” In short, Clifford doesn’t give minutes to rookies for them to develop, they earn it to show that they have developed.

Next. 3 reasons the Charlotte Hornets should select Scoot Henderson. dark