The downside of the Hornets trading their 2nd overall pick
Right now, the Hornets have the perfect opportunity to enter a full roster reset. Trading away their aging players and building around LaMelo Ball the right way. While quick success is always appealing, there is always the risk of things not working out due to poor fit or injury.
Both Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson have already spent time on a team that has struggled to do more than contend for an eighth or seventh seed – so there’s no telling if they would be willing to remain in Charlotte long-term.
Yet, if the Hornets drafted Henderson or Miller, they would have a clean slate and would be able to integrate the player into their system while retaining them on a team-friendly deal for the next four or five years. There is also an argument to be made that by keeping their pick and making a conscious attempt to surround LaMelo with players who fit his timeline and accentuate his skillset.
Sure, adding a borderline All-Star (due to lack of health) talent in Ingram or Zion is incredibly enticing. Yet, when you look around the league right now, most of the contending teams built their rosters through the draft, making use of their scouting and player development departments and trusting their coaching staff to get things right.
Look at the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, Denver Nuggets, and Golden State Warriors; those are four teams who have been deemed championship contenders over the past few years and have all made runs to the NBA Finals or have hoisted a banner. And then you have the Memphis Grizzlies – who also project to be a force in the coming years.
The Hornets are not a free-agency destination, so it would be more beneficial to their future if Mitch Kupchak stuck to the plan and made use of the team’s multiple draft picks on June 22. Because, like it or not, that is how sustainable success is built for most teams in the NBA.