The Charlotte Hornets have enjoyed a relatively quiet offseason thus far, with the majority of their roster additions coming via the 2023 NBA draft. However, the Hornets’ biggest move of the summer came when Mitch Kupchak tied LaMelo Ball down to a five-year $260 million contract extension.
Nevertheless, Charlotte’s inactivity during the free agency period has led to some disgruntlement among the fanbase. After struggling on both sides of the floor last season, Hornets fans had hoped to see some new veteran faces joining the franchise over the summer – but have yet to see that come to fruition.
Instead, the Hornets will likely look to develop their recent draft picks while relying on the return of Miles Bridges, who missed last season due to legal issues, and LaMelo, who sat out the majority of the year with a broken ankle. Yet, according to Michael Saenz of Sir Charles in Charge, Charlotte’s inefficiency throughout the free agency period is not their biggest mistake of the summer, nor is their inability to resolve P.J. Washington’s contract situation or even the fact the Bridges opted into his qualifying offer.
Saenz believes the Hornets’ bigger mistake will have far longer-reaching implications for the Hornets franchise and could be something they end up regretting for the next decade.
The Hornets should have drafted Scoot Henderson over Brandon Miller
On Monday, August 7, Saenz released an article that looked at some of the Hornets’ best and worst moves of the summer. During his article, Saenz noted how Charlotte could come to regret their decision not to draft Scoot Henderson with the second overall pick in this year’s draft.
"“I understand he [Miller] may be the better fit next to LaMelo Ball, but this is a decision that the Hornets will have to hope works out for them in the long run,” Saenz wrote. “This is the type of potential misstep that can send a franchise back a half-decade. For the remainder of their careers, Scoot and Miller will be forever graded against each other. Even if the sample size is small, there are already some questioning this decision just through what we’ve seen from both players in summer league.”"
It’s still far too early to pass judgment on whether the Hornets made the correct decision with Miller or if they missed an opportunity by passing over Henderson. However, Hornets fans will likely be following Henderson’s rookie season with a close eye as they look to compare the impact that both players make for their respective teams.
Still, considering LaMelo position on the Hornets roster and the fact that he projects to be with the team for the long haul, making a decision based on talent and fit still seems like the smartest option. Miller will give Charlotte significant upside at one of the most important positions on an NBA court.
If Miller can develop chemistry with LaMelo, and Charlotte can find a way to retain Bridges next summer, the Hornets will have three legitimate talents to build around as they look to give LaMelo the contending team he craves. Passing on Henderson may seem like a mistake following Summer League, but in truth, there’s still a long way to go before we can confidently make that claim.