Comparing three NBA mock drafts for the Hornets

2023 McDonald's All American Game
2023 McDonald's All American Game / Michael Hickey/GettyImages
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The Ringer: Reed Sheppard, Guard, Kentucky

Kevin O’Connor of the Ringer has the Hornets taking the 6’3” shooting guard out of Kentucky, Reed Sheppard. Generally speaking, selecting a guard out of Kentucky seems like a pretty safe play, but Sheppard is in a little bit of a different mold than some of the recent Calipari products. 

He doesn’t really profile as a lead ballhandler on offense, he’s more of a secondary playmaker and shooter and an excellent defender on and off the ball. O’Connor’s current NBA player comp was Derrick White.

One of the only issues for me is the ceiling. While any team would love to add a player like Derrick White, that seems like an ideal outcome for Sheppard. He’s only a freshman, and we may not have seen his upside, but using the fourth pick on a guy whose destiny is likely to be a really good role-player may be a tough sell.

The other issue is his size. 6’3” is going to put Sheppard at a disadvantage on most nights, and as good a defender as he is there will be a lot of guys who are simply too big for him. There’s a reason there aren’t many non-point guards this small in the league.

On the plus side, the Hornets potentially have the personnel to neutralize some of those question marks around Sheppard. The team really needs a sharpshooting defender to slide in next to LaMelo Ball and Brandon Miller. Ball being so tall (for his position) would also make it much easier to stomach playing the undersized Sheppard.

Drafting a 3-and-d guy with the fourth pick may seem like a bad use of assets, but it’s easy to see a pretty tantalizing fit for Sheppard on the Hornets and there is obviously potential for more with the 20-year-old freshman.