Dalton Knecht's plug-and-play role would fit well on the Hornets

Should the Hornets consider drafting Knecht at No. 6 overall?
Tennessee guard Dalton Knecht (3) reacts to 72-66 loss to Purdue at the NCAA tournament Midwest Regional Elite 8 round at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit on Sunday, March 31, 2024.
Tennessee guard Dalton Knecht (3) reacts to 72-66 loss to Purdue at the NCAA tournament Midwest Regional Elite 8 round at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit on Sunday, March 31, 2024. / Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

If the Charlotte Hornets are looking for immediate contributors with a high floor at No. 6 overall in the 2024 NBA Draft, Tennessee wing Dalton Knecht might be their best option.

Yes, Knecht is already 23-years-old, but there’s no denying his production last season for the Volunteers averaging 21.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists while shooting 39.7 percent on three-pointers. Knecht’s efficiency checked in at 57.8 TS% while carrying a high usage rate of 32.7 percent.

A 6’6” wing who can certainly put the ball in the basket, Knecht also fits the renewed focus of adding character-first prospects in their young locker room. Charlotte simply needs more high quality people who fit into their role and are able to mold seamlessly into other areas.

On the NBA level, Knecht’s defined role of a shoot-first wing who carries a much lower usage percentage fits that well. For a team like Charlotte, they want the ball to be in the hands of LaMelo Ball and Brandon Miller as many possessions as possible. A floor-spacing wing like Knecht is an instant plug-and-play option who provides a much-needed offensive boost.

“My role will just be whatever the team needs me to do,” Knecht said at the NBA Scouting Combine in Chicago. “Whether it’s scoring or if it’s rebounding or defense or playmaking I’ll gladly do that. It’s apart of my role and I’m only about winning, so I’d say that would be my role.”

Knecht’s journey to the NBA is one not many lottery-level prospects have ever traveled. Beginning at the junior college level, Knecht ultimately moved his way up to lower Division I Northern Colorado before ultimately spending the last two years win Knoxville with the Volunteers. The perseverance and drive from Knecht not to fail and reach this moment should bode well for him in the Association, especially as an immediate contributor.

“It’s for sure a crazy process coming from JUCO to Northern Colorado to Tennessee, you get to kinda see all the levels of college basketball,” Knecht said. “So, you for sure are able to take it all in and appreciate it a lot.”

Within the Hornets’ system, Knecht would arrive as a rotation piece expected to contribute right away because of his scoring prowess. What’s wild to even think about is Knecht being older than LaMelo Ball, who just turned 22-years-old. For Charlotte, age here wouldn’t matter as long as Knecht is a successful rotation piece.

Would it be wise for the Hornets to draft Knecht, especially at No. 6 overall? Viewed squarely in this range, maybe more in the 9-12 range, Charlotte could attempt to trade back and still select him while picking up another asset. If the Hornets nabbed Knecht and a veteran rotation player, their potential draft night haul becomes very intriguing.

With no real consensus atop the 2024 NBA Draft, Knecht should benefit because of his translatable skills on offense. If he’s able to hold up on that end consistently, while not being a complete sieve defensively, there’s no doubt he will carve out a decade-long spot in the Association.