Hornets Mock Draft: Who could be on the board at No. 6 overall?

It's time for our second installment of the top-six mock draft. Who could be in play for Charlotte?
Mar 28, 2023; Houston, TX, USA; West forward Ron Holland (1) during the McDonald's All American Boy's high school basketball game at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 28, 2023; Houston, TX, USA; West forward Ron Holland (1) during the McDonald's All American Boy's high school basketball game at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2024 NBA Draft a little over a month away, Swarm & Sting will be ramping up coverage from all angles. How could the lottery shake out in front of Charlotte at No. 6 overall? In an unknown year like this one, Charlotte could still nab a long-term difference maker to add into their young core of talent.

It’s time for our second installment of the top-six lottery mock draft here on Swarm & Sting, which paints the most updated realistic picture on who could potentially be on the board for the Hornets.

Atlanta Hawks — Zaccharie Risacher, Wing, France

Risacher continues to put together impressive performances late in the season over in France, which is bringing serious momentum to potentially overthrow Alex Sarr for the top spot. Consecutive games for Risacher scoring 20-plus points to go along with elite three-point shooting and defense, which included the Hawks’ front office in attendance, could put him seriously in consideration at No. 1 overall.

ESPN’s Jonathan Givony recently reported that Risacher’s floor is locked into the top-five, but the Hawks and Washington Wizards appear to me his most likely landing spots atop the draft.

After mocking Sarr, let’s switch it up here and go Risacher in volume 2.0.

Washington Wizards — Alex Sarr, Big, France

Washington would be ecstatic to see Sarr slide to them at No. 2. Washington needs star infusion immediately, and Sarr offers their best opportunity thanks to his elite rim protection and upside in transition.

Sarr has received various player comparisons like Jaren Jackson Jr. and a more mobile Myles Turner, which would certainly fit well within today’s NBA.

At this rate, it feels very likely both Risacher and Sarr will be off the board in the first two picks, which makes both unrealistic draft targets for the Hornets.

TRADE: Brooklyn Nets (via Houston Rockets) — Stephon Castle, Ball Handler, Connecticut

Talk about a curveball, right? Let’s go ahead and mix this up entirely, which now sees a blockbuster trade once more occur between the Rockets and Nets.

Even though Brooklyn doesn’t own their draft picks through 2027, Houston can offer them the golden opportunity to trade back their selections in exchange for the Phoenix Suns’ future. And with the Nets leaning towards a rebuilding effort more than ever, this offseason might be the perfect time to pull the plug.

Receiving their pick again, Brooklyn traded Mikal Bridges to get No. 3 overall and control of their drafts back. A win-win for both sides, as Houston has let it be known on-record they are ready to make a postseason push.

For the Nets, Castle not only fits the best player available mold, but he can slide in as the combo guard of the future for a new era resetting to ground zero.

San Antonio Spurs — Reed Sheppard, Ball Handler, Kentucky

San Antonio continues to be linked to primary ball handlers throughout the pre-draft process, which makes sense because there’s no long-term answer at the position to feed generational superstar Victor Wembanyama. Whether it be Castle, Sheppard, Nikola Topic, Rob Dillinghham or even Devin Carter, it seems like a guarantee San Antonio selects one with a lottery pick.

In the second version of our top-six mock draft, Brooklyn trading for No. 3 overall changes San Antonio’s primary focus to the sharpshooting Sheppard. Whether it be on-ball or running off screens, Sheppard’s free-flowing style would fit perfectly alongside Wembanyama and San Antonio’s young core.

Sheppard reportedly ranks No. 1 on multiple team’s big boards due to his elite shooting efficiency and advanced metrics. Sheppard shot an absurd 52.1 percent on three-pointers at Kentucky, which resulted in an even more jaw-dropping 69.9 true shooting percentage.

If Sheppard were to land in the Spurs’ system, don’t be shocked if he thrives immediately as a Rookie of the Year contender.

Sheppard should be one of the Hornets’ top prospects, if he were to slip a few more spots to No. 6.

Detroit Pistons — Donovan Clingan, Big, Connecticut

Detroit finally has their President of Basketball Operations hire in place with former New Orleans Pelicans general manager Trajan Langdon, which will finally set into motion huge offseason moves on the horizon. First off, will GM Troy Weaver and head coach Monty Williams remain in the Motor City? Weaver appears unlikely, but Williams’ historic salary likely keeps him as the lead voice for at least another year.

For the draft, Detroit is dearth of win-now talent surrounding former No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham. Even though the Pistons already have Jalen Duren at center, Clingan would represent a win-now upgrade due to his elite defensive upside.

Scouts believe if Clingan can develop a consistent three-point stroke he could become a cross of Brook Lopez and Rudy Gobert, in terms of potential player comparisons. For the Pistons, Clingan can immediately step in as their starting center of the future forming a dynamite pick-and-roll duo with Cunningham.

Detroit will be one of the most interesting teams to monitor in the Association this offseason, because wholesale changes are expected.

Charlotte Hornets — Ron Holland, Wing, G League Ignite

The board broke in such an interesting way here for the Hornets. Potentially preferable options in Castle, Sheppard and Clingan went off the board in succession, so who could appease the Hornets’ desires to add a game-changer in this slot?

Charlotte would likely debate between all of the following prospects at No. 6 overall: Holland, Matas Buzelis, Dalton Knecht and maybe even Tidjane Salaun for a pure upside swing. In the end, Holland’s immediate impact on the defensive end gets the nod here.

Holland averaged 19.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.3 steals for the G League Ignite, which has now shut down their doors forever as a developmental program.

Within Charlotte’s system, Holland could thrive alongside LaMelo Ball and Brandon Miller as a slashing wing who takes the primary defensive assignment on the other end.

The biggest weakness for Holland, perimeter shooting, could be masked best in Charlotte next to perimeter-oriented high usage players in Ball and Miller.

Overall, it’s not the best draw for Charlotte, but a prospect like Holland is the ideal swing of the bat to hope for a star-level outcome. The former No. 1 recruit in the 2023 high school class could shine bright within Charlotte’s player development system under new head coach Charles Lee.

Stay tuned to Swarm & Sting for all the latest Hornets news as we approach an offseason filled with important decisions on tap.