How will the 2024 NBA Draft shake out in front of the Charlotte Hornets at No. 6?

Who could be on the board for Charlotte on draft night? It's time for a six-pick mock draft to see.
Mar 16, 2024; New York City, NY, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Stephon Castle (5) and center
Mar 16, 2024; New York City, NY, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Stephon Castle (5) and center / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Charlotte Hornets officially know where they will be selecting in the 2024 NBA Draft. After slipping three picks lower than expected, Charlotte now sits at No. 6 overall in what many describe as an unpredictable top of the class.

Charlotte was disappointed not to secure the top pick, but, in a year like this one, scouting departments will be of the upmost importance. In 2024, the Hornets could conceivably draft the top player, if they hit a grand slam in the pre-draft process gathering intel and trusting scouting instincts.

With the Atlanta Hawks receiving No. 1 overall, the widely-assumed expectation is they will select French big man Alex Sarr. However, this doesn’t impact the already murky futures of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray in Atlanta.

Outside of the Hawks, this draft really could go any which way beginning with the Wizards at No. 2.
Without further ado, let’s go ahead and dive into a quick mock draft exercise showcasing who exactly could be on the board for Charlotte next month.

No. 1. Atlanta Hawks — Alex Sarr, Big, France

As mentioned, the overwhelming thought for Atlanta at No. 1 is sticking here and selecting Sarr.
Early on, Sarr will likely play power forward alongside Onyeka Okongwu, but there’s real spacing concerns to be had. On the other end of the court, though, Sarr’s defensive versatility and rim protection potential should shine through.

In a class with no real consensus, Sarr at No. 1 might just be that.

No. 2. Washington Wizards — Zaccharie Risacher, Wing, France

Washington, similarly to Charlotte, has fully embraced their rebuilding efforts. Trading away Bradley Beal to the Phoenix Suns turned out to be a massive coup, realizing they now control Phoenix’s draft picks in 2026, 2028 and 2030.

Bilal Coulibaly appears to be a huge hit for Washington as their new young face of the franchise, but still extremely raw as an overall player. With the Wizards knowing they are at least two or three years away from seriously competing in the Eastern Conference again, they can afford to roll the dice on the polarizing Risacher.

One NBA executive recently told ESPN’s Jonathan Givony that Risacher’s defensive upside is similar to Jaden McDaniels. A lofty comparison, but adding in the perimeter shooting is what makes Risacher so intriguing.

No. 3. Houston Rockets — Reed Sheppard, Ball Handler, Kentucky

Will the Rockets actually make this pick? I seriously doubt it, especially with pressure from ownership to make a postseason push next season. Houston will be taking calls for No. 3 overall in order to secure a win-now player, but will that offer ever materialize?

If the Rockets shockingly decide to stick-and-pick at No. 3, Sheppard checks the most boxes for what they need immediately. Not only was Sheppard the best three-point shooter in college basketball, but his defensive effort and playmaking allow him an immediate rotation spot wherever he lands.

No. 4. San Antonio Spurs — Rob Dillingham, Ball Handler, Kentucky

It’s no secret that the Spurs must address their point guard woes this offseason. The question is, will it be via the draft or making an aggressive star-level trade to pair someone alongside Victor Wembanyama?

Knowing how patient the Spurs organization has historically been, let’s say they avoid the potential Trae Young sweepstakes altogether and select their own point guard at No. 4 overall.

Dillingham will be one of the Association’s smaller lead guards, but there’s no denying his potential as a scorer averaging 15.2 points in only 23.3 minutes.

If Dillingham becomes a consistent scorer and budding playmaker, he’s the perfect complimentary piece to put next to Wembanyama in San Antonio.

No. 5. Detroit Pistons — Matas Buzelis, Wing, G League Ignite

For the second consecutive year, the Pistons fell four spots in the draft lottery. Not only awful luck on Detroit’s side, but how will they go about finding a true game-changer at this spot?

With so many needs across the board to help out former No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham, Detroit can really go any direction they want. In this version, the athletic and raw Buzelis gets selected to the Motor City.

This time last year, Buzelis was viewed as the top prospect in the 2024 class. Following an inconsistent campaign with the G League Ignite, there’s a real chance he might even be on the board now for the Hornets.

One note as it relates to a potential fit between Buzelis and the Pistons is his agent. Michael Tellem, the son of Pistons Vice Chairman Arn Tellem, is Buzelis’ agent. Connect the dots elsewhere, if you want to try, but this type of fit might stay throughout the pre-draft process.

No. 6. Charlotte Hornets — Stephon Castle, Ball Handler, Connecticut

On the board at No. 6, Charlotte is in such an intriguing spot. With how the draft went in front of them during this version — Sarr, Risacher, Sheppard, Dillingham, Buzelis — there’s still multiple prospects who would be great picks for the Hornets.

If it indeed fell this way six weeks from now on draft night, here’s how I would stack the board, which could be subject to change with more evaluation:

Stephon Castle, Ball Handler, Connecticut
Donovan Clingan, Big, Connecticut
Nikola Topic, Ball Handler, Serbia
Ron Holland, Wing, G League Ignite

Prospects like Risacher, Sheppard and Buzelis would also be under serious consideration, if they slip down the board. So, as you can see, a lot of evaluating needs to be done for Charlotte between now and June 26.

Going off my own Hornets-centric fits, Castle is the runaway top choice here. Not only can Castle provide much-needed defensive versatility, but he can take playmaking pressure off LaMelo Ball as well.

The shooting questions are real for Castle, but, as a former five-star recruit, there’s some untapped upside with him as a Josh Hart-like archetype.

Stay tuned to Swarm & Sting as we continue to fully breakdown the Hornets’ options in the 2024 NBA Draft.