Picks: 9, 24, 45
Needs: A starting power forward, better shooting. Starting PF Josh McRoberts opted out, and although Charlotte would probably like to keep him, he’s in line for a raise. Cody Zeller is waiting in the wings, so the Hornets might prefer just to elevate him rather than draft a replacement.
Charlotte made its mark last season defensively, but its offense stagnated at times due to spacing issues. Al Jefferson is an excellent pivot with the craftiness to operate in limited space, but everyone would flow better with another 3-point shooter on the floor.
Trade possibilities: It seems chic to say any team with multiple first rounders will trade one, but why? Teams don’t want too many good, young prospects on cheap contracts? The Hornets could make a trade – their two first-round picks gives them more possibilities – but there’d be nothing wrong with standing pat.
Predictions: No playoff team has drafted this high since 2010, when the Jazz picked Gordon Hayward at No. 9 (receiving the Knicks’ pick via the Suns). Thanks to landing a plush draft pick from the Pistons, Charlotte has real potential to make a major step this offseason.
Doug McDermott gets mentioned enough at No. 9 that I don’t believe it’s coincidence. It seems the Hornets will attempt to fill their shooting needs with their first pick, which means Nik Stauskas could also be a possibility.
With its second first rounder, Charlotte has reportedly promised center Mitch McGary – leaving the possibility the Bobcats draft two Michigan Wolverines (Stauskas and McGary).