FanPost

Definitive Amateur Guide to the Hornets' 2014 NBA Draft

Being a Bobcats fan has recently led to a huge increase in the amount of college ball I watch. You can guess why. We’ve sucked in a pretty intense way and it helps to watch and get excited about the young guys we might get our hands on as a result of our efforts (or lack thereof). Not to mention it can be pretty cathartic to watch organized defenses and ball movement after being fed a steady diet of Byron Mullens bombs.

Tuning in every time a potential future Bobcat Hornets takes the floor has become a bit of an obsession, and this year has actually been the toughest year so far to keep track of it all. Over the past couple years, I could narrow my focus down to the top few guys, since we’ve been guaranteed top-5 picks due to the aforementioned suckiness. This year however, we are likely to land a pick in the 9-11 range and a pick in the mid-20s, so that puts virtually everyone outside of the top 5 guys in play for us.

I’ve done my best to watch all these guys as much as possible and just wanted to share my observations on each. These observations will certainly be more opinionated and contain fewer hard-hitting stats than your typical scouting report, and I also wanted to look at each guy’s fit with the Bobcats both short-term and long-term.

Apologies in advance if this steps on the toes of any other posts, I just wanted to share my perspective.

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DETROIT PICK (9, 10, or 11)

(Not considering Embiid, Wiggins, Parker, Randle, Exum, or Smart. Smart or Randle could fall, but it’s doubtful. Also not considering any foreigners – Saric, Hezonja, etc.—because I haven’t seen them play and because foreigners are the worst)

Aaron Gordon (6-8, 210, 18 yrs old) Arizona

He gets all the Blake Griffin comparisons due to his size, appearance, and freakish athleticism. That’s fair, but there are major differences. Gordon will never be the scorer that Blake is. He lacks the same fluidity and set of moves that Blake has (though like Blake, his ballhandling is quite good), and is jump shot is not quite as ugly as MKG’s, but it’s equally ineffective. Unlike Blake however, Gordon has a sterling defensive reputation, leveraging is motor and athleticism to shut guys down. He’s also a very good rebounder. He has the athleticism to play/guard the 3, but he’ll have to be a slightly undersized 4 in the NBA due to his lack of shooting. Gordon is extremely talented and a defensive forward tandem of Gordon/MKG would be extremely menacing and entertaining to watch. But do we really need another guy that can’t shoot, especially playing next to Big Al for the next couple years? He would probably be BPA if he dropped to us, but the fit is questionable.

Fit: C-

Value at this Pick: A

James Young (6-7, 200, 18 yrs old) Kentucky

Young is a legit scorer and he has a nice stroke. His 3P% has been a little disappointing, but you can definitely see he has the potential to be a sharpshooter. He also plays great defense and gets after the boards. His handles aren’t great, but they compare favorably to Hendo’s, and he has no issue getting into the paint. He’s a good athlete, not a great one. If he were to become a long-term starter with the Hornets, it would probably be as a 2-guard, even though he’s more of a natural 3. He could have an issue with some of the really quick 2s, but aside from that he shouldn’t have any issue playing the position. Young will develop into a starter, and his shooting/scoring would be a really nice complement to MKG. If his 3s start falling more frequently (not having the terrible Harrison twins setting him up should help), he could be a borderline All-Star guy and a great fit.

Fit: A

Value at this Pick: B+

Doug McDermott (6-8, 210, 22 yrs old) Creighton

I just started watching him (takes a while to come around on a lumpy white guy), and man can he fill it up. The Korver comparisons are about more than just school and skin-tone; he’s that good a shooter, but also a significantly better all-around scorer. HE IS NOT ADAM MORRISION. They were both prolific college scorers, but Morrison wasn’t a great shooter. Dougie’s True Shooting Percentage is other-worldly. Offensively, the Bobcats could desperately use what he delivers. Unfortunately there is no basketball equivalent of the DH rule. He has to guard somebody, but he can’t guard anybody. He has no shot of staying in front of NBA wings, so he has to play the 4 defensively. But he’s a little undersized for that and he’s blocked a total of 14 shots (14!!!) in his college career. If he’s paired next to a great defensive center than you can negate this a little and reap the benefits on offense. Al Jefferson is not a great defensive center. Can you imagine those two side by side in the paint???? Good God. If you want to bench the idea of him starting and just use him as an offensive juggernaut off the bench, that could actually work out splendidly, playing alongside Bismack a good bit. But this draft is good enough that you want to draft an eventual starter in the lottery. His offense would be awesome to have but he’s not a great fit with our roster at least for a couple more years.

Fit: C

Value at this Pick: B

Rodney Hood (6-8, 190, 21 yrs old) Duke

It’s not hard to see Hood fitting in with the Hornets’ roster. He’s a 2-guard with the ability to develop into a legit starter, and he’s got a really smooth stroke. Plus he’d be the 3rd Duke player on the team, and the further we drift away from the MJ cronyism thing the better. Offensively he’d be a great fit long-term, playing the 2 and complementing MKG with his shooting. He’s not a great athlete or ball-handler, but he’s smooth and gets where he needs to go. Plus, with that height he should never have issue getting his shot off. He won’t be an All-Star but he can eventually settle in at an efficient 15-18 PPG. The reason I’m a little luke-warm on him is a lack of intensity. It’s not that he doesn’t care, he just doesn’t have that same motor and drive that Kemba and MKG possess. Because of this (and a lack of strength) he isn’t much of a defender or rebounder, despite his size. Solid fit but I feel like he’ll leave us wanting more.

Fit: A-

Value at this Pick: B

Gary Harris (6-4, 210, 19 yrs old) Michigan St

This is the player I see mocked to the Bobcats the most, and it makes sense. He’s a 2-guard who can shoot/score/defend. He doesn’t have great size or athleticism, but he still plays great defense. That’s why I prefer him over Hood. Why have one great wing defender (MKG) if they can just exploit the other? Harris is also a superior ball-handler to Hood and Young, and of course Hendo. This is HUGE because it would allow him to share some of the play-making responsibilities with Kemba and free him up to play more off-ball, a privilege Hendo’s poor ball-handling does not afford. The only issue with Harris is he has a bit of Bradley Beal Syndrome. He appears to have a great jumper in college but you wonder why it doesn’t go in more. Beal has eased those concerns in the NBA, and if Harris can do the same he would be a very solid starting 2 and an excellent fit with the Bobcats.

Fit: A+

Value at this Pick: B+

Noah Vonleh (6-10, 240, 18 yrs old) Indiana

There has been buzz about Vonleh eventually usurping Randle’s pole position at power forward, and I buy it. He has a 7’4" wingspan, elite athleticism, and he plays hard. He is going to be a dynamite defender and rebounder, no question. So the question is the offense. He is pretty raw, as his hands and post-up game need work, but he has ample potential to improve. He is comfortable handling the ball, and he can shoot!!! He’s actually over 40% on his threes this year and has a nice stroke. He just needs to refine the other parts of his offense. This length, defensive prowess, and shooting ability make him a PERFECT complement to Jefferson in the short-term, and a guaranteed fit next to just about anyone long-term. Obviously, the question is what about Zeller? Those two will never really be able to start in the same frontcourt unless one bulks up significantly to play center. However, if you view Zeller as a sixth man long term (or worse), than you should be dying to have Vonleh. He has legit All-Star power forward potential and will be the BPA if he drops to us. Given how his stock is rising, I kind of doubt that happens. But if it does, we should pounce.

Fit: B (A+ if you’re not a Zeller-lover)

Value at this Pick: A+

Tyler Ennis (6-2, 180, 19 yrs old) Syracuse

I like him and he will probably go top 10 because of how exceptionally well he has played. He is super-efficient and poised. He will never be an All-Star because he lacks elite athleticism and there are so many good point guards, but he can step right in and run an NBA team well. I have actually seen him mocked to us on occasion, since Kemba isn’t a pure point guard. Nevertheless, I don’t see any way we draft him. Like it or not, Kemba is a leader on this young team and a good player, and they will not undermine him by drafting another guy in the lottery. An astute reader might point out that this team has pulled that exact move twice in its brief history (Augustin then Kemba). Nevertheless, I don’t see it happening again. I do think the team would love to add a SG who can help share playmaking duties, but that’s a different matter.

Fit: D

Value at this Pick: B+

Nik Stauskas (6-6, 190, 20 yrs old) Michigan

Stauskas has crept into lottery consideration because he has proven to be more than a spot-up shooter. He isn’t a lock-down defender, but he’s not terrible. He isn’t an outstanding athlete, but he can run and elevate a little. The fact that he’s passable in those other areas makes him playable, and if he plays he will shoot. He’s lights out. He plays very similar to vintage Rip Hamilton with deeper range. Somebody that will zoom around screens and knockdown shots all game long. Obviously, the Bobcats could use that. He won’t reach quite the scoring heights that Hamilton did because he isn’t quite as quick, but the impact could be similar. He’s a great fit, but I doubt we take him over one of the other SGs that will be available.

Fit: A

Value at this Pick: C-

So, those are the guys we could possibly take with the Detroit pick. My personal rankings, if they were all available…

1. Noah Vonleh

2. Gary Harris

3. James Young

4. Aaron Gordon

5. Rodney Hood

6. Nik Stauskas

7. Doug McDermott

8. Tyler Ennis

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PORTLAND PICK (Mid-20s)

I’ll keep these short and sweet since it’s much harder to predict who will even come out or be available at this point.

Chris Walker (6-9, 190, 19 yrs old) Florida

He only started playing a couple weeks ago because of academic issues. All he’s doing is coming off the bench and throwing down a couple alley-oops and a crazy block every game. He’s intriguing because he’s huge for a 3, incredibly athletic, and not a bad shooter. He should really go back to school to develop and show off his stuff, because he would almost certainly be a top 10 guy next year. He’s not a great fit and he’s got a ways to go, but if he dropped to mid-20s we’d have to consider it just on potential alone.

Fit: C

Value at this Pick: A-

Willie Cauley-Stein (7-0, 220, 20 yrs old) Kentucky

Not sure I’ve ever seen someone as inconsistent. He vacillates between Mavericks Tyson Chandler and Bobcats Tyson Chandler on a game-to-game basis. His only real offense is lob-dunks and put-backs but he can be an incredible rebounder/defender when he takes his head out of his butt. Would be a bit redundant with Bismack. Probably won’t drop this far anyway based on potential

Fit: D

Value at this Pick: A

Zach Lavine (6-5, 180, 18 yrs old) UCLA

If you have never Youtubed Zach Lavine, do so immediately. His dunking ability is on par with anyone I’ve ever seen. In particular, I’ve never seen someone go between the legs more effortlessly. He’s more than just an And1 or Globetrotters prospect though. He has an outstanding skillset to go with that athleticism. He can nail deep jumpers with ease, he has sick handles, and is a good enough passer that he can play the point. On potential alone, he belongs with the Top 5 guys in the draft. If he realizes his potential, he will be THE MOST exciting player to come out of this draft. The problem is a lack of strength and a still-developing basketball IQ. He is the sixth-man for UCLA, and he started off the year red-hot, scoring around 15PPG and showing off all his skills. He vaulted himself into Top 10 consideration at that point. However, as the season has worn on, his percentages have dropped and he’s struggling to reach double-figures most games. He can get pushed around, and he struggles with when to be aggressive, passing up good shots but taking bad ones. If he finishes the season strong, he could be under consideration with our Detroit pick. If he continues to flounder, he could fall to the Portland pick. He would fit perfectly with the Bobcats as a 2 who can shoot AND share point guard duties with Kemba. If our coaching staff thinks they can mold him into half the player he could become, they need take him.

Fit: A+

Value at this Pick: A

PJ Hairston (6-5, 220, 21 yrs old) UNC/D-League

I don’t have to tell you guys about him. He can shoot, we need shooting. He has character issues, we currently have pretty much none of those with Tyrus/Gordon gone. He would be a good shooter to have coming off the bench with the chance of becoming a low-end starter

Fit: B+

Value at this Pick: B

Sam Dekker (6-8, 215, 19 yrs old) Wisconson

I try to avoid watching Wisconson, because they play a brutally boring style. Dekker deserves mention though. He would be a nice complement to MKG off the bench at the 3, because he can shoot/score efficiently. He is actually a nice athlete, but like Cody he needs to put some meat on his bones to be a decent defender.

Fit: B+

Value at this Pick: B-

Montrezl Harrell (6-8, 235, 20 yrs old) Louisville

He’s long and tough and super athletic. He plays really hard. He isn’t totally raw offensively but he doesn’t have a ton of potential on that end. He could be a really nice back-up to Cody(?) long-term, but will never be a legit starter.

Fit: B

Value at this Pick: B-

Adreian Payne (6-10, 225, 23 yrs old) Michigan St

He’s 23, so there isn’t a ton of upside. But he has developed legit stretch-4 credentials, he’s athletic and he has a mean streak. He’d be a nice complement when playing next to Big Al, and in the future it would be nice to rotate him in/and out with Zeller, because they both play a very similar offensive role. I really enjoy watching him and he could contribute immediately.

Fit: B+

Value at this Pick: B+

Wayne Selden (6-5, 230, 19 yrs old) Kansas

Probably my favorite option of the guys that have better than a 50% chance of still being available at this pick. He has a rock-solid body, nice athleticism, and a picture-perfect jumper. His stock has fallen off because he has disappeared amidst all the other options at Kansas, but he’s shown flashes of being an explosive scorer. If he ups the effort a little on defense and gets the chance to shoot more in the NBA, I actually see a chance of him being a starting-caliber 2 guard at some point. If you can get that this late in the draft, that’s a pretty solid return.

Fit: A

Value at this Pick: B

TJ Warren (6-8, 233, 20 yrs old) NC State

Another guy that should be familiar to many. He is a very gifted scorer, but gets his points without a great perimeter shot. In the NBA when his size becomes less of an advantage, I think he’ll really struggle. We could use the scoring, but if we are going to draft a back-up SF it would be nice to grab one that can knock down 3s, which would better complement MKG.

Fit: C-

Value at this Pick: C-

Kyle Anderson (6-9, 235, 20 yrs old) UCLA

An extremely unique, interesting player. He’s abysmal defensively because he’s far too weak to guard 4s and far too slow to guard 1s and 2s. His only chance is if you hide him on a bad 3. We’ve seen Clifford mask Jefferson’s deficiencies to some degree, so perhaps he could work similar magic. He is a prospect because he is an offensive savant. He’s like an incredibly slow-moving Magic Johnson. His court vision and ability to drop dimes is incredible and he’s a solid rebounder. He also leverages his touch and size to score points without the benefit of a great jumper or any form of quickness or explosiveness. It’s hard to assess his fit (he both does and doesn’t fit any team) but he could be a guy that commands a second-unit as a point forward.

Fit: ???

Value at this Pick: B

Spencer Dinwiddie (6-6, 200, 20 yrs old) Colorado

Deserves mention because he’s a scoring combo guard that can light it up off the bench. He was having a great year but got hurt, so now his stock his slipping into second-round territory. His athleticism is pretty limited but we could use the scoring punch he would provide. We have a history with unathletic combo guards from Colorado though (see: Higgins, Cory), and it’s not a good one.

Fit: B

Value at this Pick: D

Glenn Robinson III (6-6, 210, 20 yrs old) Michigan

He might have slipped into the lottery last year. He’s super athletic and has the pedigree. He hasn’t developed at all offensively though, so he’s dropping. He doesn’t complement MKG at all (he’s also an athletic 3 that can’t shoot), and he’s older, smaller, not as good of a rebounder/defender. Hope we pass.

Fit: D

Value at this Pick: C

Aaron/Andrew Harrison (6-5, 210, 19 yrs old) Kentucky

I just want to take this opportunity to say what a displeasure it has been to watch these two play. I have watched many Kentucky games because they are always on TV and have tons of NBA talent. These two do not qualify as such. They are shockingly unathletic and their shooting ranges from mediocre to terrible. Andrew (the 2-guard) at least shows glimpses of being a competent scorer. Aaron (the supposed point guard) demonstrates zero leadership or understanding of how to run an offense. How they were ever so highly regarded is beyond me. Being 6’5" guards, I’m sure they dominated in high school and perhaps scouts fell in love with the novelty of two twins dominating and feeding off each other. I don’t know. All I know is they’re the reason Kentucky has been so disappointing and Coach Cal is probably hoping they jump ship to get drafted in the 2nd round this year.

Fit: F-

Value at this Pick: F-

Marshall Henderson (6-2, 177, 23 yrs old) Mississippi

The Bobcats need shooting, and………..just kidding, but wouldn’t that be interesting.

My rankings for Portland pick, if they were all available…

Zach Lavine

Adreian Payne

Wayne Selden

Chris Walker

Sam Dekker

Willie Cauley-Stein

PJ Hairston

Kyle Anderson

Montrezl Harrell

TJ Warren

Spencer Dinwiddie

Glenn Robinson III

Harrison Twins

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There you have it. Those are my observations and opinions from watching all of these guys extensively thus far. Obviously plenty could still change with injuries and tournament performances. However it shakes out, I think it’s a pretty safe bet that the Hornets are going to be able to add two more nice pieces to their young core. Along with this year's awesome playoff-bound team, that's just one more thing to get excited about! Now let's cross our fingers that the Pistons stay just decent enough to give us that chance.

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