A second first round pick can be an advantageous asset to have. And for a team like the Hornets, this leaves them many options since it takes pressure off of them to address as many needs as possible with the ninth pick. We know the Hornets have several needs including shooting/scoring and depth in the front and backcourts. Now, whether they actually use the pick or trade it to address those needs is a different story, but for simplicity's sake, let's pretend they keep it.
For the last couple of seasons the Hornets have looked to journeymen point guards to run the second unit. Ramon Sessions, Luke Ridnour, Jannero Pargo and others have been called upon in the past to get the job done, but wound up leaving much to be desired.
One option may be Tyler Ennis from Syracuse. Ennis has decent size and succeeded at drawing defenders into the lane to free up teammates for open looks. The problem with Ennis for Charlotte is that he does little to help their shooting and that people are predicting him to go anywhere from 13-25, so he may be unavailable.
Then there's Elfrid Payton out of Lafayette, who averaged 19 points and nearly six assists per game, but also does little to improve their three point shooting, too -- which is becoming more and more important in today's NBA. Finally, there's Missouri's Jordan Clarkson. Clarkson has good size and has the quickness to be useful to Steve Clifford defensively. While Clarkson possesses a strong handle and can create well for himself, he's still learning the point guard position at the age of 22. But you have to remember you're not going to find perfect players in the late first round.
If the Hornets are concerned about Jeff Taylor as the answer off the bench in the longterm, they may look to get some value at the shooting guard here as well.
The big name everyone suggests for the Hornets is PJ Hairston. Hairston enters the draft out of the D-League after leaving the University of North Carolina earlier this year and did well against the superior athletes of the NBDL. At 6'5" and 230 pounds he has legitimate size and a shooting proficiency to help the Charlotte bench next season. And his capability as a defender may also grab the attention of Clifford's staff. Other good options here could be UCLA's Zach LaVine and Washington's CJ Wilcox since they were terrific shooters in college.
Yet, should the Hornets choose to look to fortify the frontcourt, they could have some enticing options. In a perfect world, Michigan State's Adreian Payne slides to 24, but there's an outside shot of that happening. Payne is a capable scorer and rebounder who is also able to stretch the floor from beyond the arc. If he slides into the 20's, the Hornets may want to get aggressive in acquiring Payne because of his skill set. In failure of landing Payne, Charlotte could look to Wichita State's Cleanthony Early. Though not as thrilling as the idea of Payne falling this far, Early is the epitome of what you're looking for at this position. He's efficient, though not spectacularly, and does not possess great size, but if he's coming off of the bench behind Josh McRoberts, who cares, right? Again, we're not looking for perfect players here; just guys who improve a weakness.
Of course, a major determinant of what Charlotte will do with the 24th pick will be dependent on what they do with the ninth. If they're able to address a couple of those weaknesses early, they can hunt for need late. Then there's always the possibility of packaging the pick to do something, but that's a conversation for another time or the comments. If the Hornets are able to connect on both of their picks in this years draft, we could witness back-to-back playoff appearances, which would make all of us happy.