The Charlotte Hornets are looking to fill two needs sometime this summer. One, a formidable partner to put alongside Al Jefferson at power forward and option two, a reliable 3-and-D wing player. This tournament matchup between Kentucky's Julius Randle and Duke's Rodney Hood is certainly an intriguing one.
Who will move on to the second round? Read my daily draft chat with TheLotteryMafia.com's James Plowright and myself. Enjoy!
Evan: Thoughts on Julius Randle? To me, this screams a Steve Clifford pick.
His aggressiveness in the low-post and how he would partner alongside Al Jefferson would make a dangerous duo on offense for anyone in the East, once Randle fully develops.
I'd be ecstatic if he fell past the Lakers and made it to No. 9 -- it all just depends on if Charlotte would pass on Randle, though.
James: I think it's unlikely Randle drops to nine.
If we traded up with Boston or LA we may have a chance, but I don't see us sacrificing assets just to move up one or two spots. However, even if Randle did fall to us I would disagree with you Evan, I actually think he is a pretty poor fit for this roster. Plus Randle has quite a few holes in his game which don't sit very comfortably with me.
Randle has made a living off over powering his opponents. At the high school and college level Randle was physically dominant; this has gone some way to hiding a number of his drawbacks.
Randle is a long way off being an NBA caliber shooter. He isn't a shot blocker, he is turnover prone, and is completely reliant on his left hand and he plays below the rim.
How do I think this fits with the Hornets? Not that well, on offense.
I think him and Al playing together in the post would be a disaster, both would be calling for the ball and wanting it in the post. Obviously Al is leaps and bounds ahead of Randle -- it would make our spacing on offense even worse. Both would need the ball in the same areas to be effective.
The way Clifford wants to play, I think he likes a shooting power forward. The benefit of having a big who can spread the floor is the number one option. When the post offense is gone, you can go into pick and roll offense with Kemba. Randle wouldn't be suited to do this.
On the defensive end, I think he is pretty limited.
He isn't a bad man-on-man defender, but he has a poor understanding of team defense. He certainly wouldn't help cover any of Al's defensive drawbacks. I also feel now that the modern power forward spends more and more time outside of the paint.
Randle has a tendency to snooze on defense, get out of position and then end up biting on pump fakes, trying to make up the ground he lost. His lack of lateral quickness and agility on the perimeter would make Al and Randle one of the slowest front courts in the league.
Do you not feel Randle and Al would cancel each other out?
Evan: Honestly, no, not much. I think this could be similar to a David West and Roy Hibbert duo, but with obvious differences.
Jefferson has a perimeter game to about 15-feet, and I believe with coaching Randle could develop that, too.
As metrics tell us, rebounding translates well in the transition from college to the pros. And look, Randle was great on the boards at Kentucky, averaging over 10 per game.
His tendency of finishing through contact, too, is astounding -- 65 percent of the time, he made the basket with guys draped all over him.
Another plus: he draw fouls -- lots of them.
Want to match Miami and Indiana? Get a beast in the post like this. It might not make much sense on the surface, but perimeter shooting can be addressed at No. 24 or in free agency.
I think it's a no-brainer if he's here, you run up the card, unless a better fit is on the board, obviously.
James: I understand the David West comparison, but I don't think Randle will ever be the shooter or passer that West is.
One example I use when discussing Randle is Thomas Robinson. Now, I must point out that I think Randle will be a lot more successful than Robinson in the NBA, but I think they may run into similar hurdles. Neither Robinson nor Randle could really shoot and are not all that athletic for their position. Both made a living from overpowering players in college, using their strength to dominate the opposition.
You see, I don't see the likes of David West or Serge Ibaka letting Randle get the and-1s. Vets in the NBA have been lifting weights for the last 10-15 years; I don't see that aspect of Randle's game translating.
Oh, I think he will be able to rebound the hell out of the ball at the next level. I see him leading all rookies in that category. However, Charlotte ranked 7th in defensive rebounding last year (and No. 1 overall in defensive rebounding percentage - Ben). I don't see that as a major weakness we need to address.
I know Randle's 3.5 offensive rebounds per game are impressive, but we all know Clifford only lets Michael Kidd-Gilchrist go for offensive rebounds; he wants the rest to get back to stop the opposing team's transition offense.
I think Randle's knack for drawing fouls will stick with him; He has good footwork, speed and coordination. He puts a lot of defenders in positions they don't want to be in, so they end up fouling.
However, I do feel he will struggle with getting his shot blocked at the next level. If you watch his film, he throws up a lot of off-balance floaters that don't really go high enough to get above NBA-caliber shot blockers.
If he was there at nine, I would probably take him (unless Vonleh was on the board); and I would then look to trade him. I am sure there would be many teams willing to give up some good value for Randle where he may fit better on their roster.
I would certainly take Randle over Rodney Hood if they were both sitting there at nine, there is no question about that.
Evan: I do agree that if Randle is taken at No. 9, Charlotte could get a player like Paul Millsap for him. That definitely does sound intriguing.
We do seem to disagree a lot on Randle, but I think the gamble is certainly worth it to pair him alongside Jefferson to make a run in the next few years.
As I've said before, I'm a metrics/analytics guy and the numbers on Randle don't lie here. I see him being a day one, impact starter -- and I wouldn't mind that being in Charlotte either.
On the topic of Rodney Hood, how do you see him fitting in here with the Hornets?
Evan: I would urge you to read this very good article with lots of stats/numbers used against him. I don't want to repeat everything Dean Demakis writes, so I will leave it up to you to have a look. There is some pretty interesting stuff in there.
I do agree that he will be an impact starter from day one. I also like him as a prospect; I just don't think Charlotte is a good landing spot for him.
Hood would be a nice fit. He can play both the two and three, maybe even some four in certain matchups. Hood is a natural shooter and has solid length and athleticsm. However, I would put Stauskas, Young and Harris all ahead of him. I just see Hood as a little one dimensional. He can't really handle the ball much, struggles to create his own shot and isn't a great shooter of the dribble.
I do believe fans overestimate his defensive limitations.
Most will have tuned into the Duke game where he got benched against Mercer for his poor defense. However, if you were to watch over the entire year, you would see Hood was put on the opposition's best player a lot of the time. He guarded both 2's and 3's.
Overall, I would say he is a pretty average defender, with the tools to be a good one.
How do you rate him?
Evan: Hood is a very good shooter, especially from mid-range and beyond. From that aspect, he fits what the Hornets are looking for. His 42 percent from three-point range is nothing to scoff at.
The one thing I do worry about Hood, though, is what you said before: his defense. His inability to create turnovers is very worrisome for NBA teams. Hood's numbers, per 40 minutes, are pretty pathetic: 0.9 steals and 0.3 blocks.
When on the court, Duke thrived offensively with an offensive rating of 122.5 points produced per 100 possessions. His defensive rating, though, was 107 per 100 possessions.
With Charlotte looking for a wing that can not only shoot from the outside, but defend, too, I am worried about how Hood would fit Clifford's system.
How do you think Hood would fit in Charlotte and if his defensive liabilities would be that big of a deal alongside a guy like Kidd-Gilchrist?
James: Yep, Hood is pretty one dimensional. That is the word I use most when describing him.
However, I do wonder if Clifford has a knack for turning people into better defensive players than they should be. Just look at Chris Douglas-Roberts, post All-Star break, he suddenly became an above-average defender, same with Big Al. If Clifford could find some way to get through to Hood and make him more effective, he could prove to be a good pick.
After all, he has the length and athleticism to have a bigger impact on the defensive end.
He also averaged less than four rebounds a game, which is pretty terrible for someone who stands at 6'8", even if he did spend most of his time on the perimeter. Hood just really needs to find ways to influence the game other than just shooting.
Obviously, playing next to MKG would help Hood, but no more than it would help McDermott or Stauskas. Kidd-Gilchrist is a great help defender and would obviously take the tougher cover, but he can't guard two guys, he can only help so much.
It does appear the Hornets are interested in Hood, though, as they interviewed him in Chicago. However, I think he would be more of a candidate the No. 24 pick, which appears unlikely but not impossible.
Overall, is he good value at the No. 9 pick, with the other players who figure to be available? Not in my opinion, but if we were to end up in the mid/late teens, I think he would make a lot more sense.
Evan: Knowing how Rich Cho and Co. are into analytics, I can't see them selecting Hood.
Cody Zeller was a shocker last year with the talent on the board, but I can't see it happening here with Hood at No. 9. At least there was some analytical proof as to why they took Zeller -- it made a lot more sense after draft night.
Hood has the potential to become a good 3-and-D player, but the "D" part of the equation will have to be refined for the next level, big-time.
Overall, this is a solid matchup. I wonder how the At The Hive readers will vote on this one.
James, thanks again for joining me and we'll do this again tomorrow for another two seed versus seven seed contest!