Typically the Charlotte Hornets' front office is very good about keeping their intentions off the radar. Two year ago, no one was reporting how Rich Cho, the team's general manager, was visiting Indiana practices to watch Cody Zeller. Had this information popped up in the news, the reaction from fans might have been a tad more timid.
At this point in the draft process, teams are interviewing players at the NBA Draft Combine. In what really amounts to an informal 30-minute interview, front offices are able to get an initial read on a player before they begin to form their lists for pre-draft workouts.
Sources for what the Hornets have been doing are scarce, but the Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell has noted that the team has spoken with Stanley Johnson and Rashad Vaughn.
Johnson has become a popular mock draft target for the Hornets, as highlighted in last week's mock draft roundup, and the former Arizona product made headlines this week when he declared himself the "best player in the draft". Rather than coming off as cocky, Rick Bonnell reported he saw a very mature player in Johnson.
Another interesting note about Johnson is that he weighed in at 241 pounds with just seven percent body fat. Having apparently never worked out before he got to college, there's no doubting he has an NBA ready frame. Considering his all-around game, his size, and his work ethic, Johnson could be a great fit for the Hornets if the team ends up with the ninth or tenth selection.
A likely second round pick, Rashad Vaughn, one of the draft's youngest players, was also reported by Bonnell as having met with the team. Vaughn is a natural scorer with decent size and athleticism for the shooting guard position. For a team lacking many other scoring options, he scored well for UNLV, finishing the season averaging 18 points and making 38 percent of his 3-pointers.
Both picks represent something the Hornets clearly lack: skill. After drafting high-caliber athletes the last four years in Bismack Biyombo, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Cody Zeller, and Noah Vonleh, the front office may be focusing on higher-skilled players, something head coach Steve Clifford is never shy to talk about as a team need. Adding these type of players is crucial if the team plans to diversify away from an over reliance on solid, yet flawed, players like Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker.