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Malcolm Brogdon's four years at Virginia offers the Charlotte Hornets stability

Last year, the Hornets drafted Frank Kaminsky and another long-term college athlete is among their list of candidates this year. Should Charlotte take a chance on Virginia's Malcolm Brogdon?

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

If recent memory serves me correctly, the Charlotte Hornets have never seemed to have so many options to consider when looking at their draft selection.

In years past, the pick has been narrowed down to a handful of choices with each one having its supporters and detractors.

Thursday night, the Hornets will be faced with a long list of options if they stay in this year's draft.

A year ago, Charlotte chose four-year Wisconsin forward Frank Kaminsky with the ninth overall pick. In the Hornets last draft workout this summer, the team worked out Virginia guard Malcolm Brogdon.

Brogdon and the Hornets' brass also met last month at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. According to reports, both the meeting in Chicago and the recent workout went well. There is obvious interest between team and player.

Just this week a report surfaced about an issue with Brogdon's right hand. All teams reportedly know about the mysterious problem and it has likely destined Brogdon for the second round Thursday night.

The Hornets could trade back and grab Brogdon or Rich Cho could think highly enough of him to grab him at No. 22 despite the injury.

Selecting two highly experienced college players in two years fits the organization's win-now mode.


You have to start on defense when talking about Brogdon. He is a two-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year and the 2016 NABC Defensive Player of the Year. He was basically the toughest cover in college basketball this past season.

During his time in Charlottesville, Brogdon guarded 1-4 and he'll be able to guard 1-3 in the NBA, allowing his future team to use his defensive versatility to their advantage.

He will have an immediate impact on defense wherever he goes. He plays a fundamentally sound style of defense and takes basically zero risks on that end of the floor. Brogdon had a low steal rate during his college days because he doesn't reach, he doesn't try to jump passing lanes, and he plays his man straight-up. He's not the most dynamic athlete so he may be playing defense within himself, knowing he can't take some of the risks if he wants to accomplish his goal.

In Virginia's lone regular season match-up with Duke, Brandon Ingram was 0-of-4 against Brogdon and 10-of-18 against the Cavs' other defenders.

If defense isn't his strongest attribute, it's what he brings to the court that we can't truly measure. His work ethic is incredible. He improved his scoring average each season at Virginia.

Brogdon is the smartest player in this year's draft. An intelligent, high IQ basketball player that is a coach on the floor. He doesn't make mistakes, locates and takes advantage of mismatches and is a low-turnover ball-handler. He knows how to play the game and brings everything you want to the floor: leadership, toughness, effort, communication. Despite the presence of London Perrantes, Virginia often used Brogdon in a point guard role to get them into their sets.

Within the offense, he's capable of hitting catch-and-shoot opportunities, whether it's coming off of screens or standing in his spots. He's a phenomenal cutter without the ball and when he does have the ball, he's a willing and sound passer.


Brogdon has very few "weaknesses" in his game. He does lots of things well, just nothing extraordinary. The ones that do cause concern for teams and fans are his athleticism, his ceiling, his potential, a lot of things we see when we evaluate long-term college players.

He will be 23 years old when drafted and will turn 24 in December. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will turn 23 in September.

He's not a very explosive athlete (which I don't think means "not a good athlete"). He lacks the sort of blow by speed you want in the pick-and-roll heavy NBA. That explosion doesn't come in the form of verticality either as Brogdon often struggles to finish over length.

He's 6'5", 223 pounds, with a 6'11" wingspan. That's solid. But he doesn't have the elite athleticism to pair with it and he has more miles on him than NBA teams would like in the league's current atmosphere.

Brogdon hit 39 percent of his 3-pointers during his final season at Virginia but he has poor mechanics on his jump shot. He pushes the ball and it lacks arc so it makes you wonder what kind of 3-point shooter he will be at the NBA level.

The biggest issue for me is his inability to put the ball on the floor and create for himself. That is so incredibly important in the NBA today. What kind of effect offensively will he have when he goes up against better athletes? Being able to help yourself on offensive is a vital skill and Brogdon may always require help from others.


If the Hornets do make a pick Thursday night, there will be three ways to go with the pick and multiple choices that fall into each category.

They can choose someone who will help them next season. The Hornets really believe they have something with the group they had last year so adding another piece that can boost that rotation is intriguing.

There is the long-term project route, which would signify an investment in their new NBDL affiliate because that guy would be there for an extended amount of time. There's a group in the middle that could potentially contribute somewhere next season but probably won't be ready to fill a large role for a couple of years.

Brogdon would be like the Kaminsky pick a year ago, another nod in the win-now direction and an investment in the team's current core.

It is very unlikely that the Hornets retain Jeremy Lin and Brogdon is someone who could somewhat fill Lin's role from this past season. The Atlanta-native believes his skill set is suited for the point guard duties at the next level and he's shown enough ability to where I would have faith in him coming off the bench to initiate the offense.

The organization, and head coach Steve Clifford, would adore Brogdon. He's the exact kind of player they want. A versatile, two-way leader that is defense first, a pleasure in the locker room, the community and on the floor. He's been well-coached and is open to future development.

Brogdon is someone you could plug in right away and one of the safer options in the draft because of his experience. Every draft you seemingly find yourself debating smarts versus athleticism in regards to a group of prospects, often college veterans versus raw one-and-done stars. Are the best players the smartest players? If you believe in that, Brogdon is your choice.