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Two international second round prospects for the Hornets

As the draft nears, a look at two internationally born prospects the Hornets could consider with the 55th pick.

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Villanova vs Kansas Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 NBA Draft is nearly here and speculation is ramping up. The Hornets currently 55th pick, and with the amount of non-lottery players that have worked out for the team, there’s reason to believe they’ll use it. While there is speculation that the Hornets have made a promise to draft Kostas Antetokounmpo if he is still available, he is far from the only international prospect available. Here are two others the team could consider:

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk

Svi has one of the more interesting early stories heading into the 2018 NBA draft. He joined Kansas at just 16 years old. He just turned 21, making him one of the youngest four-year players in the draft.

At 6’8”, Mykhailiuk is exceptionally tall for a shooting guard, even with the intertwining players in the NBA today. His height allows him to shoot over 90 percent of guards, both collegiate and professional. This allows Svi to have a clearer trajectory into the placement of the basketball after his shot, which is a great advantage to have. And shooting is his most intriguing attribute. This past season, he shot an impressive 45 percent from 3 while attempting six per game. This consistency can certainly translate into the NBA from the onset.

However, he has issues with athleticism and length, as his wingspan is smaller than his height. These are major red flags to teams as he will most likely be a liability on the defensive end at least early on in his career.

This brings up the real question: what kind of player will Svi play in the NBA? He is essentially as of now a one-trick pony: a shooter. His ceiling will depend on whether he can develop other parts of his game.

Isaac Bonga

Bonga is a hit or miss prospect. He has a lot of potential, however, there is still so much uncertainty into what he can become in the NBA.

Bonga has had the eye of hardcore NBA fans for a while because of his offensive potential. At 6’9”, 205 pounds and with a near seven foot wingspan, Bonga already has the body as a modern NBA small forward. However, his skill set goes far beyond that of a normal small forward. His has shown an excellent skill of facilitating the offense Whether that’s in transition, off of screens, or passing to the cutter in the halfcourt, Bonga has found ways to become one of the main distributors of the ball for his teams overseas. As such, there have been times this year that Bonga would play point guard for his teams. This is very intriguing there are currently no 6’8” plus point guards right now in the NBA.

Besides passing, Bonga has shown the ability to be a reliable outside and inside scorer. On the perimeter, he shot a modest 30 percent from beyond the arc. Mind you, he shot on the international 3-point line, which is three inches closer to the basket than the college line.

In terms of scoring inside, Bonga has an arsenal of moves, from floaters to pull-up jumpers. That said, his jump shot may be a concern in the pros. As you watch the highlight tape below, Bonga barely jumps in the air as he releases the ball. Some coaches may want to modify his jump in order to maximize his potential of not getting blocked, but we’ll see as time goes on.

The main two downfalls for Bonga are his size and his proneness to turnover. At just 180 pounds, he he will most likely get bullied in the paint and get affected by screens more than normal. Adding weight is important moving forward, and at just 19, that’s a reasonable feat to accomplish. Regarding turnovers Bonga’s assist-to-turnover ratio was nearly 1-to-1 last season. If he wants to become a point guard in the NBA, then he must improve on this end.

What I see in Isaac Bonga is a better defensive version of Nicolas Batum. Both exhilarate the unique passing ability that most European players bring to the NBA, and both have the versatility to guard and play efficiently at point guard through small forward. I believe that Bonga has the most potential to become a better defender than Batum is because of his young age.


Out of these two international players, who should the Hornets choose?

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk
    (26 votes)
  • 46%
    Isaac Bonga
    (23 votes)
49 votes total Vote Now