The Charlotte Hornets have a long history of drafting highly touted prospects out of blue blood programs. The top of the draft doesn’t have any such prospects, but there are a few players slated to go in the second round that may pique Mitch Kupchak’s interest. One such player is Kentuck combo guard Immanuel Quickley.
Weight: 190 pounds
Strengths: Shooting stroke, on ball defense
Quickley is a knock down shooter. In his sophomore season at Kentucky, he hit 42.3% of his 3-pointers on 4.8 attempts per game. He got especially hot in conference play, hitting 48.0% on 5.3 attempts per game. His release is quick and clean, and he was 92% free throw shooter as a sophomore. He’s also extremely adept at creating open looks for himself without the ball. He finds openings in the defense and relocates to create passing lanes for his teammates.
He’s able to use his off ball movement and the threat of his outside shot to create driving lanes for himself. He has a good feel for when to catch and attack, pump fake, or rise up into a shot. When he drives, he leans heavily on his very adequate floater game to score around the basket.
Quickley is an engaged defender that Kentucky frequently deployed against opponents’ most dangerous ball handlers. He should be able to guard ones and twos at the NBA level, and maybe some threes in small ball situations thanks to his length. He’s not the most athletic player, but he’s positionally aware and plays with good technique and effort.
Question marks: Point guard skills, scoring inside the arc, athleticism
Quickley was hailed as a true point guard coming out of high school, but that never came to fruition at Kentucky. He averaged just 1.9 assists to 1.6 turnovers per game and spent most of his time off the ball under John Calipari. Some of this could be the result of the system, as we’re seeing a growing number of Kentucky players enter the NBA and show skills that were never apparent while they were in college. This could be another one of those cases, but it’s not something you can rely on.
As alluded to above, Quickley is very reliant on his floater when he attacks the basket. He lacks pop and struggles to get all the way to the rim. He’s very linear once he gets going, but doesn’t have the burst to beat people all the way to the basket in a straight line. He shot just 40.9% from inside the arc as a sophomore, and that number dropped below 40% in conference play.
Quickley profiles somewhat similarly to the version of Terry Rozier the Hornets got last season, just without the NBA pedigree. He has combo guard size and great outside shooting ability, but there are questions about how efficiently he can run an offense as a lead guard. But if the play making Quickley was known for in high school reappears in the NBA, he could be a steal in the second round.