Now that the 2020 NBA Draft is complete, it’s time to hand out immediate and definitive grades to all the teams. These grades are meaningless in the grand scheme of things, but it is interesting to see how unbiased observers view the draft process for the team. In this case, just about everyone has nothing but good things to say about the Charlotte Hornets. Let’s run through some. Keep in mind that most of these only account for the first round for some reason.
- ESPN draft experts were asked what team they would give an A to if they could only give one. Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress fame chose the Hornets.
The Charlotte Hornets. LaMelo Ball is the best prospect in the draft. Landing him with the No. 3 pick is a huge coup for a franchise that desperately needs some excitement. A lot of work will need to be done to surround him with the right players while Ball develops his frame, defense, jumper and on-court decision-making. But you can’t teach his creativity and star power.
- Michael Shapiro of Sports Illustrated gives the Hornets an A- grade, but he has nothing but good things to say.
Michael Jordan has suffered his fair share of whiffs early in the lottery. Will LaMelo Ball be the next? It’s unlikely. Ball brings a legitimate floor with his other-worldly court vision, and there’s All-NBA upside at play considering his range and size. Concerns about Ball’s defense feel a touch overblown. His shot selection will refine with time. There will be plenty of streaky stretches as a rookie, but Ball has the talent to finish as the clear top pick in retrospect.
- Scott Gleeson of USA Today looked at the draft in its entirety and gave the Hornets his top overall grade and only A+.
Owner Michael Jordan couldn’t botch this one. With the Timberwolves and Warriors picking conservatively with Anthony Edwards and James Wiseman at Nos. 1 and 2, that left the Hornets with Ball, a 6-7 point guard who can immediately bring star power. The Hornets also capitalized on Duke big man Vernon Carey Jr. falling with the 32nd pick. They also nabbed point guard Grant Riller, another borderline first-round talent, with the 56th pick.
- Greg Joyce of The New York Post also took the whole draft into account and gave the Hornets an A.
Ball could have gone No. 1 but the Hornets gladly scooped him up at No. 3. The Hornets got a legit playmaker — even if his dad once said he could beat their principal owner, Michael Jordan, in one-on-one — whose ceiling could be special. They followed up by adding some young size and another scorer in Riller.
- Jordan Greer of Sporting News gave the Hornets an A for their selection of LaMelo Ball.
Charlotte may have found a franchise cornerstone at No. 3. While Ball is far from a perfect prospect — defense and shooting consistency are obvious concerns — he is a top-tier playmaker and possesses the biggest upside in the draft.
The Hornets needed someone to give them an identity and a level of excitement. Ball does that.
- Ricky O’Donnell of the mothership SB Nation gave the Hornets an A grade for their selection of Ball as well.
LaMelo Ball is the top player on our draft board. As a 6’7 point guard, Ball has elite ball handling ability and incredible vision as a passer. Ball’s creation ability is one of the strongest individual skills in the draft, and fills a major need for Charlotte. His oversized playmaking ability should pair well with Devonte Graham’s off the dribble shooting. The Hornets still have a lot of work to do in their rebuild, but they seem to have found a nice player in the first round last year in power forward P.J. Washington. Ball, who is one of the youngest players in this draft, has as much long-term upside as any player available. He will bring some star-power to a franchise that has been sorely missing it.
- One more. Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer also gives the Hornets’ selection of Ball an A.
LaMelo instantly gives the Hornets an identity, something they have never really had since the franchise’s revival. There’s no guarantee that he will pan out, but he has more upside than anyone they have ever drafted. He’s a 6-foot-7 point guard with elite passing ability who will be a triple-double threat from Day 1. The question is whether he will ever be a threat to make 3s, instead of just take them. Ball will likely be an inefficient offensive player for the first few years of his career, but there’s no one in Charlotte whom he’ll be taking shots away from. He will make everyone around him better. And people outside of North Carolina (and inside too) will actually watch them play.
I legitimately can’t find a draft grader that gives the Hornets anything but an A. I’d have to agree. The Hornets knocked this draft out of the park, and I’m super excited to see what’s in store this season.
What grade do you give the Hornets for their 2020 draft?
This poll is closed