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Projecting the caliber of player the Hornets can land with the No. 32 pick

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It can be as good as Montrezl Harrell, as bad as Carrick Felix, or somewhere in between.

Melbourne United v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images

The Charlotte Hornets have two second round picks in the 2020 draft - No. 32 and No. 56. In this article we’re going to take a look back over recent drafts and evaluate the caliber of players selected around No. 32. Next week I’ll do the same for players drafted around No. 56.

To gauge the type of player who might be available for the Hornets at No. 32 I pulled up the players selected at No. 31, No. 32, and No. 33 over a seven-year period between 2010 and 2016. I didn’t think it was helpful to look at players drafted between 2017 and 2019 because it normally takes a couple of years for young players to develop, and that’s especially true for second rounders.

I used my own subjective assessment to group players into one of the five categories below. Based on past drafts, the Hornets have a 19 percent chance at landing a “solid starter” and a 19 percent chance at drafting a “contributor.” Using the performance of players drafted between No. 31-33 from 2010-2016, Charlotte has a 38 percent chance of landing someone who can truly help the team.

Solid Starters (4 of 21 - 19%)

Montrezl Harrell, PF/C - While he doesn’t start for the Los Angeles Clippers, he’s one of the most important players on the team. This season he has averaged 18.6 points and 7.1 rebounds while shooting 58 percent from the field and playing tenacious defense.

Bojan Bogdanovich, SF - Originally drafted in 2011 he continued to play in Europe until his NBA debut in 2014. This season he is averaging 20.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.1 assists as a key starter for the Utah Jazz.

Joe Harris, SG - Early on Harris established himself as a deadly three-point shooter, but over the last two seasons he’s emerged as the starting shooting guard for the Brooklyn Nets. In 2018-19 he led the NBA in three point shooting at 47.4 percent. This season he has averaged 13.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.1 assists.

Hassan Whiteside, C - The seven-footer is a bit of a paradox. He puts up solid stats but he’s dogged by questions about his commitment and effort. He led the NBA in blocks in 2015-16 at 3.7 per game then led the league in rebounding the following season at 14.1. When the NBA paused this season he was having perhaps the best statistical year of his career by averaging 16.3 points, 14.2 rebounds, and a league-leading 3.1 blocks.

Contributors (4 of 21 - 19%)

Tomas Satoransky, PG - The fourth-year point guard has proven more than capable of directing an offense for 20-plus minutes per game. As the starting point guard for the Chicago Bulls this season he averaged 28.9 minutes, 9.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game.

Ivica Zubac, C - After being drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2016 and playing a limited role off the bench, Zubac was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers in February 2019 and has become a steady rotational player. This season he’s averaging 8.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in 18.1 minutes per game.

Cedi Osman, SF - After playing sparingly in his 2017-18 rookie season, Osman has started the last two seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers and has developed into a generally average wing. Over the last two years he has averaged a perfectly acceptable 12.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game.

Allen Crabbe, G/F - The 3-and-D specialist blossomed in his fifth season (2017-18) when he averaged 13.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.6 assists while shooting well from deep (37.8 percent). But Crabbe’s play has fallen off a cliff over the past two seasons and he’s now struggling to get regular minutes off the bench.

Bench Depth (3 of 21 - 14%)

Kyle Singler, SF - After a promising 2012-13 rookie season (8.8 points, 4.4 rebounds) and sophomore campaign in 2013-14 (9.6 points, 3.7 rebounds), Singler’s career began to decline. In all he played six seasons in the NBA with career averages of 6.5 points and 2.9 rebounds in 21.9 minutes per game. Not a bad career for a second round pick.

Alex Abrines, SG - Originally drafted in 2013, Abrines made his NBA debut in 2016. Through three seasons with a good Oklahoma City Thunder team he has played in 174 games (with 15 starts), averaging 16.0 minutes, 5.3 points, and 1.5 rebounds per game.

Cheick Diallo, PF/C - Since being drafted in 2016 he has appeared in 177 games with averages of 12.1 minutes, 5.3 points, and 4.2 rebounds while shooting 59.8 percent from the field.

Fringe Players (2 of 21 - 10%)

Jeffery Taylor, SF - The 2012 No. 31 pick by the Charlotte Bobcats showed some early promise by averaging 6.1 points in 77 games as a rookie followed by 8.0 points in 26 games the next season before tearing his Achilles. In 2014 he was given a 24-game suspension for domestic violence and was out of the league after three seasons. His promising start ended quickly.

K.J. McDaniels, G/F - After being drafted in 2014 he lasted three seasons in the NBA before bouncing around the G League and the Philippines. He has appeared in 148 NBA games with averages of 14.1 minutes, 5.3 points, and 2.2 rebounds per game. In February 2020 McDaniels was acquired by the Hornets G League affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm, and played in four games.

Didn’t (or Hasn’t) Panned Out (8 of 21 - 38%)

I’m not going to provide a full write-up for each of these players but you can scan the names of those whose careers either didn’t have or haven’t yet had an impact. These players are Deyonta Davis, Bernard James, Damien Inglis, Jordan Mickey, Dexter Pittman, Tibor Pleiss, Justin Harper, and Carrick Felix. Most of these guys have been out of the league for at least a couple of years.

Interestingly, the same number of players - eight of 21 - have been “busts” (for lack of a better term) as the number of solid starters and contributors combined.

If we were to select the “average” player drafted around No. 32 over this time period, it would probably be one of the five players listed as “bench depth” or “fringe players”. I’ll remove Alex Abrines since he marinated in Europe for a couple of years before coming to the NBA and I’ll eliminate K.J. McDaniels too because he’s back on a G League roster.

That leaves Kyle Singler, Cheick Diallo, and Jeffery Taylor (before his injury and off-court issues, of course) as the “average” type of player the Hornets can expect from the No. 32 pick. As fans we can and will hope for the next Montrezl Harrell, but we also know the selection could also produce the next Carrick Felix. Only time will tell how this pick pans out for the rebuilding Hornets.