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2021-22 Hornets Player Preview: Arnoldas Kulboka

Kulboka finally arrives in Charlotte after years of hopeful speculation

2021-22 Charlotte Hornets Media Day Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images

Arnoldas Kulboka was originally drafted by the Charlotte Hornets with the 55th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, and ever since, fans have been patiently awaiting his arrival in the Queen City. At times, we wondered if he would arrive at all, but wonder no more; Kulboka will be with the Hornets and Greensboro Swarm on a Two-Way contract in 2021-22.

Kulboka is a native of Marijampolė, Lithuania, the seventh-largest city in the nation, situated near the Lithuania-Poland border (this is the information people come to At The Hive for). As a youth basketball player, he was a member of the Žalgiris Kaunas organization until he signed a five-year contract with Brose Bamberg in 2015 (as a 17-year-old).

Apart from playing in the Las Vegas Summer League with the Hornets in 2018 and 2019, Kulboka has spent one season with Brose Bamberg of Germany’s BBL and two with Bilbao Basket of Spain’s Liga ACB since being drafted (he was on loan from Bamberg to Orlandina Basket of Italy’s Serie A2 when Charlotte took him). The best season of Kulboka’s professional career was his most recent with Bilbao, when he posted 9.2 points and 4 rebounds, shooting at a 42.5 percent clip from long-range in 22.4 minutes per contest alongside former NBAer John Jenkins.

In this past Summer League, he put up 8.2 points, 3 rebounds and 1.8 steals while sinking 35-percent of his 5 3-point attempts per game. As a 6-foot-10 forward, he doesn’t have many reliable skills outside of his perimeter shooting, but he isn’t a harmful offensive player when his shots aren’t falling, either. Kulboka is a capable passer within an offense that, at times, puts in noticeable effort to move and get open off-ball. He’s not a good athlete by NBA standards, but he’s a decent defender considering that disadvantage and he tries to use his length to obstruct passing lanes.

As a starter in Greensboro, Kulboka will have the ultimate green light to take tons of threes and the freedom to make mistakes on both ends while learning the Hornets’ system. As is the case with Scottie Lewis, if we see lots of Kulboka with Charlotte this season, that means multiple players have been injured, but head coach James Borrego will put him out on the court somewhere down the line.