FanPost

Top 2021 Draft Prospects - Best Options at Center, and all the Others

Zona Hoops posts this list of the top draft prospects for centers:

https://zonahoops.com/2021/05/03/ranking-the-top-10-centers-in-the-2021-nba-draft/

It's worth a read. With the 11th pick the Hornets probably only should consider these 4 from the list:

Evan Mobley is considered a top 3 pick, so unlikely to be available. The center from USC is particularly fluid and athletic able to almost match a point guard in terms of ball handling while being 7' tall. His strength and shooting abilities are not outstanding, but they are expected to develop. He's definitely a strong shot blocker and decent rebounder.

Kai Jones is considered a top 15 pick, so he may be on the board. He's also very fluid and deemed to be a defensive presence at 6-11. High energy, hit the boards and put back missed shots or take the lob are his primary offensive moves.

Alperen Sengun of Turkey is putting up great scoring stats, yet some question his shooting ability. Remember Mehmet Okur, somehow this guy fits the mold of Memo, and I'd give him serious consideration. He's ranked a top 20 prospect so it's a bit of a stretch to select him, but if you match need to quality, it's not too far out of the realm of possibility.

Isaiah Jackson of Kentucky is the human shot blocking eraser. He's a rim runner on offense. He's also ranked as a top 20 pick, but I'm not as enamored with him as I am with Sengun.

After these four Hukporti, of Germany, Queta, of Utah, Bassey, of Western Kentucky, Sharpe, of UNC, Mamukelashvili, of Seton Hall, and Garza, of Iowa, round out the top 10. The analyst doesn't see much difference between the 5th and 8th players on the list, but holds the top 4 and the bottom 2 fixed in his rankings.

I've read several mentions of these centers as options for the Hornets to consider, but realistically I'd only consider the top four meriting the top draft pick for the team.

I was a big fan of Mehmet Okur ("Memo") and think the similarities Sengun has make me favor him over Jones, and I doubt Mobley would fall to the 11th slot.

The question I'd pose to the readers is what do you know about the rookies on the Hornets that we already have? Cary and Richards are already on the roster. Did they stand out at all, or seem to progress? McDaniels and Washington give the team some flexibility with respect to playing small ball, but I think that a true big is needed.

Andre Drummond, in my opinion is the best free agent center on the market. Dre, as us Pistons' fans used to refer to him as, is a natural rebounder capable of pulling down 15 to 20 boards per game. He is a solid shot blocker too. Most of his offense is from underneath with a portion of put backs off of offensive rebounds.

Signing Drummond and drafting Sengun would solve the center openings for the Hornets. What else Richards and Cary have to offer would be gravy.

Is drafting Sengun at 11 the best value? There are some very good shooting guard options likely available too. I'd like to resolve whether we can or cannot sign Drummond before moving on from Sengun, yet you always have to prepare in the event he's off the board.

CBS Sports ranks Sengun their 24th best prospect in the draft. https://www.cbssports.com/nba/draft/prospect-rankings/shooting-guards/ I don't necessarily agree with that evaluation, but I do like some of the other position players a lot, that they mention.

Here's a quick snap shot of their 6th thru 19th ranked prospects:

Scottie Barnes likely will be off the board, but if not, he'd definitely be a strong consideration. After him I like Jaden Springer, Josh Giddey, and Cameron Thomas. Moses Moody has been mentioned here, but I'm not his biggest fan.

Why do I think a long shooting guard is of good value? I think it's our next weakest position. Terry Rozier is a free agent after next year, and in my opinion, he's too small to be the ideal shooting guard. Miles Bridges or Gordon Hayward could move to that role, but I think they are best suited as forwards. With the impending loss of Rozier, the shooting guard position I think needs another key addition.

I don't know much about the Martin Brothers, so please feel free to chime in, if you're more optimistic about them developing into top quality players to hold the position.

My starting unit options would look something like this:

PG Ball, SG Springer, SF Bridges, PF Washington, C Drummond

- or -

PG Ball, SG Bridges, SF Hayward, PF Washington, C Sengun

Hayward is assumed to not be traded given his hefty salary, and therefore remains either as a key 6th man or scoring small forward on the first unit. Does Bridges have the ability to be a good defender at SG? That is a big question, but if the coaching staff believe he can be then drafting Sengun makes more sense financially.

If I'm wrong and a deal can be made to deal Hayward I'm guessing that the entire draft is changed because the team would likely receive at least a second first round draft pick. In which case, perhaps Springer and Sengun could both be obtained, plus financial flexibility to sign Drummond is also increased.

If a deal did allow the drafting of both Spring and Sengun, then my line-up would be:

PG Ball, SG Springer, SF Bridges, PF Washington, C Sengun

Almost instantly the team is transformed into one of the youngest play-off contenders in the NBA!