Grading the 2014 NBA Draft Class for the Charlotte Hornets
1st Round, 9th Overall- Noah Vonleh, PF, Indiana (A+)
The Charlotte Hornets must’ve been doing cartwheels in their war room when the Sacramento Kings opted to take Nik Stauskas, leaving the Hornets to take the highly-touted Vonleh. Vonleh was regarded by many as top five prospect in this class and, as recently as the morning of the draft, was being forecast to potentially go third to Philadelphia. Some concerns about his motor and his offensive proficiency apparently scared teams off, but Vonleh is still supremely talented and is an absolute steal for Charlotte at No. 9. While the Hornets were likely looking for a scoring wing, which they would obtain later, Vonleh was simply too good to pass up at that point in the draft. He will join former Indiana teammate Cody Zeller, Charlotte’s first-round pick last season, and Al Jefferson to form a dynamic frontcourt for the suddenly upstart Hornets. Vonleh already has a NBA-ready body and his length and athleticism make him difficult to handle on both sides of the court. With Charlotte lacking a true two-way big man, this pick is almost too good to be true for them.
1st Round, 26th Overall- PJ Hairston, SG, D-League (B+)
With their second pick in the first round, which they acquired from the Portland Trail Blazers in the Gerald Wallace trade a few years back, the Hornets grabbed their scoring wing in Hairston. Hairston, who was kicked off of North Carolina‘s team for several transgressions, plied his trade in the D-league last season and didn’t miss a beat. If his record was clean, Hairston may have very well found himself in the top 20, but the Hornets hope they can reap the benefits of his fall down the board. Hairston is one of the best shooters in this class and possesses good size to match up with opposing two guards. While he’s not a defensive wizard, on a team with Gerald Henderson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who are both defensive mavens that are lacking on offense, his ability to score from the perimeter will be a welcome sight.
2nd Round, 45th Overall- Dwight Powell, PF, Stanford (C+)
Powell was a solid player for Stanford and was a key part in their upset of Kansas in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. Powell’s got good size for a four and, while he’s not the most polished player, he can offer adequate production on both ends of the floor. Powell’s got the size and skills to be a rotational player at the next level, and he could make the Hornets roster, even with the glut at the four and five positions.
2nd Round, 55th Overall- Semaj Christon, PG, Xavier (C+)
Christon declared for this year’s draft with the intentions of going significantly higher, but at least he didn’t go completely undrafted. Christon isn’t a great shooter, but he compensates for that by driving to the lane with reckless abandon and his athleticism affords him an advantage over slower guards. While he’s still in need of some development, he could be a nice fit as the backup to Kemba Walker, especially with Luke Ridnour a free agent this summer.
Aggregate Grade- A