The Charlotte Hornets came into the draft with three draft picks and a few holes to fill on the roster. The Hornets haven’t done very well in the draft in past years and things were looking to go that way again. The Hornets were linked to Creighton‘s Doug McDermott with the ninth pick overall and were rumored to have promised to select Michigan’s Mitch McGary with the 24th pick. Instead Indiana‘s Noah Vonleh fell to the Hornets at No. 9 and a draft day trade brought them the Texas Legends‘ P.J. Hairston.
Vonleh falling to Charlotte was huge for the franchise. Not only do they get a skilled big man, but they also get one who can shoot the ball and defend. Vonleh was a guy who looked to be a lock to be picked somewhere in the top eight, but apparently teams had other plans. Now the Hornets get a stretch power forward with a lot of upside to pair beside Al Jefferson. It doesn’t hurt that he’s a rim protector as well.
Charlotte then addressed their weakness by adding a shooter in Hairston. While the Hornets probably didn’t have to trade for Hairston as he was picked just two spots later, they got two second-rounders in the deal (the 55th pick and a future one). With Hairston, now the Hornets will have another shot creator on the wing.
The Hornets probably could have found some value late in the second round but elected to move the 45th pick along with Brendan Haywood to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Alonzo Gee. His contract is not guaranteed, so he should be waived soon. The Hornets also moved the 55th pick as well, probably looking to clear cap space.
Overall, the Hornets made some big moves on draft day. They picked up a skilled forward with upside as well as a young shooter who can create his own shot. The Hornets are already having a good offseason and will hopefully build on it in free agency.