With the shadow of Kemba Walker’s impending free agency cast over their offseason, who should the Charlotte Hornets be targeting in the NBA Draft?
The biggest questions for the Hornets this summer is whether they’ll be able to convince Kemba Walker to re-sign with the team in free agency. Unfortunately, he’ll make that decision after the draft and there is unlikely to be anyone available with the No. 12 pick who could be a significant factor in convincing him to stay.
The end of the lottery is where things start to get noisy, both in projecting who will be available and how teams view a wider pool of prospects in a similar tier of potential. All that is to say that the Hornets will have a lot of plausible options to chose from. Given that they’ll need to make a pick that works for a hypothetical future with or without Kemba Walker, who should they be looking at?
5. Nassir Little, Forward, UNC
Little was an extremely highly ranked prospect coming into his freshman season at North Carolina, didn’t do much to justify the hype. He hit just 26.9 percent of his 3-pointers and flashed almost nothing as on-ball creator, finishing with twice as many turnovers as assists. Little was billed as a wing prospect coming into college but finished the season playing mostly as a 4 for UNC, with his strength being the one consistent tool he was able to leverage.
There are plenty of legitimate reasons for Little to still be a lottery prospect — his shooting could improve, his physical tools give him defensive potential (although he was an off-ball disaster this year) and he has upside as a cutter, transition finisher and attacking closeouts. Of course, there’s also the North Carolina connection which shouldn’t factor in but will at least make sure he and the Hornets are consistently linked in Mock Drafts. There are certainly riskier picks the Hornets could make at No. 12 but there are probably better ones as well.