The 2022 NBA Draft takes place on 23rd June, 2022.
With the draft providing teams with an option to shape their rosters in the direction they intend to move in, draft night marks an important day in the NBA’s off-season calendar. The 2022 NBA Draft isn’t headlined by a lot of star power but promises to provide difference makers to the league.
One team that holds a strong position to strengthen themselves in the draft is the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets hold the 13th and 15th picks in the first round and 41st and 45th picks in the second round. With four picks, including two in the lottery, the possibilities are endless for the Hornets.
Make no mistake, this is LaMelo Ball‘s team. With Miles Bridges, Terry Rozier, and the likes of PJ Washington also making positive steps, the Hornets must be hopeful of a playoff berth in the 2022-23 season.
So, with the assets in hand, what is the way forward for the Hornets? Who should they ideally target? We bring to you three realistic player selections that we feel will help the Hornets take the step into playoff contention while building for the future.
Who should the Hornets target in the 2022 NBA Draft?
With their two lottery picks, the plan for the Hornets is simple: To add defensive help. A three-and-D wing and a rim-protecting big man should be high up the priority rankings for the Hornets as they approach the draft.
With Mike D’Antoni rumored to step in, players who can supplement defensively while spacing the floor would be ideal fits.
In terms of rim-protectors, the Hornets will certainly have their eyes on Jalen Duren and Mark Williams. The Hornets will hope that at least one of them will fall to their hands.
Jalen Duren is one of the youngest prospects in the draft. Duren is a physical specimen and at 6’10 with explosive athleticism promises to be a huge interior presence for whoever drafts him.
While his shooting is a concern, his ceiling is quite high due to his solid rebounding and interior game making him a safe pick in the late lottery.
Mark Williams, their second option at center is a dominating presence in the interior. Williams stands at an insane 7 feet frame paired with a 7’7 wingspan making him a threat at both ends. Williams has also shown some promise as a decent shooter, which would also help his chances of a long NBA career.
The prospect of both Williams and Duren attacking LaMelo lobs must be exciting for the Hornets fans. They both promise to be good alternatives to replace Plumlee in the lineup and to establish themselves as long-term prospects for a young team.
Which 3-and-D wing should Charlotte select?
With the evolution of the game, 3-and-D wings have become one of the most prized commodities. With one of their lottery picks, the Hornets would hope to find the solution to their lack of a solid 3-and-D wing outside the perennially injured Gordon Hayward.
Jeremy Sochan and Ochai Agbaji could be names to watch out for the Hornets.
Sochan is a Baylor product who excelled in defense in college basketball. His instincts and intensity have led to comparisons with Draymond Green and Ben Simmons. While his lack of a consistent jump shot is worrying, his defensive upside is too good to look away from and he boasts some playmaking chops too.
Agbaji on the other hand is one of the more NBA-ready prospects in the draft. The Kansas star’s age might be a concern at 22, but his solid 3-and-D capabilities and low floor make him a safe bet. He shot the three-ball at a 41% clip in college and promises to be a decent floor spacer. But his free-throw rates and his assists per turnover ratio might be concerning.
If developed properly, both Sochan and Agbaji promise to be elite contributors. While neither boasts all-NBA potential, the skill sets they offer are extremely valuable in the modern game.
Who do you think the Hornets will select? Are there needs outside rim protection and defense that need to be addressed? Will LaMelo get his first taste of Playoff action with a draft-bolstered roster? Lot of questions remain to be answered as an exciting draft night awaits the Hornets.