What will the Charlotte Hornets do with the 22nd pick in tomorrow's NBA Draft? That is really hard to tell.
Just look at all the mock drafts and you can see as many as 8 or 9 different names at that pick.
What complicates things even more is the draft happens before free agency and the Hornets have 8 guys going into the free agency pool led by shooting guard Nic Batum.
With so many free agents to try to re-sign, the draft itself may be a sign to what could happen in free agency for Charlotte.
Here are some of the names that come up when you look at possible picks at 22.
Shooting guard-- Malik Beasley (Florida State)
Small forward-- DeAndre Bembry (St. Joseph's)
Power forward-- Brice Johnson (North Carolina)
Center-- Damian Jones (Vanderbilt)
Shooting guard-- Caris LeVert (Michigan)
Center-- Diamond Stone (Maryland)
Shooting guard-- Denzel Valentine (Michigan State)
Center-- Ivica Zubac (Bosnia)
After the Hornets lost to the Heat in the first round of the playoffs, it became clear that this team needed to get another big man that is a rim protector. Vanderbilt's Damian Jones would fit the bill.
He is a 7 foot center who had 167 blocks in 3 years at Vandy. He averaged 6 rebounds last year as well.
But Jones tore a pectoral muscle back on June 11th working out for Orlando and has had surgery. He should be ready by the start of the regular season but will miss of all summer league play.
Do the Hornets want to pick a guy who comes in with an injury. I just don't see it, but never say never.
If you look at the free agents the Hornets have, the majority are either shooting guards or small forwards or have the ability to play small forward in the case of Marvin Williams. To me, drafting shooting guard or small forward would be the way to go because more than likely, you can't keep all those free agents.
Does any name above excite you at #22? You might say no, but there are some guys that make you say HMMMMM.
I could see Malik Beasley or Denzel Valentine being the choice.
Beasley is a 6 foot 5 shooting guard who lives up to that name because the kid can SHOOT. I say kid because he is only 19 and only spent 1 year at Florida State. He has great shooting range and very athletic, but he comes with an injury issue like Jones as he had surgery in the off season for a stress fracture in his leg.
Valentine is a 6 foot 5 wing player who played 4 years at Michigan State. He has had time to work on his game and it has improved every year under coach Tom Izzo. He has a tremendous basketball IQ and has worked on his jump shot to where he can be a vital part of an NBA offense. But guess what? He has injury issues as some knee problems have come up during the work out circuit this off season.
So many questions... Not many answers... Which makes me think the team may try to trade the pick if at all possible.
But for the purposes of this, I am going to go with a surprise pick at #22 and say 6 foot 5 shooting guard Malcolm Brogdon out of Virginia.
Brogdon has a tremendous basketball IQ and is a great team first player. Has worked on his jump shot and has seen that pay off on the court in his 4 years at UVA. Last season, he averaged 18 points per game with 4 rebounds and 3 assists and was an unanimous consensus All American.
He can guard multiple positions which coach Steve Clifford would love.
My second surprise pick would be power forward Brice Johnson out of North Carolina.
He was a double double machine last season with his tremendous leaping ability. He is a great rebounder who plays with high energy.
Imagine having Michael Kidd Gilchrist as a starter with his high energy and then when he goes to the bench, you bring Brice off the bench to keep the high energy going.
In the playoffs, rebounding became an issue and Brice would certainly help that cause.
Whoever Charlotte picks at 22 will not be asked to come in and start, but hopefully will be a key piece coming off the bench.
You can get a good player at the 22nd pick. Some of the note worthy players at 22 include Norm Nixon, Reggie Lewis, Kenneth Faried, Jarrett Jack, Scott Skiles and current Hornets free agent Courtney Lee.
This isn't the best or deepest draft, but it has the potential to provide some solid NBA players. Here's to hoping that the Hornets can get one of those solid pros that can get this team back to the playoffs and out the first round.
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