The Charlotte Hornets didn’t plan on being in the lottery this year and may not ultimately end up there.
Charlotte, coming off a disappointing and injury plagued season, have been the biggest news maker of the offseason so far. The Hornets received good news when Al Jefferson decided to exercise his player option yesterday, and then the team traded the much maligned Lance Stevenson to the Los Angeles Clippers for center Spencer Hawes and forward Matt Barnes. Barnes is expected to waived or possibly traded prior to the season.
Now, Chad Ford 0f ESPN is reporting that the Hornets may be willing to trade out of their No. 9 spot in the 2015 draft. Charlotte is in desperate need of perimeter shooting and could potentially use the pick on Kentucky shooting guard Devin Booker or Kansas shooting guard/small forward Kelly Oubre.
While both Booker and Oubre would be a good fit with the Hornets, Ford says the team is also very high on Georgia State guard R.J.Hunter.
Hornets also like RJ Hunter a lot, but won't take him at 9. It's possible they trade down a few spots for Hunter & pick up another asset
— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) June 16, 2015
Hunter is projected to be a mid-first round pick, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if he goes in the lottery. Hunter is an excellent shooter with deep range — he knocked down 19-of-25 NBA during a pre-combine workout. The 6-foot-6 shooting guard is also very long — 6-foot-11 wingspan — and possesses a high basketball IQ. In addition, he is a good passer with superb court vision.
The 21-year old Hunter averaged 19.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 3.6 assists in his final college season. He shot 39.5% from the floor and 30.5% from beyond the arc. Those shooting numbers may not be very good on face value, but it has to be taken into account that Hunter was Georgia State’s only true offensive threat.
Both Booker and Oubre are expected to be late lottery picks. Booker is an elite shooter with tremendous range as well as an excellent defender. Oubre, meanwhile, is an explosive athlete and good shooter.
The Hornets must decide how much value any of those three bring at No. 9 or if it makes more sense to trade down a couple of spots with the likelihood that at least one of those three still being available by the time the team selected. It appears the Hornets may not slide back too far as the Boston Celtics reportedly would like to move up in the draft.
The Celtics currently hold four draft picks this year and 12 over the next two drafts. Boston holds the No.16 and No. 28 overall selections as well as the No.33 and No. 45 picks in this year’s draft.
The question becomes: How much would Charlotte want in a trade? Both of the Celtics first rounders and either one of the second rounders would seem enough. However, Cory Prescott of CLNS Radio provided an interesting trade scenario — the No.9 pick and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist for the No. 14 and No. 28 selections along with Avery Bradley. While the Hornets shouldn’t make the move as Precott proposed but it is food for thought.
If the Hornets really want to move down, they can’t ask for too much of a ransom as other teams such as the New York Knicks may also be interested in moving out of the lottery.
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