Potential 2015 NBA Draft Prospects For The Charlotte Hornets


The Charlotte Hornets are a team that looks to be heading backwards, when it comes to the way the team is playing.  The good news for Charlotte is this draft coming up is probably one of the best in recent memory, in terms of talent and potential.  You could find a future all-star player in the teens, if you make the right choice.  In terms of being future superstars there are 5 of those, in my opinion, and they are Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafur, D’Angelo Russel, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Justise Winslow.  After the top five, in my opinion, there could be a few that are picked later that could be superstars too, if they are put in good situations.

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Charlotte will be picking at the 8 to 12 range unless they finally get lucky, and hit the lottery, which is unlikely, and we all know our luck in the lottery (Anthony Davis we hardly knew you).  At the 8 to 12 range we could still end up with a very good player, who could contribute from day one next season.  The thing is, we have a coach who seems to be allergic to playing young players.  Even with the coach in mind, I will give you a few prospects to keep in mind for the draft.

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  •  Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky

    Cauley-Stein is a true defensive center at the next level, and his ability to block and alter shots is amazing.  I watched him when he played UNC this past season, and he can guard the perimeter almost as well as he can guard the paint.  I think he could fit in with Charlotte, but he will not provide any scoring, at least not at the level he is at right now.  He has the potential to become a Tyson Chandler 2.0, but he still has a ways to go.

    If Cauley-Stein can take his scoring game to about 10 points per game, then he could be a very good player at the NBA level.  At worst he is a player that will demand respect when a team drives, but we already have that in Bismack Biyombo.  I think Cauley-Stein is not the best of picks but I put him here because I know Charlotte will take a look at him.

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  • Stanley Johnson, SF, Arizona

    Stanley Johnson is a great player with the ability to lock down his defenders, and he can also knock down the three point shot, although not his strength.  Just picture Johnson as a better version of Michael Kidd-Glichrist, because of his ability to shoot already, and his ability to play lock down defense.  I think he is a more balanced player than MKG, and that he is a better option for a Charlotte team that needs shooting, but still wants the player to be a great defender.

    I am not an MKG hater, but on this team MKG has to start hitting three pointers, or we will never get out of the bottom of the NBA in 3 point shooting.  This is where Johnson provides a better fit, because he can knock down open threes, when the opportunity presents itself.  I am not saying Charlotte is getting rid of MKG, but it may be time to start looking into a replacement down the road, if MKG does not develop a three point shot.

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  • Kevon Looney, SF/PF, UCLA

    Even though he did not take a lot of threes for UCLA, Kevon Looney displays range to the 3 point line, and is a very good rebounder.  He has one glaring problem though, and that is what position he will play at the next level.  He is a good dribbler, for his size, and can drive around players to finish with his length around the basket.  His on ball defense looks good in the videos I watched on him, and he closes out very well on shooters.

    I like his ability to create his own shot in the videos I watched, and he displays some pretty good moves, for a 6’9” guy.  I believe he has a large amount of potential, and could one day be a star.  Though if he is a bust, it will be of the Tyrus Thomas variety, and that could scare Charlotte away.  I think in the right situation, and with immediate playing time, Looney could become a very good player.  He is my 2nd favorite prospect in this draft.

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  • Mario Hezonja, SG/SF, Croatia

    This guy is a great wing prospect at the NBA level with the ability to drive to the basket, he can shoot the ball great from 3 point land, and he can throw down some vicious dunks.  I like this guy a lot, and if he is there at number 9, Charlotte’s most likely draft spot, I would take him.  Hezonja has already played at the pro level in Europe, and will probably transition better to the NBA, than some college prospects will.  Hezonja fills a role that Charlotte needs badly, with his ability to put the ball in the basket.

    He is a good size, 6’8”, for both shooting guard or small forward, and he dribbles the ball extremely well, for his size.  I picture Hezonja as a better version of Hedo Turkoglu, with the ability to finish with his athleticism around the basket, as well as shoot with the best of them.  Hezonja does have bust ability, but his ceiling is extremely high, and any guy who can shoot like he can, will find some minutes.  He is my favorite prospect, of all the guys that will be available at our pick in the draft.

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  • All of these players could contribute in Charlotte next season but it depends on how much playing time they get.  I think after the year Charlotte has had, they should be open to change at every position, other than point guard.  I think Kemba Walker is a very good point guard, on a very good playoff team, and right now he is being held back by a lack of other scorers on the perimeter.  If you put shooters on the perimeter, with his ability to drive and kick, he gives you 8 to 9 assists a night, and you cannot ask for much more.

    I think the center position is one where change may be needed, and if Al Jefferson opts out it becomes a glaring need.  I think Lance Stephenson is a bust, as a free agency signing, and Gerald Henderson may opt out this off season.  That leaves PJ Hairston, who for the time being should be a bench player, and nobody as a starter at shooting guard, that is capable of scoring.  The small forward position is solid, but not great, and the power forward position is loaded, but still has a lot of uncertainty.  This draft will be important for Charlotte’s future, and they cannot mess this up.