The Hornets add depth with two second-round picks.
With the 36th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Charlotte Hornets selected Cody Martin, a small forward out of Nevada. Later in the second round, the Hornets selected Jalen McDaniels out of San Diego State with the 52nd overall pick.
A native of Mocksville, North Carolina, Martin returns to his home state after spending the final two years of his playing career at Nevada after transferring from North Carolina State. In his senior season with the Wolf Pack, Martin averaged 12.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.4 steals per game.
As the 6-6 forward’s assist numbers would suggest, Martin is a highly versatile player who excelled as a facilitator, ball-handler and the third scoring option at Nevada. Scoring-wise, he might not blow up the scoresheet with flashy numbers, but he is efficient and creative, shooting 50.5 percent from the floor last season and an improved 35.8 percent from 3-point range.
Listed at 6-10, 195 lbs, McDaniels is skinny for his height, but has shown some athleticism and promise as a post player and a high-energy, aggressive rebounder. However, he will likely need to bulk up if he looks to play in the post in the NBA.
In his sophomore season at San Diego State, McDaniels averaged 15.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Like Washington, he improved his 3-point percentage from his freshman to sophomore year, going from 4-19 (.211) to 24-75 (.320). However, as he got more scoring opportunities, he saw his field goal percentage take a fairly steep drop, going from a stellar 58.6 percent as a freshman to 46.6 percent as a sophomore.
For the Hornets, they add Martin to a somewhat-crowded wing position. Returning are Nic Batum, 2018 first round pick Miles Bridges, 2017 first round pick Malik Monk, Dwayne Bacon and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. However, with Batum, Monk and Kidd-Gilchrist all underperforming over the past couple of years, there are opportunities for him to sneak into the rotation. It is also worth noting that Jeremy Lamb is an impending free agent, so what they do with him or in free agency in general will obviously impact whether Martin can crack the rotation or spend most of his time in the G-League. As a facilitator, Martin could also see some time at point guard if absolutely needed.
Charlotte doubled down at the power forward slot with McDaniels, and he should fill in on the depth chart behind Marvin Williams and first-round pick PJ Washington. Similar to Washington, if he can continue to develop his 3-point shot, he can carve out a role as a stretch-4 off the bench. However, barring an injury and currently sitting as the third power forward on the depth chart, expect him to spend some time in the G-League before working to crack the rotation potentially later in the season.
With Washington and McDaniels coming in to add competition and depth at power forward, Martin comes in as a depth piece at the other forward spot. While it’s easy to write off second round picks in the NBA Draft, it is worth noting that Bacon and Devonte Graham, who were second round picks for the Hornets in each of the last two years, have seen their fair share of playing time as key depth pieces in the rotation. Martin and McDaniels are highly unlikely to be the next diamonds in the rough and become stars, but they have every opportunity to crack the rotation and make an impact.