Reevaluating the 2014 Hornets NBA Draft Class
Today, we are taking things back five years and reevaluating how the Hornets fared during the 2014 NBA Draft.
We are going to do a pick by pick breakdown of the kind of player they were coming out of college, how they fared with the team, and where they are now. We will factor all these aspects of each prospect and reevaluate the teams draft grade.
Let us get started with the teams first pick, which was at ninth overall.
No. 9 Overall: Noah Vonleh, Indiana University
Vonleh was a solid prospect coming from Tom Crean’s program with the Indiana Hoosiers. Primarily playing power forward, he had the size someone looks for in a player playing in the post, measuring at 6′ 9″ and 247 pounds.
Unfortunately, Vonleh was just 19 years old when he came out for the draft. While his youth is what made him such an interesting prospect is also what many highlighted as a draft red-flag, but the Hornets decided to take a shot on Vonleh.
Vonleh rarely saw the court during his time in Charlotte, only playing 25 games during the 2014-2015 season. Vonleh only scored on 39 percent of his shots and didn’t even average more than four points per game.
Vonleh only spent one season in Charlotte, as he was traded to the Portland Trailblazers along with Gerald Henderson for Nicolas Batum. Vonleh has spent his time bouncing around from team to team but averaged a career-high in points this past season with the New York Knicks.
P.J. Hairston, University of North Carolina
For the record, the best way to end up on the Hornets roster usually goes as follows: Play anywhere in the triangle area of North Carolina (particularly at either Duke or Carolina) and you will more than likely be drafted by the Hornets.
P.J. was a solid offensive option with the Tar Heels and could spot up and shoot better than most players at the shooting guard, but was often a defensive liability that made James Harden look like an NBA All-Defense candidate.
Much like Vonleh, Hairston struggled to make a significant impact on the court, averaging just over six points per game through two seasons in the league. and averaged less than 25% from beyond the arc during one stretch of his final year in the NBA.
Hairston didn’t play two full seasons with the Hornets and was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies midway through the 2015-16 season. Hairston has been out of the league since then.
Final Grade: D
Both of the Hornets two first round picks this season were bitter disappointments with the Hornets and off the team by the end of their second seasons in the league.
We are giving them a D, as one of the players is now officially out of the league and the other has never averaged more than 10 points per game for one season.
Another reason the team gets such a low grade is that there were better players available to them at both of their spots. Dario Saric went three picks later at 12th overall, and both Nikola Jokic and Joe Harris would’ve been available to the Hornets if the traded for high second round picks. The Hornets drafting didn’t get much better than that the following year, but that will be for another day.