Hornets Two-Round Mock Draft: Charlotte Addresses Need in First Round

The Charlotte Hornets land the talented, all-around prospect in the latest mock draft.
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The 2024 NBA Draft is here and every team in the NBA, including the Charlotte Hornets, is doing their final evaluations ahead of Wednesday. Unlike most drafts, the top of this year's class is filled with uncertainty. With no clear-cut No. 1 pick, there is a ton of speculation about draft-day trades, surprise selections, and potential falls.

Let's take a look at how this draft could potentially shake out for the Hornets, who have the No. 6 and No. 42 overall picks.

Based on recent reporting, team needs, and rumors, one likely scenario for the top five of this draft could look like this:

1. Atlanta Hawks - Zaccharie Risacher
2. Washington Wizards - Alexandre Sarr
3. Houston Rockets - Reed Sheppard
4. San Antonio Spurs - Stephon Castle
5. Detroit Pistons - Ron Holland

Sarr is not working out in Atlanta and prefers to be in Washington. Reed Sheppard fits with the Rockets and Houston is reportedly interested in the sharpshooter. The San Antonio Spurs desperately need more guard play and if Sheppard is off the board, they will likely go with the next-best guard in Stephon Castle. The Pistons can go in various different ways but Ron Holland plays a position of value and is likely one of the highest-upside players there.

Rd: 1, Pick: 6 - Matas Buzelis, SF/PF, G League Ignite

That leaves the Hornets with intriguing forward Matas Buzelis of G League Ignite. Buzelis is one of four projected lottery picks to work out in Charlotte, along with Sheppard, Castle, and Dalton Knecht. He provides certain things the Hornets lack; defensive playmaking, two-way play, and all-around production.

The biggest weakness in Buzelis' game right now is the three-point shot. Despite good mechanics, the shot didn't go in for him last season. Yet, he was still effective in the mid-range and around the basket. His ball handling and transition game is excellent for a 6'10 combo forward. Other than his jump shot, he doesn't have any major weaknesses in his game and has plenty of positives like his aggressive defense, rim protection, rebounding, and overall athleticism.

Plus, he is a good fit on the Hornets. If Miles Bridges leaves in free agency, Charlotte will desperately need another forward. He would be a great complementary player next to LaMelo Ball, Brandon Miller, and Mark Williams with his jack-of-all-trades style of play.

Rd: 2, Pick: 42 - Dillon Jones, SF, Weber State

The second-round selections are obviously harder to project. Teams trade in and out of their picks regularly depending on who is available on the board when it's their turn to pick. One of the prospects the Hornets worked out and is projected to go in this range is Dillon Jones of Weber State. If he is available in the second round, Charlotte will likely go after him.

Similar to Buzelis, the Weber State star is an all-around wing. At 6'5", he will play the shooting guard and small forward in the NBA and has the skill level to make an impact. He can create shots for himself and others using his elite ball handling ability and impressive strength. He can play bully ball, as well as use his wide array of dribble moves to create separation.

Like many prospects, his swing skill will be shooting. He improved throughout his four-year college career but he is still not a high-volume, high-accuracy outside shooter. He made one three per game on 32.4% shooting his senior year. He doesn't have high-level athleticism, either, capping his ceiling. He will turn 23 during the season, so how much upside he still has is a question mark.

However, he knows how to play. He is a good defender, a great rebounder, and fits in multiple ways. He is more of an old-school player so there is a chance he won't become a rotation player in the league, but that is why he is a second-round pick. The chances of him working out are low but Jones is worth a flyer and that's what the second-round picks are for.

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