Things are looking up for Charlotte.
The terrible “Bobcats” names is no more, the team made their second ever Playoff appearance, and the lottery gods where with them as Detroit’s top eight protected pick fell into their lapse at No. 9.
Now the question is what should they do with that pick?
Looking at the potential starting line-ups, the primary need is for a player to space the floor for Al Jefferson to work in the post and Kemba Walker to dance his way into the lane and they can do that by drafting Doug McDermott if he is still available.
The Creighton product isn’t blessed with great athleticism but he is a great scorer with incredible range. He has the textbook form and a quick release, which helped him shoot 45percent from 3 point territory and 55 percent overall during his four years in college. That sort of shooting touch will be extremely valuable at the next level, keeping defenders honest and off Jefferson’s back.
Alternatively, they could always trade that pick for a player like Arron Afflalo, whom Steve Clifford has taken a liking to according to ESPN’s Marc Stein:
“The rumbles have already begun that a player Clifford is said to regard with real fondness after working with him in Orlando as an assistant -- vet floor leader Jameer Nelson -- as well as current Magic swingman Arron Afflalo will be among the Bobcats' trade targets.”
To be honest, it’s not really much of a surprise. With an impressive career 39 percent conversion rate and an incredible 42 percent average last season, the Orlando Magic shooting guard is an excellent three point shooter.
However, what makes him worth such a high pick and will enamour him to Steve Clifford is the fact that he is an excellent defender.
Over the years he has had to blanket some of the game’s all-time greats at the 2 spot and put up a good fight against the likes of Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade. No doubt he would add a little extra to what is already a great defensive unit after the team finished fourth best in opponent’s points per game with 97.1 average.
Furthermore, he has improved his scoring output in each and every one of his seasons in the NBA and last year was his best as he averaged 18 points per game, good enough to place him within the top 10 at his position.
If the Hornets were able to acquire his services, then the third scoring option would be his for the taking after Gerald Henderson failed to assume the role.
If that doesn’t pan out, Grantland’s Bill Simmons does suggest an interesting move:
“If you’re Charlotte, wouldn’t you shop that no. 9 straight-up for Al Jefferson’s old buddy Millsap, or maybe Monroe?”
The move for Millsap does make a lot of sense considering he is able to hit threes and stretch the floor, he is a great passer and would be an upgrade to Josh McRoberts at the power forward spot. It may take a little more than just the ninth pick to convince Atlanta to bite, but it could be a start.
As for Greg Monroe, it seems all but certain he will be leaving Detroit after Stan Van Gundy’s appointment as coach of running basketball operations because he tends to favour three point shooting and the pistons simply can’t afford him.
Since he will be a restricted free agent this summer, they could either let him walk for nothing or work out a sign-and-trade deal for the versatile bigman. At least that way they will get something in a return for him.
Granted he won’t have as much range as Millsap but he does have a pretty good midrange stroke is simply too good to pass up if he is available.
Overall, the Charlotte Hornets are in a great (and rare) position of power and barring a stupid decision from way out of left field, then it should produce some good results.
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