2014 NBA draft team needs: Charlotte Hornets

2014 NBA draft team needs: Charlotte Hornets

Credit: USA Today Sports

2014 NBA draft team needs: Charlotte Hornets

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by ADI JOSEPH / USA TODAY Sports

WCNC.com

Posted on June 17, 2014 at 3:15 PM

2014 picks: First round, No. 9 (from Pistons) and No. 24 (from Trail Blazers); second round, No. 45.

 
2013-14 record: 43-39 (3rd in Southeast Division).
 
2013-14 statistics: 96.9 points per game (23rd in NBA), 97.1 points allowed per game (4th in NBA), 1,010 turnovers (1st in NBA).
 
2013 draft recap: No. 4 overall pick Cody Zeller made strides toward the end of an often frustrating rookie season. He averaged 6.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in 17.3 minutes as the only Bobcat to play 82 games.
 
Decision-maker: President Rod Higgins re-signed abruptly earlier in June, leaving basketball decisions to general manager Rich Cho, but he still has an impact. But expect owner Michael Jordan to have some level of contribution.
 
Biggest offseason decisions: The Hornets finally get Ben Gordon's enormous contract off the books, and veteran point guard Luke Ridnour also is a free agent. Despite the new cap space, the only integral player they risk losing is big man Josh McRoberts, who has a player option. He fits the system well but also costs Zeller playing time. Point guard Kemba Walker can sign an extension this offseason, though it's tough to pinpoint what his value is as the defensive-minded team's No. 2 scorer.
 
Draft priorities
 
1. Scoring swingman: Gerald Henderson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist probably are not going anywhere, but neither shoots or scores well enough to be an ideal No. 3 scorer behind Al Jefferson and Walker. UCLA's Zach LaVine could be ideal to supplant Henderson in a season or so and play a combo guard role next to Walker. Creighton's Doug McDermott would be a more convenient fit for shooting off the bench. Michigan State's Gary Harris and Kentucky's James Young also would fit.
 
2. Point guard: Regardless of Walker's long-term future, he needs a backup. Ridnour probably isn't the ideal fit, and Gary Neal functions best off the ball. Using one of their first-round picks on a player such as aggressive defender Elfrid Payton of Louisiana-Lafayette or heady decision-maker Tyler Ennis of Syracuse would fill the void and pressure Walker to earn his next contract.
 
3. Power forward: If McRoberts leaves, Zeller will step in as starting power forward. But the Hornets still need support for the bench, particularly after losing underrated scrapper Jeff Adrien in a midseason trade. Likely second-rounders Melvin Ejim, Jarnell Stokes and Khem Birch would be good fits.

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