If your favorite NBA team wasn’t a title contender, it was likely leaving tributes at the base of Mt. Zion (Williamson). Thirteen franchises all sit under the stoplight that is the 2019 NBA Draft. TSFJ gives each team a reason to speed through, take caution and even hit the brakes hard before making a wrong turn. We continue this series with a look at the 12th overall pick and the Charlotte Hornets.
How we got here:Credit: :Kent Smith/NBAE/Getty Images
Continually being bad at drafting. Since they took Kemba Walker, the only current Charlotte Hornet with any trade value/pulse, the Hornets have drafted:
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (ahead of Bradley Beal, Damian Lillard and Andre Drummond). This is the year they went 7-59 for a 25 percent chance at Anthony Davis. That’s the worst record ever recorded in the NBA.
- Cody Zeller (ahead of Giannis Antetokounmpo).
- Noah Vonleh, who was later traded for Nicolas Batum, whom the Hornets owe $52 million dollars over the next two seasons.
- Frank Kaminsky (the draft shook out poorly for them that year so let’s call it a wash)
- Marco Belinelli via trade, who was traded away a season later along with Miles Plumlee for Dwight Howard (!!!!!!!!!!!!!).
- Malik Monk.
- Miles Bridges via trade (they player they traded away was Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, for future reference).
If we give the Hornets the last two because we don’t know yet, they’re 2-4-1 since picking Kemba. The Hornets are here because they earned it, the bad way.
Green light: Fire it into the sun
The kindest thing to do at this point is let Kemba* out, point this entire spaceship-shaped franchise at the closest star and let it rip.
And with the twelfth pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Charlotte Hornets select……Space.
*the crowd goes absolutely wild….which soon turns to horror as they realize the destination*
That’s great TV. Don’t tell me it’s not, there’s more room on this spaceship. If the Hornets had traded Kemba Walker* earlier in the season, they could have afforded even more seats!
Yellow light: Don’t draft anybodyCredit: Chuck Burton/AP
One way to not make a mistake is not to do anything at all. Which is, while you’re drafting for a professional basketball team, a mistake. But this is the chaotic neutral’s choice. Could you imagine that on draft night? As a matter of fact, the Minnesota Vikings actually did this once.
But there’s no precedence for a team skipping their draft pick twice. Had the Hornets traded Kemba*, they could have been trendsetters in the NBA.
I’d find it hard not to respect them at least a little for going there. It’d be like watching Hugo the Hornet shoot himself in the foot, look you in the eye, shrug, then shoot himself in the foot again. Everyone would be a little scared to come to Charlotte because, yeah, this organization might be a little crazy! At least it’d be interesting, which would make it unique among this franchise’s recent draft picks.
Red light: Big white guyPhoto by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Don’t. Just absolutely do not. I don’t care that Frank Kaminsky looked light as a feather on college courts. I don’t care.
The Hornets are finally down to just two — two! — large white guys in Kaminsky and Cody Zeller. This is an incredible statistic for them.
The 2015-16 version of the Hornets included Kaminsky, Zeller, Spencer Hawes and the smallest of them all, Tyler Hansbrough. Imagine the four of them crashing the rebound. Who’s the best large white fella the Hornets could get for Kemba*? Because I’m the worst, I made a trade work that sent Kemba and Malik Monk to Utah for Kyle Korver and Greyson Allen. Could you imagine???
There are a few candidates to fit into the mold that are out there this year, mainly a guy from Georgia (not the state, either) named Goga Bitadze and Luka Samanic from Croatia (which just screams ‘projectable’!). But again, please….don’t….do….this….again.
*Why, yes, I did manage to suggest that the Hornets should have traded Kemba Walker. That’s because it was the only sensible thing for this franchise to do. This team is full of bad contracts and missed draft picks. So the Hornets already screwed that up. If Kemba comes back, they’re going to be stuck picking in the bottom half of the lottery and that’s how Frank Kaminsky happened. KAMINSKY!
And okay, if you’ve stuck around this long, I’ll indulge you with a bit of actual speculation. The best-case scenario is cloudy now. Most mock drafts have Charlotte taking Jaxson Hayes from Texas, who fits legitimate needs this team has. He’d be fighting for time with (of course) Zeller and KAMINSKY!, two of the remaining four Hornets draft picks guaranteed to come back next year, along with Bridges and Monk.
Supporting this team takes a special type of patience that…. that I find incredibly hard to understand at this point.
“Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very
disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more
important than that.”
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