The Runner Sports

Grading The Charlotte Hornets’ Draft

I was live at the 2017 NBA Draft and the building was full of energy and excitement. Fans from every team eagerly waited to see whom their team would take.  The top of the draft was predictable with Markelle Fultz going to the 76ers and Lonzo Ball going to the Lakers. After that, no one knew what would happen. Jimmy Butler getting traded to the Timberwolves certainly created some excitement.

The Charlotte Hornets had the 11th overall pick and stayed pat, waiting to see how the draft would play out. There were rumors about Luke Kennard and Donovan Mitchell, but then something surprising happened. Lucky for Charlotte, a player who was projected to go as early as 7, fell to them at 11.

Malik Monk

A 6’3, 200-pound shooting guard who can absolutely fill it up from behind the arc. Monk, in his one year at Kentucky, averaged 19.8 points on 39% shooting from deep. He has a beautiful stroke and he can shoot off the dribble just as well as he can spot up. The Hornets’ biggest need in this draft was depth and shooting. Monk fills both.

He is not a true point, but he has ball handling skills and can develop into a point. In the mean time, he can be a gunner off the bench who can help space the floor. Monk is not perfect, he has some weaknesses like all players. He does not rebound enough and is not a great defender or passer. I think he has potential as an all ball defender, but must improve his help defense, and ability to play the passing lanes. You know Steve Clifford will get the most out of him on that end.

If he can improve his defense and rebounding, he should get quality minutes soon for the Hornets. He will start off the bench, but expect him to play along Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum a lot. To me, his strengths out weigh his weaknesses. In a shooter’s league, he fits in perfectly. Down the road, I think he can develop into a point guard. Right now, he fills an immediate need and should be a day 1 contributor. Monk at 11 is an incredible value, and Charlotte should be very grateful that he fell to them.

Grade: B+

Dwayne Bacon

In the second round, the Charlotte Hornets initially had the 31st pick, which is the first pick in the second round. They got this pick in the Dwight Howard deal. Originally they selected Frank Jackson the point guard from Duke. Charlotte then dealt his rights to the New Orleans Pelicans for the 40th overall pick and some cash.

With the 40th overall pick, the Hornets selected Dwayne Bacon, a wing from Florida State. I don’t love this move nearly as much as I love the Monk pick. Bacon has good size for a shooting guard at 6’7, 210 pounds, but there are concerns. He only shoots 75% from the free throw line and 33% from three-point land. These are bad numbers for a shooting guard. Also, he does not rebound or pass particularly well. On the bright side, he is a good athlete and a solid defender. On offense, he has a solid midrange game, and can finish around the basket.

There is some potential here, but I think the Hornets should have stayed at the 31st pick. Frank Jackson would have been a great pick as a big point guard who can back up Kemba. Sure, a little cash is nice, but is it worth going back to where you were supposed to pick before the Dwight Howard trade? Even at 40, there are other players who I thought were better than Bacon. I would have taken Tyler Dorsey, Sterling Brown, Dillon Brooks, and Damyean Dotson all ahead of Bacon. I know it’s the second round and it’s a crap shoot, but this is a bad pick. Trading down to get a player who was supposed to go much lower than 40, especially with better players available, is not a good look.

Grade: C


It’s time to be excited if you’re a Charlotte Hornets fan. They made a great trade for Dwight Howard and got a steal in the first round in Malik Monk. I fully expect this team to be a playoff team next year. They did not have a great second round, however, if they use the cash they got from New Orleans wisely in free agency it looks better.

Ideally, they can sign a backup point guard like Darren Collision from Sacramento, and get rid of Ramon Sessions. Overall the Hornets had a good draft; much better than usual. They did the sensible thing for once and drafted Monk instead of a guy like Luke Kennard. In the second round, they made a questionable pick, but who knows, Bacon certainly did get buckets in college. This was a solid draft; get excited Hornets fans!

Grade: B-