The Charlotte Hornets are currently in possession of both the 13th and 15th picks in this draft with the Cleveland Cavaliers being sandwiched between those two picks. Although the Hornets are very much in need of a rim protector, knowing that the Cavaliers won’t select a center with their pick, I anticipate Charlotte going in a different direction with this pick.
I very nearly gave the Hornets Malaki Branham with this pick, but looking at their personnel, I think one player gets in the way of that selection: James Bouknight. He’s barely been given a shot at consistent playing time up to this point, but that could change in a big way with the departure of James Borrego and his staff. Rather than selecting a player in the lottery that would essentially fill Bouknight’s ideal role on the team, I think it’s more likely the Hornets find a player they prefer over either Kai Jones or JT Thor.
In this case, that player is Tari Eason. He would bring the Hornets a big dose of NBA-ready defense despite potentially needing a bit of taming, and he has some upside as a shooter, making for what I think would be a good gamble at this spot.
Furthermore, although this is purely speculative, Eason feels like a pick that Michael Jordan would like quite a bit. Despite some rumors that Eason isn’t performing well in workouts, he certainly still has a chance to sneak into the back end of the lottery if a team believes in his upside.