Hornets drafted Kemba Walker in 2011 and he has been a 3X time All Star. Hornets have made playoffs twice in Walker’s tenure but have yet to win a playoff series. Perhaps if they had done a better job drafting, winning a playoff series wouldn’t have been such a large obstacle.
In hindsight, let’s look back at some of the Hornets mistakes.
Drafted Kemba Walker 9th overall. In hindsight, this wasn’t a bad decision but worth noting that Klay Thompson went 11th and Kawhi Leonard went 15th.
Also drafted Tobias Harris at 19, but immediately traded his rights and Stephen Jackson to the Bucks as part of a three way trade that netted the Hornets Corey Maggette and Bismack Biyombo.
After Anthony Davis went first overall, Hornets drafted his Kentucky teammate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist #2. Bradley Beal was drafted third, Damian Lillard 6th and Andre Drummond 9th.
Hornets drafted Cody Zeller 4th overall. Zeller hasn’t lived up to the hype of 4th overall, but has been far from a bust. Giannis was the 15th pick in this draft. At the time, Nerlens Noel felt like the right pick, but in hindsight, Zeller has carved out a better career than Noel.
Another first round Hoosier, this time Noah Vonleh 9th overall. Zach LaVine was picked 13th.
They also drafted Shabazz Napier 24th and traded him immediately to the Heat. If they chose to keep the pick, they could have had Clint Capela.
This one hurts – drafted Frank Kaminsky 9th overall. After him was Justice Winslow (10), Myles Turner (11), Devin Booker (13)
A rare non-lottery pick as the Hornets made the playoffs in 2016 and picked 22nd. They drafted Malachi Richardson, immediately trading his rights to the Kings for Marco Belinelli. Two notable breakout candidates were picked at the end of the 2016 first round – Pascal Siakam (27) and Dejounte Murray (29)
With the 11th pick, the Hornets drafted Malik Monk, two spots before Donovan Mitchell went 13 to the Jazz. Mitchell has led the Jazz to back-to-back playoff appearances while averaging 22.1 ppg cumulatively. Monk has come off the bench every game of his career and has averaged 7.9 ppg
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was drafted 11th and was part of yet another Hornets’ draft day trade. He was sent to the Clippers and fellow rookie Miles Bridges to the Hornets. Maybe Bridges will turn into a star. But Shai started 73 games at PG for the Clippers (played all 82) and was a big part in helping them get to the playoffs, averaging 10.8 ppg in over 26 minutes per game. Especially with Kemba Walker heading for free agency, this feels potentially regretful.