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Hornets' move into top three of draft a needed stroke of luck

The Charlotte Hornets haven’t had much luck in the NBA Lottery since the team was rebranded before the 2013-2014 season. The highest draft pick they landed was when the team selected Frank Kaminsky with the ninth overall pick in the 2015 draft. 

But on Thursday night everything changed.

With Devonte Graham representing the team during the virtual NBA Draft Lottery show, the Hornets ended up jumping ahead five spots and ending up with the third overall pick in October’s NBA Draft. This will be the sixth time in Charlotte’s 30-year history that it will have a draft pick this high.

The 2020 draft class does not have a consensus top overall player, but the Hornets have a chance to select a player that will make a day one impact. This class has four prospects that could become starters for returning coach James Borrego’s team opens training camp in the later portion of the year.

For those who have not kept up with the prospects, here is a quick overview of some of the top players that Charlotte can choose from in the NBA Draft:

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-- Georgia freshman guard Anthony Edwards has the most offensive talent in the class at his position. He averaged 19 points a game and can score from almost anywhere on the court. He’s a much better outside shooter than the numbers show and would provide the Hornets their best wing scorer since Jason Richardson. Questions about his defensive intensity and ball handling (91 assists and 87 turnovers), keep him from shoe-in top overall pick.

-- Memphis center James Wiseman has all of the physical tools a team would want in their starting center. He is listed at 7-foot-1 and 237 pounds and he moves like a player that is way smaller. He’s a rebounding and shot-blocking machine and could be the best big man the team has had since Emeka Okafor was downlow during the Charlotte Bobcat days. But due to his suspension, Wiseman only appeared in three games for Memphis and hasn’t played much since high school.

-- LaMelo Ball is the youngest of the highly touted Ball family of brothers, but he’s also the most talented. Standing at 6-8, the former Illawarra Hawks guard (National Basketball League/Australia) proved in his one season against professional competition that he is ready for the big time. His overall numbers might scare some fans especially the shooting percentages, but if you watch his final four games before his foot injury (not serious by the way) his talent shows throughout. The selection of Ball would put the team and the city on the national radar.

-- Deni Avdija has been the fastest rising prospect on every major draft analyst mock draft boards for months now. The 6 foot 9 inch forward that plays for Maccabi Tel Aviv of the Israeli Basketball League is an intriguing talent. He’s a solid combination of the skill-sets of Oklahoma City Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari and former Orlando Magic and Sacramento King Hedo Turkoglu. Avdija can guard multiple positions on the floor, can do a little bit of everything at a high level and is more athletic than most players, making him an interesting option for the Hornets.

For the most part, the Hornets have done well when they have had a draft choice this high. They have drafted three future all-stars as Hornets (Larry Johnson, Alonzo Mourning and Baron Davis), two Rookies of the Year (Johnson and Okafor) and two players that did not pan out during their time in Charlotte (Adam Morrison and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist). 

Now, Charlotte’s general manager Mitch Kupchak can put his stamp on this franchise going into the future.