The Charlotte Hornets selected UConn G James Bouknight with the No. 11 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.
The Hornets finished in 10th place last season with a 33-39 record, grabbing the last play-in spot. It didn’t do them much good though, as the Pacers thumped them 144-117 to end Charlotte’s season in a hurry. This is the fifth consecutive season the Hornets have failed to qualify for the playoffs, though LaMelo Ball was a bright spot for them, averaging 15.7 points, 6.1 assists and 5.9 rebounds while also bringing home the Rookie of the Year honors. He only played 51 games due to injuries. Terry Rozier led the team in scoring with 20.4 points per game, but the Hornets will still need to make some upgrades if they want to be a serious contender next season.
They’re in dire need of a solid upgrade at the center position as Cody Zeller and Bismack Biyombo split duties last season. Both players enter the offseason as unrestricted free agents, and while the Hornets could decide to bring at least one of them back, their frontcourt needs may be bigger than either player can provide going forward into next season.
Charlotte Hornets 2021 NBA Draft picks
No. 11, first round: James Bouknight, G, UConn
No. 19, first round (via NYK): Kai Jones, PF, Texas
No. 37, second round: JT Thor, F, Auburn
No. 56, second round: Scottie Lewis, G, Florida
Fantasy basketball outlook
James Bouknight — Despite their need for a center, the Hornets opted for the 6’5” guard out of Connecticut, adding some much-needed depth in the backcourt. He brings some solid production to the team and is fairly strong from downtown. While his field goal percentage went down slightly in his sophomore season at UConn, he averaged 18.7 points per game — much higher than his freshman year. Bouknight struggled with an elbow injury and only played 15 games, but he’ll be a good pairing with LaMelo Ball. Look for his perimeter game to rack up some points in the fantasy season as well, assuming the Hornets keep and play him in regular rotation.
Kai Jones — The Hornets have needed a big, even after trading for Plumlee before the draft. Jones is a strong prospect coming from a decent program in Texas. He’s got good size at 6-foot-11 and can stretch the floor, which is always a plus. Jones likely won’t have any immediate fantasy value, though he could develop into a decent inside-outside player.