The draft call that could haunt the Charlotte Hornets for years – Charlotte Observer

An NBA draft moves fast. A team has a maximum of five minutes to exercise a first-round pick when its name comes up in the annual June event.

Last June, those five minutes were busy for the Charlotte Hornets, picking 11th overall. They had worked out Donovan Mitchell, the long-armed 6-foot-3 guard from Louisville. In the last few days leading up to the draft, it became increasingly plausible that Kentucky guard Malik Monk, a gifted scorer, might also be available when the Hornets selected.

That presented a pleasant problem of sorts. Mitchell, with the extraordinary wingspan of a 7-footer, had huge upside as a defender. Monk wasn’t nearly as long-armed as Mitchell, but in his one college season, he proved to be an elite scorer, averaging 19.8 points.

As it played out, Mitchell and Monk were available to the Hornets. There was a lively final discussion that involved Monk, Mitchell and Duke guard Luke Kennard. Ultimately, the Hornets selected Monk. Kennard went 12th to the Detroit Pistons. Mitchell ended up 13th to the Utah Jazz.

Nearly three months into this rookie class’s first NBA season, Monk is playing little. Kennard is playing slightly more. And Mitchell? He is showing early signs of being the biggest bargain in the 2017 draft class.

The Jazz plays its only game this season in Charlotte Friday night. That Mitchell is a solid defender already is no surprise. His body type is ideal for modern NBA defense, where the best players have both the length and lateral quickness to switch who they’re guarding to defeat pick-and-rolls. The more surprising element is on offense. Mitchell leads all rookies in scoring at 18.5 points. He is also second among rookies in steals (1.47 per game) and tops in free-throw percentage at 84.8 percent.

Add that up and

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