Can Charlotte Hornets Find Value At No. 27 Draft Pick?

Can Charlotte Hornets Find Value At No. 27 Draft Pick?
Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

Every NBA team wants to pick 1st in the NBA Draft – except that picking first means they probably finished last – and, let’s face it, a lot of No. 1 picks have been busts who’ve gotten general managers fired.

If you can’t pick No. 1, however, you would think that the next best option would be to pick second.

But you’d be wrong.

Over the past 13 years, picking third has been better than picking second. According to research by BetCarolina.com, your home for the latest news, reviews and promos on sports betting in North Carolina, picking 15th has been better than picking second. Overall, rating all the players drafted over this period, the 2nd, 4th and 5th picks don’t even register in the Top 10 in terms of producing stars.

Granted, the value of the 15th pick was improved with Milwaukee’s 2013 draft of Giannis Antetokounmpo and even the 30th pick has shown promise thanks to Chicago’s 2011 pick of Jimmy Butler. In 2013, Rudy Gobert was snagged with the 27th pick, which should give some hope to Hornets fans, as that’s where Charlotte is scheduled to be making its second pick this year.

How Valuable Is The No. 2 Pick?

But what about the Hornets’ first pick at No. 2? That’s up in the air. Scoot Henderson and Brandon Miller are the likely options, but a third possibility is the Hornets trade the pick. The best of the recent No. 2 picks – his gun stupidity aside – was Ja Morant to the Grizzlies in 2019. And the Lakers had three straight picks at No. 2 from 2015-2017 and did reasonably well with D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball. 

The three most recent No. 2’s: Chet Holmgren to the Thunder, Jalen Green to the Rockets and James Wiseman to the Warriors. Wiseman has battled injuries and consistency during his three years in the league. Green has been solid his first two years with a very bad Rockets team. Holmgren missed his entire rookie season with a foot injury. There are no guarantees. Remember that when NC sports betting apps launch next year.

With the NBA Draft just a few days away, BetCarolina.com decided to look at which spot in the draft has produced the best talent since the 2010 NBA Draft. Utilizing Basketball-Reference.com, BetCarolina.com gathered the VORP (Value Over Replacement Player) of every NBA 1st round draft pick at each spot in the NBA Draft from the 2010 Draft until the 2022 Draft. The VORP was combined to find the best draft spot (over replacement players) instead of averaged due to players being in the NBA for different lengths of time.

Best Draft Slots Since 2010

Rank, Draft Slot Team in Slot in 2023 Draft Combined VORP Top Player Since 2010
1. 1st overall pick San Antonio Spurs 172.9 Anthony Davis (NO, 2012)
2. 3rd overall pick Portland Trail Blazers 146.3 Joel Embiid (PHI, 2014)
3. 15th overall pick Atlanta Hawks 96.8 Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL, 2013)
4. 6th overall pick Orlando Magic 85.0 Damian Lillard (POR, 2012)
5. 9th overall pick Utah Jazz 77.1 Kemba Walker (CHA, 2011)
6. 30th overall pick Los Angeles Clippers 73.9 Jimmy Butler (CHI, 2011)
7. 27th overall pick Charlotte Hornets69.5 Rudy Gobert (UTA, 2013)
8. 11th overall pick Orlando Magic 66.7 Domantas Sabonis (OKC, 2016)
9. 10th overall pick Dallas Mavericks 64.4 Paul George (IND, 2010)
10. 13th overall pick Toronto Raptors 63.9 Donovan Mitchell (UTA, 2017)

History Shows No. 2 Is No Sure Thing

The last two times the Hornets chose second, they were still Bobcats – Emeka Okafor in 2004 and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in 2012. Maybe trading No. 2 makes sense. 

What makes the No. 2 pick so strange is how much better the third picks have been: In 2009, James Harden went at No. 3. In 2012, it was new Sun Bradley Beal. Two years later Joel Embiid. The Celtics had back-to-back threes and chose Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. In 2018, the No. 3 was Luka Doncic. In 2020, the Hornets nabbed LaMelo Ball. That would be a pretty good All-Star team. 

Last year’s No. 3, Jabari Smith Jr., may turn out great after a decent first campaign – he’s still just a kid at 20.

Reason For Hope At No. 27

At No. 27 for the Hornets, there are generally solid NBA players. After Gobert was taken in 2013, the next five No. 27s were Bogdan Bogdanovic, Larry Nance Jr., Pascal Siakam, Kyle Kuzma and Robert Williams. All those guys can play – Siakam helped lead Toronto to a championship.

While you’d always rather be picking No. 1 – and Victor Wembanyama is the clear choice this year for the San Antonio Spurs – there have been a surprising number of misfires at the top spot. Philadelphia 76ers fans are still bemoaning the back-to-back choices of Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz at No. 1 a few years ago. And anyone remember Toronto’s 2006 No. 1 Andrea Bargnani? Or Cleveland’s 2013 No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett?

Experts can predict Wembanyama as the only sure-shot generational talent in this year’s draft, but experts are constantly wrong. There will be great players chosen throughout the 2023 NBA Draft, but history shows they’re unlikely to be chosen in the correct order. 

Keep tabs on BetCarolina on the road to the state's mobile betting launch, and we're also home to North Carolina sports betting promos for new customers.

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Author

Howard Gensler
Journalists / Reporter

Howard Gensler is a veteran journalist covering the North Carolina sports betting market for BetCarolina.com. Before his focus on US sports betting, Howard worked at the Philadelphia Daily News, TV Guide and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Howard is also a founding editor of bettorsinsider.com.

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