What can we expect from selection or selections Charlotte Hornets make on draft night?

By Richard Walker

The Charlotte Hornets own the Nos. 3, 32 and 56 picks in the Nov. 18 NBA Draft.

Reports link the team to trade talks that could alter those choices but the team is certain to add at least a couple of players to its roster for the upcoming 2020-21 season.

What can we expect from whomever the Hornets select?

If the past is an indicator, Charlotte fans will get to see them for averages of 3.1 years and 175.8 games and 42 of the 46 players drafted by the Hornets who played a game for the franchise eventually started at least one game.

Hornets draft picks have produced the franchise’s all-time leaders in years of service, starts, points and rebounds.

Kemba Walker, the No. 9 overall pick in the 2011 draft, played eight seasons in Charlotte, made 560 starts and scored 12,009 points before leaving in a sign-and-trade deal to the Boston Celtics on July 6, 2019.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 draft, also played eight seasons in Charlotte before the Hornets waived him on Feb. 9, 2020; MKG would sign a free agent contract two days later with the Dallas Mavericks.

Emeka Okafor, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2004 draft, had 3,516 rebounds before he was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans on July 28, 2009.

A different kind of draft – the team’s expansion draft of 1988 – produced the franchise leaders in games (Dell Curry with 781) and assists (Muggsy Bogues 5,557).

out of the 65 draft picks in team history, 15 were a part of draft night trades, among them all-time Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant, former University of North Carolina standout Brandon Wright and current NBA standout standouts Tobias Harris (Philadelphia 76ers) and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Oklahoma City Thunder).

The Bryant trade continues to be one of the most misunderstood in franchise history.

It came in the summer of 1996 when Lakers general manager Jerry West was determined to clear cap space to sign upcoming Orlando Magic free agent Shaquille O’Neal and was intrigued by Bryant’s future prospects as a high schooler.

At the time, few high school players made an impact – Bryant didn’t become a star until his second NBA season – and West offered Lakers center Vlade Divac in trade to several teams before Charlotte made the deal with their No. 13 overall pick. Bryant’s agent, Arn Tellem, had told teams that were interested in the deal that if they didn’t made the trade for Divac, his client would play overseas, though Bryant later disputed that story.

Divac came to Charlotte and helped the Hornets to the two best regular season records in franchise history – 54-28 in 1997 and 51-31 in 1998 – before leaving the franchise to sign with the Sacramento Kings via free agency.

Here’s a list of all-time records by Hornets draft picks:

Most years with Hornets
1 (tie). Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 8
1 (tie). Kemba Walker 8
3. Cody Zeller 7
4 (tie). J.R. Reid 6
4 (tie). Gerald Henderson 6
4 (tie). Bismack Biyombo 6

Most games with Hornets
1. Kemba Walker 605
2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 433
3. Cody Zeller 419
4. Raymond Felton 399
5 (tie). Bismack Biyombo 391
5 (tie). Gerald Henderson 391

Most starts with Hornets
1. Kemba Walker 560
2. Larry Johnson 372
3. Raymond Felton 369
4. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 356
5. Emeka Okafor 326

Most points with Hornets
1. Kemba Walker 12,009
2. Larry Johnson 7,405
3. Raymond Felton 5,311
4. Gerald Henderson 4,701
5. Emeka Okafor 4,630

Most rebounds with Hornets
1. Emeka Okafor 3,516
2. Larry Johnson 3,479
3. Cody Zeller 2,496
4. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 2,388
5. Kemba Walker 2,317

Most assists with Hornets
1. Kemba Walker 3,308
2. Raymond Felton 2,573
3. Baron Davis 1,605
4. Larry Johnson 1,553
5. D.J. Augustin 1,248