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NBA Speed Dating: Charlotte Hornets

At least he won’t be a Bobcat

Tyrese Haliburton is a young bachelor, in terms of NBA employment. A slew of potential suitors are lining up nicely for him in the NBA draft lottery. His partner will be determined on draft day, November 18, 2020. For now, we’ll speed date around the NBA teams finding the best fit for our beloved point guard, and which team he could end up with, for years to come. So spritz that cologne, floss those teeth, and work on your pick up lines. It’s speed-dating time.

I sat down with Chase Whitney of At The Hive to discuss.

Dylan- Just to make readers aware, the Hornets have the 3rd pick in the draft which is a few picks higher than even the most optimist mock draft has Tyrese Haliburton listed. This means the Hornets would probably have to trade down for a Tyrese pick to make sense. Do you like where the Hornets are at with the third pick, or would you be ok with them dropping down a few picks?

Chase- The Hornets got some lottery luck and improved their pick from its draft odds for the first time ever, and of course it’s in a “bad draft,” but 3rd is still a good spot. My dream scenario is the Hornets picking whoever is left between LaMelo Ball and Georgia’s Anthony Edwards, but if both are gone, Killian Hayes would be the fall-back option. I wouldn’t be *that* opposed to dropping back, but I’m not sure teams will be offering fair value to move up this year. Haliburton fits on nearly any team, though. Spot-up shooting with range, pick-and-roll playmaking and aggressiveness in passing lanes on D in a 6’5” frame with room to add strength is pretty easy to work with.

Dylan- The Hornets are in rebuilding mode, and are mostly made up of young prospects. A former Big 12 guard, Devonte’ Graham, had a breakout season of sorts last year, but Terry Rozier isn’t exactly playing like a $20 million dollar player. Does a Graham/Haliburton backcourt make sense, and who do you think would be better off playing point guard out of those 2?

Chase- I’ve long thought that Terry Rozier’s ideal role is a sixth man 3-point specialist that has limited playmaking responsibilities, so a Graham/Haliburton starting backcourt makes sense to me. Both are apt pick-and-roll playmakers that can execute the passes (wrap-around, corner kicks, jump passes) necessary to find each other (and PJ, Miles, Terry, etc.) for open spot-up threes. Hornets head coach James Borrego is a creative guy so I’m not sure one guy would be the full-time point guard on offense, though Haliburton would be defending the bigger guards since Graham is 6’1.

Dylan- The Hornets have some good pieces. Graham as I already mentioned, and young front court players in Miles Bridges and PJ Washington have shown flashes too. What are the Hornets missing the most on their roster?

I love Devonte’, PJ, Miles and Malik Monk, and even Cody Martin, Jalen McDaniels and Caleb Martin have shown flashes of being future role-players. The Hornets are really missing that #1 option and franchise centerpiece, though. They need their Trae Young, Ja Morant, Zion Williamson, Jayson Tatum, Bam Adebayo, or Luka Doncic. They could use some interior defensive presence too, but that’’s only a real issue once they’re competitive.

Dylan- Are the Hornets all in on drafting a center, like Wiseman, this year?

Chase- Hornets GM Mitch Kupchak has said a few times that they aren’t focusing at all on position in this draft, and that they plan on taking the best player available. The team is too early in the rebuild to draft for position, and I think he feels the same way. I’m not a huge fan of Wiseman personally, but if they insist on getting a center I hope they either wait until the 32nd pick or trade back a few spots and get Onyeka Okongwu out of USC.

Dylan- When Tyrese Haliburton becomes the next Kemba Walker, how many years until Charlotte’s front office incompetence drives him out to sign with another team?

Chase- Well Kemba made it eight years, but with the way the “player (agent) empowerment” movement is going, I’d say six before a trade is requested. Six more years of a young Kemba sounds like fun, too…

Dylan- The Hornets have a young roster, like I said but I think the expectations are still pretty low for the next season. Who would win in a 7 game series between this coming years Hornets, or the infamous 2011-2012 Bobcats team? Also, for those who don’t know, can you put into words how bad that Bobcats team was?

Chase- Easily this year’s Hornets team, probably in a four-game sweep. Thankfully, I was young and couldn’t comprehend basketball in 2011 so I can’t really describe it but I will say that the Bobcats “shrine” in the Spectrum Center (I think it’s on the second level) is among the saddest things I’ve ever seen in my life. The Bobcats days are not remembered fondly in Charlotte

Post-Date Thoughts- This date went well. You won’t find many Hornets games on prime time TV next year, but don’t be surprised if you see articles in the coming months about how the Hornets could be dangerous in 3-4 years. The same articles were written about the Denver Nuggets in 2016-2017 for example. Tyrese probably isn’t going to be ‘the guy’, as Chase alluded to, that the Hornets need, but he could be a really solid piece on this team. There’s some teams in the lottery, T-Wolves, Warriors, Wizards, where they already have top level talent. This usually means higher expectations, and a bigger magnifying glass on their younger players. Charlotte gives Tyrese plenty of time to develop into the great NBA player that he could become.

Also, let’s just be thankful he won’t have to wear those ugly rust orange and blue Bobcat jerseys if he gets drafted to Queen City.