The NBA Draft Lottery is Tuesday, and on Thursday the Charlotte Hornets got their first chance of the offseason to scout players who they might choose to select in next month’s draft.
The Hornets hosted six players Thursday at Spectrum Center for pre-draft workouts as they try to find the missing pieces that can help them make the playoffs for the first time in six seasons. This past season, Charlotte played its first postseason game since 2015-16, losing to the Indiana Pacers in the playoff’s play-in tournament.
Players who attended the Hornets’ Thursday workout are Armando Bacot (UNC), Jalen Crutcher (Dayton), Chandler Vaudrin (Winthrop), Yves Pons (Tennessee), Naziah Carter (Washington) and Marcus Carr (Minnesota).
Charlotte made significant roster additions last offseason, first by signing free agent Gordon Hayward to a three-year deal. Then they drafted point guard LaMelo Ball No. 3 overall by virtue of the lottery helping Charlotte move up from eighth in the selection order to third. It broke a 21-year streak of bad lottery luck.
The greatest need for Hornets coach James Borrego and general manager Mitch Kupchak is to find a center who can provide much-needed post defense while still contributing on the offensive end.
The Hornets were in fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings as late as April 10 before a series of injuries derailed their season. Most notably, Ball fractured his wrist March 20 and didn’t return until May 1; Hayward sprained his ankle in a win over the Pacers on April 2 and was sidelined the remainder of the season.
From April 14 to May 15, the Hornets held onto the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference before finally falling to ninth on the final day of the season. That change in the standings required them to win two games in the play-in tournament to reach the playoffs, but they were one-and-done after the loss to the Pacers.