With news and reports coming out of Charlotte. The backup point guard position seems to be a key priority for the team after GM Rich Cho told Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer that the second unit needs more answers and the No. 11 overall pick should provide one of them. “One thing we feel like we were really lacking last year, where we took a step back, was the bench,” Cho said. “We need a backup point guard, we need another big, we could use another wing to do some more shooting.” I personally perfer to have two point guards that can run the offense and provide solid defensive play with the ability to find the net on the offensive zone.
In addition, they have Kemba Walker, who is the starter and clearly the best player on the team. They need to upgrade his backup. Ramon Sessions is a good backup, but he does not provide that punch that they are looking for. Expect the Hornets to decline his $6.27MM salary.
Now, if they decline Sessions option, you can see the team use that money on another player at the same position or at one of the other positions they need, as Cho said to Bonnell.
One free agent that they could target at the point guard position could be Patty Mills. The Spur is a unrestricted free agent and he will be talked about around the league. Teams would love to have his experience off their bench, ability to run an offense, and provide scoring from the bench.
Mills is a career backup, but a solid one that knows and accepts his role. In 80 games last year, he averaged 9.5 points per game and 3.5 assists per game. He did improve as a shooter, as he finished shooting 44 percent from the field and 41 percent from the three-point line.
Furthermore, if the Hornets do decide to attack the point guard position via the draft. They should take a long look at the possible point guards available with nameslike Frank Ntilikina (international prospect), Dennis Smith Jr (North Carolina State), or like a versatile guard in Donovan Mitchell from Louisville.
Interestingly, they have a chance on staying out at number 11 in the draft to select either Ntilikina or Mitchell, but they will have to trade up in the draft to land Smith Jr. The Hornets are high on Mitchell, as reported by Bonnell.
Finally, if they do draft someone here, I would take the versatile guard in Donovan Mitchell. He is ready to contribute to an NBA team, which is a bonus as Bonnell notes that, “The Hornets expect their lottery pick to jump right into the rotation.” The combo guard is a solid two-way player that can find the bucket.
Note: Mitchell fits the bill. He scored 15.6 points per game this past season.