2014 Draft Review

by Tyler Blackshaw
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(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Charlotte Hornets
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With the 9th Pick in the 2014 NBA Draft the newly named Charlotte Hornets selected Noah Vonleh, a Power Forward out of Indiana.

This is the 2nd year in a row that Charlotte has selected a Hoosier big man with their first overall picks; they drafted Cody Zeller in 2013.

In most mock drafts Noah Vonleh, a defensive gem with a quality shot from outside, was a Top-5 pick and is an excellent steal for the Hornets at 9. The 18 year old will provide insurance in case Charlotte in unable to re-sign Josh McRoberts and could push Zeller for a position in the starting lineup.

Here are 5 things you may not know about Charlotte’s first pick:

  1. He posted the 2nd largest hand measurement in Combine history. His 11.75 inches came in second only to Chicago Bulls’ PF, Greg Smith, who measured in at a full foot. That’s correct, a true foot hand.
  2. At just 18 years old, Vonleh was the youngest player in the entire draft. This seems to be a trend for Charlotte as both Bismack Biyombo Michael Kidd-Gilchrest were also the youngest in their respective drafts. Noah won’t turn 19 until late August.
  3. In his first and only season at Indiana University, Vonleh lead the Big 10 in rebounding, finished third in field goal percentage, and was 8th in blocks. His outstanding numbers prompted him to become the Big 10 Freshman of the Year.
  4. At 14 years old on a family vacation to Disney World, Noah insisted on foregoing the fun and games at “The Most Magical Place on Earth” and opted for a local YMCA basketball court. For 5 days while his family was enjoying the Orlanda amusement parks, young Noah was having a blast playing basketball for hours with complete strangers. Safe to say that this guy can be considered a gym rat.
  5. The most common pro-comparison for Vonleh is Miami All-Star, Chris Bosh. Vonleh has the ability to stretch the floor by shooting outside, protect the rim on defense, and is quick enough to defend the pick-and-roll. All qualities that have made Bosh into 9x All-Star.

The Hornets also controlled the 24th pick and chose Shabazz Napier, the point guard behind UConn’s magical National Championship run. Napier has drawn comparisons, for obvious reasons; to Charlotte’s own PG, Kemba Walker.

The two played together on Connecticut’s championship team in 2011 as well. However, Charlotte swapped this pick with the Miami Heat for P.J. Hairston, a shooting guard out of the NBA D-league. The Heat vied for this trade almost immediately after LeBron James tweeted that Shabazz Napier was his favorite player in the draft. Strange how that works.

P.J. Hairston, a Greensboro native, originally played at UNC but was suspended in 2013 for accepting some illegal benefits. Hairston went on to prepare for the draft by playing for the Texas Legend’s in the NBA D-League.

If not for the suspension and some other legal complications, Hairston likely would have been a lottery pick. He has great athleticism and size for a shooting guard and has one of the best outside shots in the draft.

His outside scoring capability is a huge plus for Charlotte, who finished in the bottom third of all teams in three point shooting.

Here are 5 things you may not know about Charlotte’s second pick:

  1. Hairston is the first player ever who was chosen in the first round out of the NBA Developmental League.
  2. Coming out of high school, P.J. was a McDonald’s All-American and was considered the 13th best player in his recruiting class. Coincidentally, one spot ahead of current Hornet, Cody Zeller.
  3. From freshman to junior year, Hairston went to the same high school, Dudley High School in Greensboro, as Hornets’ big man Brendan Haywood. He then transferred to Hargrave Military Academy for his senior year where several NBA and NFL stars have played. Alumni include: Josh Smith, David West, Tory Holt, Quinton Coples, and former Bobcats’ coach Larry Brown.
  4. At Dudley High School, Hairston set a school record with 53 points in a single game.
  5. P.J. Hairston finished 4th in points per game in the NBA D-League and tied for second in for three pointers per game.

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