Hornets Mock Draft Roundup: Charlotte surrounds LaMelo Ball with athletes

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With the NBA Finals wrapping up on Tuesday, the next thing on the docket on the NBA calendar is the 2021 NBA Draft on July 29. As a result, a handful of mock drafts have come out in recent days with more and more possibilities.

For Charlotte, athleticism was the common theme for their draft picks. As the team looks to fully unlock LaMelo Ball offensively, pairing him with athletes and shooters looks to be the route they could take.

The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie had Charlotte taking Moses Moody, a sharpshooting wing out of Alabama:

“I’ve gone Moody, whom teams are excited about. Why? Because he was a productive college player that fills a genuine 3-and-D need next to LaMelo Ball long-term. I’m a big fan of Moody’s shot making and think this would be about as perfect a fit as you’ll find.”

For Sports Illustrated, Jeremy Woo projected the Hornets to grab some size in big man Kai Jones:

“They do have an obvious need for a young big, and Jones could be available to them here as an attractive option. Jones’ potential to knock down jumpers, finish lobs and protect the paint—coupled with unusual athletic gifts and skill flashes—make him one of the higher-upside options on the board in this part of the lottery. He never an especially consistent producer at Texas, and will still be very much a project for whoever drafts him. This is likely the very high end of Jones’ range, which runs into the teens, but he’s a pretty seamless hypothetical fit in Charlotte, where he’d likely benefit from playing as a lob target for LaMelo Ball.”

CBS Sports’ Colin Ward-Henninger also had the Hornets taking an athletic player at a different position in wing Keon Johnson:

“Charlotte needs athletes flanking LaMelo Ball on the break, and you won’t find a better one in this draft than Keon Johnson, who set the NBA Draft Combine record with a 48-inch vertical leap. He’s a bit rough around the edges, but there’s enough potential there to see Johnson eventually becoming a reliable offensive player in the halfcourt. Johnson said that his shooting consistency has improved since his college season ended, and that will be the key to his ceiling in the NBA.”

Lastly, NBC Sports’ Adam Herman also slated Charlotte to take Johnson with the No. 11 pick:

“An insanely springy athlete with Matisse Thybulle-like defensive potential for disruption, Johnson feels like a natural fit to slide in next to LaMelo Ball and sprint down the floor catching lobs for the half-decade. His shooting needs work, but it’s harder to teach explosive athleticism than it is a repetitive three-point shot.”

However the Hornets go about doing it, the clear focus is to build around LaMelo Ball with this selection.