1. Rui Hachimura
In sticking with the Gonzaga theme, the Hornets may be interested in Clarke’s teammate, forward Rui Hachimura, as well. A three-year player for the Bulldogs, Hachimura actually got his start in Japan. He rode the bench for his first two seasons, but broke out in a big way this season.
He went from scoring just 2.6 points per game in 2016-17 to 11.6 a night in 2017-18 to 19.7 points per contest this past season. Hachimura also accumulated 7.4 win shares, which was a top-10 mark in college basketball. That was partly due to shooting 59.1 percent from the floor, including 41.7 percent from beyond the arc.
Hachimura made a name for himself before getting to Gonzaga as well. In 2014 at the U17 World Championships, he was the leading scorer through seven games with 22.4 points per game. That included a 25-point performance against the United States team that featured Jayson Tatum and Josh Jackson, among others. Earlier this month, the Charlotte Observer‘s own Rick Bonnell was told Hachimura could fit in with this organization.
At 6’8″ and 230 pounds, Hachimura has the strength and length to defend almost any position on the court and should be a deadly shooter in the NBA. He’s already shown he could be an elite scorer, plus he has a little more seasoning on him that some of the other players on this list.
While there’s something to be said for having a high-upside pick, that type of pick also comes with risks. Hachiumra has improved every year at Gonzaga and there’s no reason to think he can’t do the same in the NBA. Sometimes a safe pick is better than one that could set back this team for another year or two while trying to keep Kemba happy.