No. 52 pick: Jalen McDaniels
Stop me if you’ve heard this before. The Hornets used a draft pick on a wing player that has upside, good defensive skills and a lot to work on. With pick No. 52, Kupchak and company chose to go with Jalen McDaniels out of San Diego State.
To his credit, McDaniels showed improvements in his ball-handling skills and playmaking ability in his sophomore year. He ended the season averaging 15.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.
But, yet again, the Hornets have another project on their hands, and this one comes with a little bit of baggage.
The Hornets don’t expect McDaniels to face any criminal charges, but according to the link above, he did some unsavory things back in 2016.
Late round picks in the second round are usually dart throws and big risks, but this seems to be a risk in the wrong waym even though Kupchak doesn’t seem to be phased by the situation.
From a basketball standpoint, there is some decent 3-and-D upside with McDaniels. He has a better frame than Martin, standing at 6’9″ and has a 7’0″ wingspan. If he can prove to hit his perimeter shots in the NBA, he could be well worth the project for the Hornets.
The Ringer notes that he “has good form, soft touch on floaters, and the ability to hit shots off movement.” If he can stay aggressive on the floor and adjust to the NBA game quickly, he could have a shot at cracking the Hornets’ rotation at some point.