Mitch Kupchak joined the Hornets as the team’s new president of basketball operations and found himself in unfamiliar territory at the NBA draft lottery. The Lakers were a perennial playoff favorite for most of the 18 years Kupchak spent with the franchise, so the early draft picks were hardly ever on his radar.
Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes that Kupchak looked and felt out of place at the lottery. The new Hornets GM — who left the event with the 11th overall pick in this summer’s NBA draft — also expressed a goal for both his and the organization’s future.
“This was the first lottery and, I hope, the last lottery that I ever attend,” Kupchak said.
Kupchak added that he was more concerned with moving down from 11th than he was with moving up in the draft, as Charlotte only had a 2.9% chance at a top-three selection. Now, Kupchak and the Hornets will aim to use its positioning to pick the best player for the team. “We’ll obviously pursue all the options how to use the pick,” Kupchak said, “but right now, we’re going to concentrate on using the pick to pick a player.”
Check out more Southeast Division notes below:
- The Hawks, who own the third overall pick in the draft, are not opposed to trading down from the slot if the right offer presents itself, tweets Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders.
- If the Hawks keep their pick, Marvin Bagley III looks like an easy choice, assuming Luka Doncic is unavailable, Jonathan Givony said on The Woj Pod (via RealGM). “With Atlanta, you heard all along that Marvin Bagley was really their guy,” he said. “Potentially at two also, maybe even at one, I think they would have looked very hard at him. If he’s there at three, it’s an easy choice for them.”
- The Magic have been riding some hard luck in recent years and drawing the sixth overall pick in the draft was just the latest instance, Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel writes. Players such as Marvin Bagley III, Mohamed Bamba, and Luka Doncic will all likely be off the board when Orlando’s pick comes around.
- While those big names may not be available when their pick rolls around, the Magic still believe they will select an impact player at No. 6, NBA.com’s John Denton writes.