The Hornets are targeting former Memphis center James Wiseman in the draft and are willing to trade up to make sure they get him, two sources told Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Bonnell says the sources are with rival teams that hold top-10 picks.
Charlotte has an obvious need at center, with Cody Zeller as the only big man currently under contract for 2020/21. Bismack Biyombo and Willy Hernangomez are both free agents, and none of the three was able to seize the starting job last season.
The 7’1″ Wiseman is expected to be the top center off the board in the November 18 draft, with scouts raving about his combination of size and athleticism. Bonnell notes that the Hornets were last in the league in defensive rebounding percentage and are looking for a reliable rim protector. Wiseman averaged three blocks per game in his brief time at Memphis.
“High-ranking Charlotte decision-makers” recently watched Wiseman work out, tweets Ian Begley of SNY.tv.
Charlotte holds the No. 3 pick, behind the Timberwolves and Warriors, who also have interest in Wiseman, according to a report from Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Both teams appear willing to deal their picks, so there might be an opportunity for the Hornets. Bonnell notes that Charlotte can also offer the 32nd selection this year, along with future picks, and has plenty of young talent with six players on its roster who were in their first or second NBA season.
One of the sources told Bonnell that Georgia guard Anthony Edwards is the Hornets’ backup plan if they can’t move up to get Wiseman. Edwards would also fill a need, Bonnell observes, as Charlotte moved Terry Rozier to shooting guard last season after Dwayne Bacon fell out of the rotation. Charlotte owner Michael Jordan was seen last week at one of Edwards’ workouts.