When you get drafted in the NBA, especially in the first round, teams are expecting you to make an impact early on. Especially teams that picked a player in the lottery. These teams are looking for the next LeBron, the next KD, the next Steph Curry.
The Charlotte Hornets, with the 11th pick in this year’s draft, selected James Bouknight out of Connecticut. The question comes into play, will Bouknight make an impact with the Charlotte Hornets in his rookie season?
Before we get into the question, let’s look at the state of the Hornets. LaMelo Ball is the rightful face of the Charlotte Hornets as the starting point guard. The rest of the starting roster includes Terry Rozier, Gordon Hayward, Miles Bridges, and Mason Plumlee.
Also, you have to take into account PJ Washington, newly signed Kelly Oubre Jr., and Ish Smith, as well as draft picks Kai Jones, Scottie Lewis, and JT Thor as key figures off the bench. Not to mention guys like Nick Richards, Wes Iwundu, and Cody Martin who are all fighting for playing time as well.
Bouknight, the former UConn Huskie, played two seasons in Storrs earning an All-Big East Third Team and All-Freshman Team one year and becoming All-Big East First Team team this past season. Bouknight averaged 18.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game last season and led the Huskies to their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2016. Bouknight is considered to be a prolific shot creator and a capable defender who uses his quickness and length to contain the ball and defend shooters when he’s dialed in defensively.
All things considered, Bouknight should make his role clear on the Charlotte Hornets. He will start his career on the bench, benefiting from Terry Rozier as the starter. Bouknight was one of the positives for Charlotte during the Summer League and was one of the steals of the NBA Draft. Bouknight has a lot of promise and it showed during the Summer League games, but he is not quite ready to take that next step as a starting guard in the league.
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