Charlotte Hornets

Top 5 at each position in the NBA draft

Observer NBA writer Rick Bonnell’s position-by-position look at the candidates in Thursday’s draft:


Trey Burke, 6-1, Michigan: Dynamic performances in NCAA tournament pushed him up draft boards. But he’s small and not all that quick.

Michael Carter-Williams, 6-6, Syracuse: That rare 6-6 point guard (Shaun Livingston pre-knee injury), but must improve his jump shooting.

CJ McCollum, 6-3, Lehigh: More a scorer than a pure point guard, but can really break down defenses off the dribble.

Shane Larkin, 6-0, Miami: Had a great season against ACC competition. Good gene pool from that baseball-star dad.

Dennis Shroeder, 6-2, German pro: His 40 percent shooting from 3-point range is a handy tool with the NBA so much about spacing.


Ben McLemore, 6-5, Kansas: A strong regular season as a college freshman, but he somewhat disappeared in the NCAA tournament.

Victor Oladipo, 6-4, Indiana: A great motor and a superior defender. The question is how he’ll do over time at the offensive end.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, 6-6, Georgia: Good size and his 18.5 points per game scoring average makes for a resume.

Shabazz Muhammad, 6-6, UCLA: His one college season raised as many questions as it answered. Bad performance in NCAA loss to Minnesota.

Jamaal Franklin, 6-5, San Diego State: A really good athlete at a position where that is a premium. Fine leaping ability.


Otto Porter Jr., 6-8, Georgetown: Good size and a complete skill set to be an NBA small forward. As ready to play as any rookie in this class.

Sergey Karasev, 6-8, Russian pro: A young guy who already has a lot of NBA-level skill and acumen.

Tony Snell, 6-7, New Mexico: At 6-7 with good shooting range he could play either wing position at the NBA level.

Giannis Adetokoubo, 6-9, Greek pro

An oversized small forward at 6-9 with a reported 7-3 wingspan. Didn’t play the best competition in Europe.

Tim Hardaway Jr., 6-6, Michigan: Obviously benefited in exposure from the Final Four. Probably a late-first rounder.


Nerlens Noel, 7-0, Kentucky: Everything hinges on what the doctors think of his recovery from a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament.

Anthony Bennett, 6-8, UNLV: An inside-outside scorer with 3-point range. At 6-8 he’s a bit undersized for power forward in the NBA.

Cody Zeller, 7-0, Indiana: He showed 3-point shooting range in his Charlotte workout. But he needs to get into the weight room.

Mason Plumlee, 7-0, Duke: Improved significantly in his last season in Durham, but was severely outplayed by Maryland’s Alex Len head-to-head.

Lucas Nogueira, 7-0, Brazilian pro: Great size and footwork (a former soccer player). Needs work on that skill set.


Alex Len, 7-1, Maryland: Great size at 7-1. European background (he’s from the Ukraine) provided him ball skills (shooting, dribbling) American centers tend to lack.

Steven Adams, 7-0, Pittsburgh: Might be the big late riser in this draft. A 7-footer who runs well and will be a reliable rebounder.

Kelly Olynyk, 7-0, Gonzaga: There aren’t many true post scorers these days. Olynyk has that, plus a 7-footer’s size.

Gorgui Dieng, 6-11, Louisville

Spent most of his college career playing goalie at the back of the press. But he demonstrated more offense last season.

Jeff Withey, 7-0, Kansas: A good rim-protector with 7-foot size. He claims he’s more of an offensive threat than he demonstrated at Kansas.