Is Mitch McGary Already the Charlotte Hornets Pick at 24

Have the Hornets Already Promised the 24 Pick to Mitch McGary?

(USATSI)

(USATSI)

If you’re inclined to believe the people ESPN’s draft expert Chad Ford is listening to, then it seems that way.

To be fair, the word “promised” wasn’t typed. But if Cho got to McGary and convinced him not to showcase his talents elsewhere then that is essentially the implication. Now let’s everyone take a deep breath and we’ll talk through this calmly assuming it is true. First we’ll hear from the gentleman in the P.J. Hairston half UNC-half Texas Legends jersey…

REALLY?! McGary? Where in the blue hell did this come from?

It makes sense if you listen to what Head Coach Steve Clifford wants.

From Rick Bonnell

“The going-small thing will win you a game here or there, but you’re going nowhere,” Clifford said this spring. “If you’re trying to build a team game for the playoffs, why do it?”

Clifford wants to get bigger on the perimeter but he also wants size inside. McGary at nearly 6’11″ and 266 is a big boy but he’s also swift on his feet. He wasn’t known for a brutal, slow back-down game at Michigan but instead for a pick and roll, quick two man game. He can also run the floor and score in transition. That’s not a skill to turn a nose up to with a true center especially with one that weighs in at 266.

This also makes sense if you believe…

This is a lie! A great big lie!

Nothing that comes from a team source or player camp can be taken too seriously around draft time. Players are vying for certain teams or draft positions. Teams are feigning interest or disinterest in order to drum up trade talks. Our general manager is a master of puppets when it comes to draft day trades so this could all be hogwash. OR this could be completely true but McGary has been promised to another team at 24 in some kind of trade scenario. Here’s what we know:

  • A lot of GMs still have the memory of McGary dominating the NCAA tournament competition in 2013 dancing in their heads.
  • After sitting out with back issues and recreational issues, McGary was eager to showcase his talents to teams and raise his stock.
  • He worked out for Milwaukee last Friday.
  • He hasn’t worked out for any other team or taken a physical since. (Which is weird unless someone gave you a draft promise ring.)
  • McGary has been projected out as a fringe first rounder, to be taken 24 would be a big step up for the big man.

Okay, say we take him and we keep him. What are we getting?

mcgary2That’s a great question. One I don’t know if anybody has a clear answer too. If they tell you they know…they don’t know. He was a decent contributor his freshman season at Michigan but certainly not dominant, until the tournament started that is. He turned in two 20-10 games that were a rebound a piece away from being two 20-15 games. He nearly had a triple double in the semifinals. He was a rebounding, stealing, interior passing, pick and rolling machine and people were salivating for the 2014 encore.

Unfortunately for McGary and his fans, eight games into the 13-14 season he was sidelined with back pain that turned into back surgery. While he was sidelined he tested positive for marijuana which effectively ended what was looking like an impending junior season at Michigan.

You can pile the questions up table-high. Did the surgery work? How has it affected his game? Were his muted stats at the beginning of the 13-14 season a result of the back pain or deficiencies in his game?

I’m scared…

You should and you shouldn’t be. Yes, McGary is unpolished. His stats and his game were both erratic during his short stay at Michigan. His defensive, side to side athleticism is a big question mark as it normally is with guys his build. His offense is heavily dependent on someone working with him, as he doesn’t possess those killer one-on-one post moves we’ve come to love from Al Jefferson.

BUT…and this is a big but…a McGary sized but…he’s a project drafted with a house-money late first round pick playing a position in which we are solidly equipped. He would learn from one of the best in the league in Al Jefferson. He wouldn’t be forced into a large rotation role until it was time to sign that second deal. Guys in the late first first round and second round are, in general, crap shoots. Why not take a flyer on a guy with undeniable size and the capability to be dominant on a big stage. A lot of people that have looked at McGary have said something to the effect of, “He’s a big question mark, but if he pans out, the league better watch out.” If your team is going to take a risk, isn’t that the kind of risk you want them to take? If you want to get bigger, you have to take big risks.

Want more draft info and profiles? Listen TONIGHT (Wednesday) at 7pm for live profiles on some of our draft prospects and get more info on Mitch McGary, only on Hive Talk Live.

Doug Branson
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