The Hornets likely would have picked shooting guard PJ Hairston if they stayed put at No. 24, but they managed to trade down and still get their man. Sending No. 24 to Miami for No. 26 and a second-rounder, they’re doing a good job of milking every ounce of value out of this draft.
Hairston has a bit of a troubled past, with UNC dismissing him after he was arrested on a misdemeanor marijuana charge, but the talent is there and he’s an excellent fit. He spent last season with the D-League’s Texas Legends, shooting 36% from three on an eye-popping 7.8 attempts a game. At 6’5″, he has good size, and he’s athletic and strong enough that he has potential to be more than just a shooter. Like Gerald Henderson, he could be able to shift to small forward in a pinch, too.
If you ignore the reason why he was there, you can probably view his time in the D-League as a bonus. Playing in a professional system and atmosphere will have him well-prepared for the NBA, and he should be a solid contributor off the bench right away. For a team that desperately needs shooting from the wing, a polished and ready player is a great get.
You can debate his maturity and decision-making below if you’d like, but he’ll be joining what seems to be a dedicated and cohesive locker room. With the 26th pick, a team like that can take a chance on a player that’s made some mistakes.
It’s been a pretty great draft so far.