Local talent ready for NBA Draft

Kentucky’s Rob Dillingham dunks during a game against Vanderbilt in March. Mock drafts have the Hickory native being the second UK player selected, but he’ll likely be taken before any UNC, Duke, NC State or Wake players go off the board. (James Crisp/AP Photo)

The 2024 NBA Draft is set to take place Wednesday, June 26 and Thursday, June 27.

The top of the draft is looking very French with many projecting fellow countrymen Zaccharie Risacher and Alex Sarr to go 1 and 2, following in the footsteps of last year’s number on Victor Wembanyama.


After that though, there’s a lot of good players and a lot of potential volatility.

Let’s take a look at what potentially the Charlotte Hornets will be looking to do at #6 and what local talents are projected to hear their name called.

Hornets Shouldn’t be Picky

Despite finishing with the third worst record in the league, the Hornets will be picking sixth overall in the draft after being leapfrogged in the Draft Lottery by the Atlanta Hawks (10th to 1st), Houston Rockets (12th to 3rd) and San Antonio Spurs (5th to 4th).

So what does Charlotte need?

Well, the better question would be what don’t the Hornets need as the team has struggled for years on both sides of the ball.

Obviously Brandon Miller is looking to be the real deal and ideally would be great alongside LaMelo Ball, but there’s legitimate concerns over Ball’s health and future availability with him having missed lengthy amounts of time fairly consistently and the guard depth for Charlotte is not great.

Then there’s a big need for a physical, interior defender with size, such as UConn center Donovan Clingan, but also quite a big hole for the Hornets on the wing.

Overall though, Charlotte can’t get caught up looking for a specific position or fit.

Instead, the Hornets should just look to pick the best talent available because with so many needs, just landing top talent is key.

The current odds on favorite for the sixth overall pick per BetMGM is UConn guard Stephon Castle at +350.

Local Products

Rob Dillingham – Kentucky (Hickory, NC)
Potential lottery pick

The freshman guard hailing from Hickory, NC is the second Wildcat player projected to be taken off the board with teammate Reed Shepard looking to go in the top five.

Dillingham is a big scoring threat having averaged 15.2 points all while getting just 23.3 minutes per game. He also averaged 3.9 assists, 2.9 rebounds and just 2.0 turnovers all while shooting 44.4% from beyond-the-arc.

There are concerns over his size and defensive capabilities as he’s just 6-foot-1 and 176-pounds, but the offensive upside that Dillingham showed has him as a potential lottery pick.

Jared McCain – Duke
Mid first-round/Border lottery pick

Another year, another Blue Devil one-and-done projected to go high in the draft.

The freshman guard averaged 14.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists and just 1.3 turnovers per game while shooting 46.2% from the field and 41.4% from 3-point range.

If there was just one thing that made McCain special, it would be his ability to just take over games.

McCain had multiple games where he looked unstoppable, making every shot no matter how tough, however, the freshman also had multiple games where the shot just wouldn’t fall.

Leveling out those valleys will be one of his big areas to work on, but the potential upside with the California native remains high.

Kyle Filipowski – Duke
Late first round/Second round pick

There’s a lot of things to like about a player like Filipowski who stands at nearly 7-feet tall and his full package of shooting, passing and dribbling.

The Blue Devil sophomore is a unique and versatile forward and his offensive upside makes him a more-than-likely first rounder.

Filipowski averaged 16.4 points while shooting 50.5% and also had 8.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.5 blocks per game.

However, there are questions on where he might fall in the draft due to concerns over his compete level and ability to make the transition to a more physical league.

Harrison Ingram – UNC
Second round pick

It was a huge season for Ingram at Chapel Hill as he proved just how valuable of a support player he can be.

The 6-foot-5 forward was a rebounding machine, averaging 8.8 boards per game with 2.6 of them being off the offensive glass.

Ingram also showed huge growth as a defender with 1.4 steals per game to just 1.4 turnovers.

While he did improve almost all his numbers this year, his relatively spotty shooting numbers and weak free throw percentage (61.2%) leave a bit to be desired.

However, he could be a good role player for the right team.