2024 NBA Mock Draft: Blazers take game-changer, Spurs get star at 1

2024 NBA Draft, Ron Holland. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
2024 NBA Draft, Ron Holland. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /
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2024 NBA Draft
2024 NBA Draft, Donovan Clingan. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

8. Charlotte Hornets secure Donovan Clingan

The Hornets are a wild card in this draft. LaMelo Ball is their star, and the franchise just drafted Brandon Miller with the second overall pick. Beyond that Terry Rozier, P.J. Washington, and Mark Williams round out a young potential starting group with Rozier the only player over 25. An argument could be made for Charlotte to draft a wing, but they should go best player available with this pick.

Williams showed flashes as a rookie and a significant step forward in year two could eliminate their need at the five. Fouls have been an issue at times, and getting a solid defensive backup could do wonders for Charlotte, especially with their suspect defense on the perimeter.

Clingan returns to UConn for his second season where he expects to get more playing time on the defending NCAA champions. He earned just 13.1 minutes per game last season, but still produced 6.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks each night. The 7’2 big man with a 7’7 wingspan is a true rim deterrent and one of the best defenders in college basketball.

Donovan Clingan’s offensive game is limited. He is a traditional center who rebounds well, scores inside, and gets putbacks. Can he expand his skill set in year two? If not, teams will mostly be interested in his defense. The Hornets finished 20th in defensive rating last season and have struggled on that end since LaMelo Ball arrived in Charlotte. This could be their chance to change it.