The Charlotte Hornets drafted Brooklyn-bred guard James Bouknight with the No. 11 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft on Thursday evening.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted that the Hornets got “a surprise” with Bouknight being available when the team picked.
Charlotte gets a surprise at No. 11: James Bouknight is available
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 30, 2021
What are other NBA experts saying about the 20-year-old who averaged 18.7 points per game during his sophomore year at UConn last season?
Before the Hornets took Bouknight, basketball analyst Jay Bilas said Charlotte needed some shooting to go along with pass-first point guard LaMelo Ball.
“I think he can really shoot it,” Bilas said after the Hornets selected Bouknight.
Mike Schmitz, an NBA Draft analyst who works for ESPN, called Bouknight “a really explosive scorer” and a guy who can play on all three levels — meaning he can get to the rim and shoot mid-range and 3-point shots efficiently.
Out of all the players in this year’s draft, Bouknight has one of the best “step-back games,” Schmitz said.
Jeff Borzello, a college basketball insider for ESPN, tweeted that Bouknight was a steal at 11.
“A LaMelo Ball-James Bouknight backcourt. Sign me up,” he said.
A LaMelo Ball-James Bouknight backcourt. Sign me up. Steal at 11.
— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) July 30, 2021
Mitch Kupchak, Hornets general manager, said the team was surprised that Bouknight fell.
“We got a player we graded much higher,” Kupchak said. “Coincidentally, he does fill a need in the backcourt.”
Bouknight at UConn was at times like Tom Hanks in “Cast Away,” Jon Rothstein, a college basketball insider for CBS Sports tweeted.
“On an NBA Team? He’ll be like Tom Cruise in a ‘A Few Good Men’ — operating with a LOADED supporting cast,” he said.
James Bouknight at UConn was at times like Tom Hanks in Cast Away.
On an NBA team?
He'll be like Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men --- operating with a LOADED supporting cast.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) July 30, 2021
Alex Bazzell, NBA and WNBA skills coach, tweeted that Bouknight is a top-five talent based on the two days he spent with him.
“Will be an All-Star,” he said.