Steve Clifford Reportedly Wanted The Hornets To Draft Donovan Mitchell Over Malik Monk

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It often takes years before we fully grasp all the ripple effects of one particular draft class. Lottery players sometimes turn out to be busts, and sometimes organizations catch lightning in a bottle with late second-round guys like Draymond Green. But the latter is the exception rather than the rule. You always want to be in the lottery if at all possible.

Yet even that doesn’t ensure it’ll work out in your favor. There are so many unforeseen factors involved. Guys get injured. Some guys turn out to be headcases. And every now and then, a truly transcendent talent comes seemingly out of nowhere and leaves everyone wondering how they did not recognize their brilliance and passed on them in the draft.

That was the case for the Charlotte Hornets last summer, when they passed up on a chance to select Donovan Mitchell with the No. 11 pick, opting instead to go with Malik Monk. Zach Lowe spoke to Jonathon Givony of Draft Express on his podcast recently, and both claimed that the Hornets decided to pass on Mitchell despite then-coach Steve Clifford‘s protestations.

Via The Lowe Post:

“Charlotte, I had them projected to take Donovan Mitchell,” Givony said. “Because I heard that Clifford was on the table in the war room saying, ‘We need to draft Donovan Mitchell.’ And he was overruled on that, and they took Malik Monk instead. And it’s interesting how that played out in hindsight.

“Cliff was 100 percent trying to get them to take Donovan Mitchell,” Lowe said.

Clifford was apparently overruled by then-GM Rich Cho (and/or Michael Jordan), and after another disappointing season in which the Hornets under-performed and failed to qualify for the postseason, both were summarily dismissed.

In fairness to Monk, it’s far too early to determine what type of career he’ll have. It’s just that Mitchell has so quickly turned into a surefire superstar that it’s difficult not to look back and think what might have been.

(The Lowe Post)