With the 41st overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, the Charlotte Hornets selected guard Amari Bailey out of UCLA.
Bailey is an intriguing player this late in the draft. Similar to earlier selection Nick Smith Jr., Bailey was a five star recruit coming out of high school but didn’t quite match the hype in his freshman season. He averaged 11.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game. He shot 38.9% from three, but it was on very low volume and he converted just 69% of his free throw attempts. He’s got strong physical tools for a lead guard and was a very strong defender at UCLA.
He really helped himself at the NBA Combine. According to Jay Bilas on ESPN’s draft coverage, in just 40 minutes of game time, he scored 36 points and dished 14 assists across the two scrimmages. He showed more composure and playmaking ability in those scrimmages than he did at UCLA, so there’s some untapped potential there. He just needs to continue to grow as a a decision maker and gain more confidence in his outside shot.
Barring some unexpected trade back into the end of the draft, the Charlotte Hornets are done for the night except for maybe a couple of Exhibit 10 contracts to undrafted free agents. We’ll keep you posted.
Here’s an Amari Bailey highlight tape to whet your appetite.