The 2016 Charlotte Hornets are exactly what you think. An exciting, young bunch with the capability to stick with most teams in the NBA because of the great defensive play. This team is very similar to last year and has added some key pieces, plus, they get MKG back from injury. In the playoffs against Miami, the Hornets saw the need for a rim protector while getting absolutely dominated by Hassan Whiteside. Adding Roy Hibbert as that piece may be huge. It’s a no loss situation for the Hornets here. A cheap one-year deal has nothing but upside. Hibbert is coming here to resurrect his career and we should see some decent play from the top guy off the bench. Marco Belinelli is another interesting piece for this team. Sitting with a late first round pick in the draft last year, Charlotte saw nothing of value. They shipped the pick off and got Belinelli in return. This team shot the lights out of the ball last year and was one of the top teams in the East in 3s per game.
Projected Starting Lineup
Key Bench Players (most important first)
Kemba Walker the All-Star?
Kemba put up a career year last year (21 PPG, 5+ APG, and 4+ RPG). He was one of the first guys off the All-Star team last year. He increased his 3P% by over 7% year over year and increased his FG% to 42.7%. This is a player that is turning into a star in this league. He has made the team around him better. With the addition of Nic Batum to this team, Kemba has been able to flourish with his natural ability to create with or without the ball.
Are any moves coming for the Hornets?
I think GM Rich Cho made it known to the league where he stands with this team. He believes that this team can compete. Now. Trading his first round pick for a historically decent three point shooter says it all; we don’t need to get younger at this point. Cho wants to build this team with the pieces they have and let them gel the way successful teams do. He doesn’t want to disrupt the core if necessary. I don’t see any big moves this year for this team but don’t be surprised to hear some rumblings. I could see some Rudy Gay rumblings in the near future. A prolific scorer off the bench would be phenomenal on a team with the athletic wing defenders they currently have (MKG and Batum). They upgraded defensively with Hibbert as its rim protector. MKG and Batum are lock down, long defenders, and everyone else buys into Steve Clifford’s defensive philosophy. The team had no trouble scoring last year with its starting five. The missing piece is a key scorer off the bench to run the second unit. Rudy Gay could be up for sale in Sacramento by the deadline.
This team has the capabilities of being a top 4 team in the East. Do I see it? No. I see this team as a playoff team though. I expect this team to end up with a 5/6 seed and make a little run in the playoffs. I anticipate this team winning a playoff series and then getting bounced in the second round.