Michael Jordan as a player could be argued as the NBA’s greatest winner. Six NBA finals and six NBA finals victories with dominating performance after dominating performance led to Jordan being the greatest player to ever play the game.
Unfortunately, as an NBA owner success has not always translated. Jordan has not been shy in trying to acquire talent and make the Hornets a playoff team. However, the success just has not come.
Last season was a promising start as the team started 19-15 and was in a playoff position. The next 26 games destroyed their season. In January and February the Hornets went a combined 7-19 and dropped out of playoff consideration.
A frustrating finish to a solid beginning.
The Hornets went out and made a few moves in hopes of becoming a better team and compete for a playoff position. Jordan does not want to tank a season away again.
Here’s how the Hornets will lineup for the 2017-2018 season:
PG: Kemba Walker
SG: Nicolas Batum
SF – Michael Kidd – Gilchrist
PF – Marvin Williams
C – Dwight Howard – Acquired in trade with Atlanta Hawks
Kemba Walker made his first All Star team last season as he put up his best statistical season to date. Walker averaged a career high 23.9 points per game to go along with 5.5 assists per game. Walker shot a career high 44.3% from the field, 39.9% from three and 84.7% from the free throw line. Expect another All Star season for Walker this season.
Nicolas Batum has been a solid fit next to Walker in the Hornets offense. Batum provides a secondary play maker in the starting lineup. Batum scored 15.1 points per game to go along with 6.2 rebounds and 5.9 assists. Batum is a do it all guard who has been an underrated player most of his career.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is the teams best defender. The player tasked with defending the oppositions best player. Kidd – Gilchrist returned last year from a major injury and appeared in 81 games. His shooting is still a mess but is a good enough defender to see heavy minutes.
Marvin Williams has been a solid stretch four during his tenure. Williams has shot above 35% from three in each of his three seasons in Charlotte. He’ll continue to be the starter moving forward.
Dwight Howard has developed a bad reputation as of late and the Atlanta Hawks basically gave him away from free after one season of a three year deal. Howard is a shell of his former self but is still a large body to protect the paint. Howard still averaged 13 points and 13 rebounds last season. That production will be welcomed in Charlotte.
PG – Michael Carter – Williams – Free Agent
PG – Briante Weber
SG – Malik Monk – Draft Pick
SG – Jeremy Lamb
SG – Treveon Graham
SF – Dwayne Bacon – Draft Pick
PF – Frank Kaminsky
PF – Johnny O’Bryant
C – Cody Zeller
Michael Carter-Williams has failed to live up to his rookie season in which he was the rookie of the year. Carter-Williams joins his fourth team in five seasons and may be his last shot at a role in the league. He should be a quality backup behind Kemba Walker.
Briante Weber is havoc defender filled with high energy and intensity. The VCU grad has been an all star and all defensive player in the D-League and has had brief stints in the NBA. This will be the first time he breaks camp on a roster.
Malik Monk was taken with the 11th overall pick. Monk may have been the best shooter in the draft class and will be given a green light as an instant offense player off the bench. His defense is still limited which will hurt the amount of minutes he sees.
Jeremy Lamb role has been put into question with the addition of Malik Monk. Lamb had his best season last year but minutes will now be hard to come by. Lamb could be used as trade bait as the season gets closer.
Treveon Graham is another VCU grad who was apart of the “havoc defense” style of play. Graham appeared in 27 games last season with the Hornets and should be used as a depth body this season.
Dwayne Bacon was taken with the 40th overall pick out of Florida State. Bacon should be a second rounder who plays a significant amount of minutes over the course of the NBA season.
Frank Kaminsky has been a solid role player in Charlotte. Kaminsky appeared in 75 games and starting 16 while averaging 11.7 points per game. His shot selection needs to improve as his shooting percentages declined in his second season compared to his rookie one.
Johnny O’Bryant is nothing but an additional big on the roster. O’Bryant will not see much playing time unless injuries decimate the lineup.
Cody Zeller was the former fourth overall pick and had a career season last year. Zeller put up 10.3 points to go along with 6.5 rebounds. Zeller has improved his defense game too averaging both a steal and a block per game. He will be coming off the bench this season behind Howard.
The Hornets should be a playoff team this upcoming season. Trades and departures of star players to the Western Conference has opened up playoff spots in the East.
Teams such as Indiana, Chicago and Atlanta are expected to take a step back. Dwight Howard can still be a productive player and is a talent upgrade for the Hornets.
As long as Walker continues to progress and Batum provides a steady season next to him, Charlotte has the capability of being a top 6 team in the East.