Is it Safe to Come out of Hiding Hornets Fans?

Here we are, smack dab in the middle of the NBA off-season and I just now feel like my Hornets hangover from last season is gone. Last year was a rough one for me, the talk of trading Kemba mixed with disappointing play from guys who were relied upon on big money deals made the season difficult to enjoy. The team fired just about everyone and I thought we were witnessing the beginning of  yet another rebuild. All the ingredients were there, overpaid role players who were underachieving, A new General Manager and a Rookie head coach made me think this was it. However, this new group has chosen ( To the disappointment of many) to go all in one more time with this current core group with some slight changes to roster and play style.

Gone is Dwight Howard and whatever issues he brought on and off the court. Gone is Nic Batum the Shooting Guard, according to him via twitter. It appears that he will be returning back to the small forward position this year. Which brings up the question of what this means for MKG, it appears his starting days are likely over. The Batum position switch also explains them not extending a qualifying offer to Treveon Graham, who showed flashes last year as a 3 and D guy off the bench, but with the abundance of guys at the small forward spot, the team decided to move on. The Hornets also moved on from MCW in probably the most obvious decision in sports in the last 100 years. Wish nothing but the best for Carter-Williams, but that dude needed to go. The Hornets also briefly added Timofey Mozgov, who they got in the D12 trade, but quickly sent him packing when they came to their senses.

The Hornets have added some quality young pieces this off-season via the Draft in Miles Bridges and Devonte Graham. Adding these guys to the Hornets developing young core of Dwayne Bacon, Malik Monk and Willy Hernangomez give the team a boost of youth and young talent fans have not seen in some time. Monk showed some flashes in the first summer league game, but suffered a broken thumb which will sideline him for about 2 months. I think the sleeper among this group is Devonte, the local kid from nearby Raleigh has shown early his ability to make good decisions with the ball and make shots from inside and out while showing himself to be a scrappy defender. Its early yet, but he looks like he could be a second round steal for the Hornets.

The Hornets added a familiar face in the Mozgov deal. Biz is back in Charlotte and the energetic yet stone handed big man will likely be the third center in the rotation, but considering how hard it has been for Cody Zeller to stay healthy, he fills an important depth role and can be used as a rim defender against match-ups where Hernangomez gives up too many pounds down low.  His contract is ugly as they get, 17 million guaranteed per year for 2 seasons, but Mozgov is older, slower and was likely not going to be able to play in new coach James Borrego’s up tempo system. Plus, the scouting report says his bench celebrations showed a lack of heart and creativity, and I just cant tolerate that.

The final addition (so far) is the signing of Tony Parker……..Ummmmmm, I am still not really sure how I feel about this one. I see the idea of bringing in the veteran point guard who is familiar with the new coach and is friends with your highest paid player in Nic Batum but I have some concerns. First off, old Tony is just that….OLD. At 36 I have to wonder how much is left in the tank coming off two injury riddled seasons. I also question the fit along side Malik Monk off the bench. At 6 foot 2 and under 200 pounds, which of those guys defends the bigger guard on the opposing team? Finally I question the contract, which at 2 years/ 10 million which appears to be fully guaranteed is one of the more lucrative contracts signed this off season for point guards.

I really don’t know how I feel about this squad at this very moment. I see things that give me hope like the young core and Kemba still being here. However I still see so many questions with fit and lack of overall talent. I also don’t think Mitch is ready to call it quits on shaping this roster for next season, and have a feeling we will see either MKG or Barstool Frank shipped out to loosen up minutes for some of the younger guys. Bottom line is this, I’m getting excited for next year, even though we could be 11th in the East or 3rd.

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Dwight Howard Comments on BBTB Instagram Post About if He is Enough to Get Hornets back to Playoffs

A lot of times as fans we assume that the players don’t really pay attention to the debates we have on social media or the things we say. Well, that is not the case for Charlotte Hornets player Dwight Howard. Last night in a post we put on Instagram asking the fabsase if Kemba and Dwight were enough to get the Hornets to the playoffs, some guy commented, ripping apart Dwight’s game.

Whelp, Dwight found it very entertaining…..

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A Struggling Hornets Fan

Buzz

Pic by wfae

by Scotty Kent

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on where my relationship stands with the Hornets. Last season was the first season in years that I wasn’t at the arena for the majority of the games. My daughter was born at the start of the season and as a result, I was forced to watch most of the games from my couch. Once it became evident (soon after the all-star break) that this team was unraveling and not making the playoffs, I found my interest in the team beginning to fade. Towards the end of the season, I even caught myself turning off the TV out of frustration from the product on the court. This is something we (my brother and I) were more or less raised not to do, you stick with your team through the good and the bad and you damn sure don’t leave the game early or quit watching.

With that being said, I am just fed up as a fan and like everyone else, the older I get, the harder it is to fit 82 games into my schedule…especially when the product isn’t worth watching. As a Charlotte NBA fan, I’ve also become numb to the endless draft picks, coaching changes, player trades, and empty promises from the organization that things are going to change. So naturally, my interest is slipping back to where it was during the Bobcats era when we decided to start Bring Back the Buzz. I don’t like that I am currently apathetic as a fan about our new coach, new GM, and overall future but I’ve got little to no evidence that I should be optimistic.

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This upcoming season is our 30th anniversary of basketball in Charlotte (well, kinda but we won’t get into that) and the marketing team has done an incredible job. The promos look amazing, the logo is perfect, the digital content is great but the current state of the team almost sucks all the excitement out of it. I genuinely don’t envy their jobs. There can only be so much smoke and mirrors before people start to pick up on the fact the product isn’t any good. Unfortunately, the Hornets are constantly fighting for a spotlight in a city where the Panthers hold most of the attention and are a much better team. But who knows, we have the All Star Game here for the first time in forever, maybe the team can capitalize on the fact that all eyes will be on the NBA in Charlotte.

Nevertheless, Bring Back the Buzz will always be here. Over 7 years of BBTB and we are still growing. It is needed and the followers continue to show us that. There has to be a platform to show the organization people are watching, care, and will call them out if they phone it in (like the 212 degrees Bobcat promo days) or will let them know when they are doing a great job (Big Al’s Paint can). With the 2 of us both being in marketing rolls now because of BBTB, we are both pretty busy with our jobs and are currently debating what the next phase is for us (we are kicking around the idea of a podcast where we discuss everything Hornets…with more of a culture, marketing, state of the fanbase feel). Whatever that phase is we will find it, we just really felt obligated to let any fan out there that currently feels like us…know they aren’t alone and that one day when this thing turns around and there are Hornets bandwagon fans…we will know we were there through it all.

🙏

Hornets Draft Thoughts: Avoiding the Bust

Image result for charlotte hornets nba draft night monk

(Image from NBA.com)

The draft is now this week, and the Hornets are picking 11th overall. While the 11th pick is a solid position, it is just outside of the range needed to ensure a difference maker, but still early enough to land a sleeper or someone that slid for one reason or another. The Hornets are in desperate need of drafting a player who can make an impact in a big way, which isn’t exactly something we have ever been able to do. Since Kupchak has announced the team has no intentions of rebuilding yet, it is fair to assume unless something surprising happens no trades will be made, and we will have no money to dish out in free agency. Knowing this, the most important acquisition in the offseason will no doubt be whoever the Hornets pick at number 11 on June 21st.

There are two major holes that need to be answered this offseason: backup point guard and small forward. Night in and night out the Hornets bench blew leads during the late 3rd quarter and early to mid-4th quarter. Before the season started, the expectation was MCW would have a bounce back season and otherwise Monk would gradually learn to play backup point as well because he was an undersized two guard. MCW went on to get hurt early and Monk missed most of the offseason because of an ankle injury, so neither were able to catch up and find their footing, leaving us in a bad spot. The one bright spot was that Monk looked to be making real progress to close the season and seems to be extremely committed to working most of the offseason on his game, but it still seems clear he is a much better shooting guard. The only point guard I see as a possibility at 11 that is worth drafting would be Collin Sexton. For us to draft Sexton it would require him to slide a few picks, but we saw that happen last year with Malik Monk. If Sexton doesn’t fall to us at 11, it seems like there will be no other point guards that will garner enough attention to be worthy of a pick that high. On the other hand, if there is a point guard several picks back the team is highly interested in such as Arron Holiday, the Hornets could trade back and possibly dump a contract in the process. The only problem with Arron Holiday is he was turnover prone in college at UCLA, which is the last thing we need from someone who is trying to facilitate an NBA offense when Kemba is off the court.

The second position of need is a small forward. We are paying Nic 22 million and it is highly unlikely we are going to be able to get him off the roster any time soon. Behind Nic is MKG who we are paying 12 million to only play one side of the ball. I personally don’t know which situation is worse or who annoys me more, but I do know neither showed starting capability last year. The problem with drafting a small forward is we become loaded at the position since we already have Dwayne Bacon, and that is another player at a position we are already poring out 35 million to. If we do decide we want to go with a small forward, there is much more of a selection than point guard. Mikal Bridges, Kevin Knox, and Miles Bridges are all projected to be picked right around the 11th pick and with a small slide Michael Porter could also end up being available.

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(Image from WFNZ.com)

As of right now I feel if Collin Sexton is available, the Hornets should take him. It seems like 11 is very high to take a backup point guard but it will allow flexibility. Currently he would fill a much-needed hole, but If the season doesn’t look good by the trade deadline and we decide we want to rebuild, we would no longer require a point guard with other pieces in return for Kemba. Collin Sexton and Malik Monk would be a very promising back court to build around for the future and they are also very young as well. If Sexton is available, it is a win-win opportunity for now or for the future. If Sexton is not available Michael Porter and Mikal Bridges are the two best options but could be gone by the time the Hornets select, which would leave Kevin Knox and Miles bridges as the two remaining. Neither would be optimal in the moment because Knox was very inconsistent in his one year at UK and Bridges is a tweener between the two forward positions. Hopefully the Hornets will be able to right their wrongs and nail a draft that could make the difference in if we will choose to rebuild or not.

Dear Kemba Walker

Picture via Hornets.com

Dear Kemba Walker,

As a life long Hornets fan and someone who will be with this team until the day I die or (God forbid) they leave Charlotte again, I just wanted you to know that we appreciate you more than you could possibly Imagine.

The last 16 years have been rough for NBA fans in the Queen City. We lost our team, got one back and frankly haven’t done anything right besides bring the Hornets name back and draft you. You came to us at the lowest point in our franchise, witnessed a 7 win season and honestly we didn’t know that you would one day become the unquestionable “Greatest Hornet of All-Time”.

Now I would like to unpack the phrase “Greatest Hornet of All-Time” because I think people get lost in the talent/skill debate and ignore the elephant in the room when it comes to you and Charlotte.

I love this team and you on it BUT I find it hard to imagine that when you were in college and daydreaming about your NBA career that you were fantasizing about a small market southern town and being a Bobcat. I see the glimmer of excitement in your eyes when the Bronx Boy plays in Madison Square Garden… and seeing that gives me one of the most complicated emotions I have ever experienced as a sports fan.

I must admit to myself that there is a small part of me that says “Go on. Leave here and be great Kemba.” As much as it would hurt to lose you from my team I would feel like a proud father to see you in an organization that had a chance, fought hard and that helped, not hindered you from winning.

We saw you take contracts that were not in your favor and stay in Charlotte with the promise that we would put the pieces around you to succeed. I want you to know that we saw that. I want you to know that we saw you fight to bring players here in free agency. I want you to know that we saw you come in for D.J. Augustin and work your ass off to go from 12 to 23 points a game. We saw that. We saw you hit buzzer beater after buzzer beater and we screamed as if it were a championship. We saw you win us our first playoff game in 14 years. We saw you become an All-Star and we swelled with pride as you took the court. We saw you break franchise record after franchise record knowing you had earned every single one and when you cried… we cried too.

Kemba, we haven’t really deserved you. We didn’t know what you would become when we drafted you, but there is no question that you have sacrificed and fought harder than anyone before you for the Teal & Purple, Charlotte and the Hornets name. These sacrifices, your ability to give us fans hope and your skills are why YOU ARE THE GREATEST CHARLOTTE HORNET OF ALL-TIME.

We don’t know what our future holds but do know that this your team. This is your city and one day we will all stand with our families and look up as the number 15 is raised into the rafters, in it’s rightful place next to 13.

Thank You Kemba Walker.

Love,

A Charlotte Hornets Fan, A Kemba Walker Fan


Letter was inspired by the “Letter to Kemba Walker” that you can read here. via Hornets.com

The Charlotte Hornets 2017-18 Awards

Written by Andrew Waters

As the NBA regular season is coming to an end, it is now time to look back on the 2017-2018 season. Through all the ups and downs, the Charlotte Hornets have had their fair share of nominees for regular season awards.

Defensive Player of the YearDwight Howard

It seems like ex-GM Rich Cho made one great transaction other than drafting Kemba Walker during his tenure. After being acquired in the 2017 offseason, there was speculation at the beginning of the season into whether or not Dwight Howard could bounce back from his down year in Atlanta. But, he has shown this year that he still deserves to be one of the best defenders in the league. This season, Howard has averaged 16.2 points, 12.1 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game.He is sixth in blocks per game, and second in total blocks, behind superstar Anthony Davis..His numbers aren’t the only thing that makes him an elite defender. His mere presence in the paint forces opponents to question driving inside. This mental aspect of opponents has helped improved the Hornets’ defense from mediocre, to exceptional.

Honorable mentions- Michael-Kidd Gilchrist, Treveon Graham

Coach of the YearStephen Silas

When Hornets head coach Steve Clifford went down with a health scare in December of 2017, fans of the team had called the season quits. But, the work of one Stephen Silas rejuvenated the team as well as the fanbase. Throughout his stint as interim head coach, Silas recorded a 9-13 record in the twenty-four games coached. The reason why Silas should be the teams’ coach of the year is because he did not let the Hornets fall off a cliff. Throughout NBA history, there are cases of which interim head coach completely turned a team from modest to the bottom of the league. This is most recently seen in J.B Bickerstaff and the Memphis Grizzlies. Essentially, Silas could have brought the Hornets down to that level of unsuccessful play. Despite this,he helped the Hornets remain float and had a modest thirty-eight percent as an interim coach. The reason why this award isn’t attributed the Steve Clifford is that he yet again placed the Hornets in a situation where they’re outside of the playoffs looking in, through the dire stretch of the regular season.

Most Improved/ 6th Man of the YearJeremy Lamb

With more playing time,and improvement over the offseason, Jeremy Lamb looked ready to go as a quality bench player. However, during the preseason, Hornet’s guard Nic Batum suffered a torn ligament in his left elbow that sidelined him for six weeks.Clifford quickly called on Lamb to fill in at the starting two.As hoped for, Jeremy Lamb busted onto the scene for the start of the 2017-2018 season.He scored fifteen points in the first game against Detroit. He would follow that up with eight straight games of seventeen or more points per game. He also scored a career-high twenty-seven points against the San Antonio Spurs. When Batum came back six weeks later and Lamb was forced to go on the bench, he still balled out. This year Lamb was third on the team with 13.2 points, and fourth on the team in steals per game, 0.85. He is also third on the team in assists per game with 2.3 His steals per game and three-point percentage is all career highs for Lamb.

Lamb has come from a laughable bust draft pick to a skilled versatile scorer. From sitting on the bench the majority of the game to averaging more than 12 points per game. There is no doubt that he is the team’s’ most improved player.

Honorable mentions- Frank Kaminsky, Cody Zeller

Least Improved Player of the Year Nic Batum

If Nic Batum has proved one thing this season, it is that he isn’t the player he used to be. After having a solid two years in the Queen City, Batum took a major step back this season.This year Batum averaged lows in points, assists, and rebounds. Throughout the season it felt as if he was afraid to be aggressive, especially towards the clutch situations of the ball game. Sure, he has not had the healthiest of seasons with the UCL tear in the preseason. Even with his injury, Batum has shown the lack of efficiency in the major three areas of basketball. This is very concerning for the Hornets organization as Batum is the second highest paid player on the team with the salary of $23.4 million. Here’s to a new and improved 2018-2019 Batum.

Honorable mentions- Michael Carter-Williams, Marvin Williams

Most Valuable PlayerKemba Walker

There is no doubt that the Hornets’ MVP is Kemba Walker. He put up another all-star season by averaging 22.7 and 5.8 assists per game. He has single-handedly carried this Hornets team time and time again this year. Night in and night out Kemba seems to consistently play on an efficient and elite level. It sometimes feels like he is the only one that can provide scoring on the court in certain situations.On top of this, Walker has accomplished scoring forty points in multiple games. This season, Kemba scored his ninth three-pointer in a game, which is a franchise record. Walker also achieved the most threes in a Hornets career, passing the great Dell Curry. Kemba Walker is the only reason why the Hornets aren’t in contention for the top five pick in this years’ draft; and for that, he is the undisputed MVP of the team.

Honorable mention- Dwight Howard

Did You Know?: Why Magic Johnson Is Wearing a Hornets Shirt.

Magic Johnson (Left), Steve Martin (Right)

You look at this picture and the first question you ask yourself after “Where did Steve Martin get that kick-ass tie?” is “Why is Magic Johnson wearing a Charlotte Hornets shirt?”

Let’s take a time machine back to March 10, 1989. It’s a Friday night in a very young Charlotte when nothing in town is more exciting than going to the Hive. The home team may only have 15 wins and a whopping 45 losses but it’s our team and the red hot Los Angeles Lakers are coming to town for the first time. This is our first chance to see super stars like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy and of course the incredible Magic Johnson. 

We proceed to get our butt’s kicked 123-90 (Box Score)

BUT this is exciting stuff. We are being introduced to the NBA and the Hornets organization still knew how to entertain their guests. One of the tricks they had up there sleeves was even when the Hornets lost they would sit down with the “star of the game” or the superstar of the opposing team on the court and do a post game interview. Who better to corral than Magic Johnson?!

An almost 10,000 estimated people stuck around to hear the interview between Steve Martin and Magic Johnson. Magic knew we were fresh on the NBA scene and decided to humor the crowd by throwing on the Charlotte Hornets shirt which was greeted by roaring applause and cheers… You couldn’t do that today.