Are the Hornets really Better than We Thought, Or is Something Weird going On?

22 games into the Hornets season and many fans have expressed surprise about the team getting 8 early season wins thus far. I was one of many that expected this team to be bad, I mean real bad, like 20 wins bad. This got me thinking, was I this far off with my estimate as they are currently on a 31 win pace? Are they actually a more talented roster that we all thought? I decided to look at some numbers and really break down what we have been witnessing thus far this season. I think what I have found is quite interesting, and also troubling for those of us who hope to grab a high pick this year.

 

ARE THE HORNETS BAD?

Short answer, YES. The stats are horrendous folks. While we have seen Devonte Graham break out as one of the leaders for Most Improved Player, and P.J. Washington open many eyes with his break out start to his NBA career, the team as a whole is putting up terrible stats. Some of the Lowlights include.

  • 22nd in Offensive Rating   105.7
  • 29th in Defensive Rating  114.1
  • 27th in Net Rating  -8.4
  • 27th in Rebounding
  • 23rd in Turnovers
  • 25th in Pace
  • 30th in Opponents Field Goal %

In any other season those stats would make more sense if paired with a team struggling to win any games at all, not one currently in 9th in the East and 1.5 games out of the playoffs. The Hornets have more wins than 10 teams in the league and are tied with 5 other teams at 8! This team against current play-off teams has been horrible, thus far they are 1-10 and are losing by an average of 18 points. Their lone win was a tight home win against the Pacers, who were missing 3 starters. Clearly this team is what I thought they would be, a young team who would struggle to defend and go through droughts on the offensive end. So why are they looking like they will end up with the 11th pick again?

The reason the Hornets look a bit better in the standings then they do statistically is simple, the league is littered with REALLY, REALLY BAD TEAMS. We all knew the Knicks were gonna be a train wreck and that the young Grizzlies would struggle. There is always a small group of bottom dwellers that are in the 18-22 win range. I went back over the last 6 seasons to illustrate my point. And I understand we are only 22 games in, but the trend is alarming, especially for a team hunting for a top 5 pick. I broke teams into 3 levels.

  • Play-off teams .500 and above
  • play-off hopefuls  (37 wins)
  • Bad teams below (29 wins and below)

The averages for the last 6 years give us a good idea how the league usually breaks down.

  • 17 playoff teams
  • 21 playoff hopefuls
  • 6 bad teams

Currently in the NBA it breaks down like this

  • 14 playoff teams
  • 15 playoff hopefuls
  • 10 bad teams

So many teams are bad this year that only half the league is on pace for more than 37 wins, the previous low in the last six seasons is 19. Those extra 4 teams create the massive group of mediocre to bad teams that the Hornets are a part of right now. No one saw the Warriors only having 4 wins so far this season, but it is teams like the Blazers and Spurs that have really struggled early, and young teams like the Hawks and Kings  that have not taken that next step that we thought they would, that have thrown the balance out of whack. As a Hornets fan the idea of this weird season leading to this really bad team getting a pick outside of the top 5 is not ideal, but unless some of these teams start stacking up some wins its a very real possibility.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Last CHA: Playing it Safe With an Iconic Brand

I know some people don’t care about branding and a lot of people don’t care about about it as much as the bitching and moaning Buzz Brothers. People say things like “who cares about the logo? let’s just win basketball games.” and I understand that sentiment for sure but I can care about both. They aren’t mutually exclusive.

I can be excited about Graham’s start to this season and how he’s expanded his game with Kemba’s departure and hate the CHA abbreviation. I can be pissed about our lack of defense, Batum taking time from Cody, etc. and want a good brand.

The thing is the only time in recent history I have felt like we have done a decent jersey for the brand were the first 2 Buzz City jerseys. Beyond that we have been very bland and safe with a brand that was iconic for being bold and original. Our brand is very much a part of who we are as a culture and I’ve felt like we’ve come up short recently and it especially ticks me off when it’s bland on something we call our “city edition uniforms”

Image

Flashback a couple months and the Hornets unveiled the purple CHA jerseys to a very “wtf” reaction. The almost unanimous reaction inside the city of Charlotte was “Who the hell is CHA?”. “Chattanooga?”. “Uhhh We are CLT not CHA.” and they were even made fun of by people who live in the city who aren’t even fans of the team.

Did the Hornets take note? Did they go back like the producers of the Sonic the Hedgehog movie and think “hmm maybe the fans know what they want better than we do?” No. They doubled down on the asinine, laughable abbreviation of our city name. Cus they think they know better and fans are gonna have to drag them kicking and screaming to make the right decision and honestly make them money like we did with the Hornets name. The point of the city edition jerseys is to draw inspiration from the city or region you are located in. What design elements here tell the story of our region? The only part is CHA and it ignores what the city has been using for over 50 years. And why is the Jordan logo a part of the city edition explanation? Here’s their breakdown…

“BUt guyS It’S beCAusE tHe bRoADcaSt aBBreViATiOn Is CHA”

This lie that we somehow have to use that abbreviation because it’s our broadcast abbreviation is complete BS. Somehow we played Brooklyn the other night and look at what these rebels managed to sneak on the floor wearing..

How about Minnesota?

The 76ers?

I mean this can go on and on.

The real reason we are wearing CHA is simply because of some Jordan shoes that came out in 2016…

Image result for retro 10 jordan cha

We are wearing this abbreviation because of Jordan brand knowing that they could make money of the teal and purple brand just took the broadcast abbreviation instead of doing 10 seconds of research and realizing we go by CLT. So in the Hornets organization’s infinite wisdom they felt like they could make CHA a thing and stuck with it.

Wouldn’t be the first time we used somebody on our brand who didn’t take the time to appreciate the importance and didn’t take the time to do the research. In 2014-15 Jordan Brand approached a graphic designer on behalf of the Hornets to carry out the design of the new logo. On this person’s website once they had completed the project had our Bring Back The Buzz concept hornet logo (below) listed as the “Before” hornets logo. .

We didn’t care about our logo being on his website but it was the lack of research and to put the rebrand in the hands of a designer who didn’t know the difference that is clear to any slightly competent Hornets fan. This designer worked in collaboration with a company called Rare Design who is still involved with our team’s branding to this day. On the left is our jersey concept that our designer made. On the right is the wordmark they created.

The following year this company went down to Atlanta… The closest NBA city, our 85 rivalry and literally copied their own homework.

Jordan brand is the one approaching these designers on behalf of the Hornets and they took an iconic and bold brand that was known for being progressive and that took risks and created these bland jerseys with a quote from the designer saying

“I created a range of hornet icons which strived to balance an approachable, team-sports look with the simplicity and fierce aura of the Jordan Brand aesthetic”

We are basing the Hornets brand off the Jordan brand?! WHY?!?!

Image result for charlotte hornets uniforms

One often gets the feeling that the Hornets brand is becoming second fiddle to the Jordan brand as each announcement, advertisement or co-branded release comes out the Jordan logo gets bigger and bigger and sometimes comically larger than the Hornets logo who is supposedly the headliner.

Image result for charlotte hornets jordan brand

I just feel like we are playing it safe in order to appease Jordan Brand and Nike rather than being the trendsetters we became known as across the world.

I don’t even hate the gray. I hate the tone deaf CHA and the uninspired design. I hate this assumption that it’s just about teal and purple and we’ll buy it. I hate that we took something beloved and cherished by the fans and turned it into something as mediocre as the play has been on the court for the last 15 years.

The Shocking, Not So Shocking Truth

When Bleacher Report wrote their article on the Hornets recently signed PG Terry Rozier they probably intended the reader to leave with a greater and deeper understanding of “Scary Terry’s” demeanor, how his upbringing created someone with a drive and attitude that made them a believer in themselves so much so that they gambled on themselves in NBA free agency.

They probably intended for the reader to be shocked by the behind the scenes and honest look at how Terry turned down the Knicks and the Suns and agreed to a deal with the Hornets at a three-year, $58 Million deal.

“I’d be a fool if I was to go anywhere else or turn down that,” -Terry Rozier

Terry came into Charlotte not really understanding the dynamics or the tense atmosphere that is currently surround this team and the executives… and that’s not his fault.

Terry has a swagger and confidence that isn’t like Kemba. What makes him different from Kemba is that he’s about Terry, not the team to the degree Kemba was (that’s damn near impossible to find in the league), BUT he will still compete and fight his ass off to show that he earned that money and that he is worth every penny (which will be very hard)… and that’s okay.

He’s not going to be another Kemba and the fanbase shouldn’t expect him to “fill those shoes”.

BUT what Hornets fans should be talking about is not whether or not Terry is worth the deal. The fanbase has already had that discussion. We may be uncomfortable with the amount of money we spent on him but that speaks to a greater concern we have with management, we do not hold that against him nor do we hold the Kemba debacle against him.

We shouldn’t be talking on if it was the right decisions but more so on the unintended revelation that came from Terry, it’s the message that came between the lines that Hornets fans and the rest of the NBA world should be talking about…

“I look at it as just a team, organization believing in me. Knowing that I want to prove myself in this league and giving me that chance is bigger than anything and [their willingness] to pay me a right amount of money, it was just big and the guy that was behind all that was Michael Jordan. It’s still surreal to me.” -Terry Rozier

It was the line “the guy that was behind all that was Michael Jordan. It’s still surreal to me.”that will make Hornets fans cringe and throw up their hands in disbelief or  exclaim an “AHA I knew it!”

Image may contain: 2 people, meme and text

Terry was well on his way to signing with Phoenix when JORDAN intervened in a basketball operations decision….

“Mike was overseas, and I can just picture him probably having a cigar in his mouth and the words he told Mitch [Kupchak], the GM, was like: ‘Get him over here. Do what you need to do to get him over here.'” – Terry Rozier

This isn’t about whether or not Terry is a bad signing or whether or not Jordan should have stepped in during these negotiations.

This is bigger. This is proof that he is STILL meddling in basketball operations and has never stopped.

HES IS JUST AS CULPABLE AS MITCH AND CHO.

While I believe most Hornets fans have known of Jordan’s involvement in basketball operations… there have still been some in denial and giving him the benefit of the doubt by saying there is no proof.

He didn’t just take a break and decide to step in here. He’s BEEN involved and will continue to be involved and will be his own worst enemy and have the final say.

You may say “he’s the owner, it’s his team and his money”… fine… then it’s also his fault.

Jordan can say that he took a step back with Cho and let him take control but the evidence is stacking up to the contrary. He can’t help but involve himself in personnel/talent decisions. He can’t help but tell his GM to ‘go after X player” or “draft X player” or in this instance “get him over here.”

Jordan has been involved in exactly where he shouldn’t be and isn’t involved where he should be.  

Even if this works out and Terry balls out, this doesn’t exactly give Jordan any credibility because he’s been wrong so many times before. He’s still got a ways to go.

No fan wants him to be involved in talent evaluation OR in the decision making BUT we would be happy if he was just Michael Jordan to the free agents that our GM is chasing. Just be the legend that gives them the phone call to say “hi” and make them say “oh shit it’s MJ”.

AND if you insist on being involved in personnel decisions and are present in the “war room” on draft night then your ass needs to be there at these press conferences. Your ass needs to get in front of a microphone and camera and tell us what the plan is next to Mitch and explain to us why we lost Kemba. If you won’t even do that then get out of your own way.

I want him to treat the Hornet s like he does Jordan Brand. Jordan is not in there designing these shoes (we’ve all seen how he dresses) and he’s not making the business decisions… that man just signs the checks, receives the checks and makes a public appearance when it necessary. That may not seem fun to him BUT so far it’s the only thing he hasn’t tried and his way hasn’t worked. If he wants to do something then work on marketing and work on the brand.

Here’s the thing.. Jordan will get the credit when things go well. We know that. If Terry pans out he will get credit. He will be there holding the trophy if we win a championship and rightfully so BUT we cant absolve him when things go wrong because he went to UNC and you like that school, he’s the GOAT and you grew up loving him, etc.

AND quit defending him. quit moving the goal post and changing the issue with Jordan. There it is. he’s involved. Just own it.

 

 

Executive Indecision: the Charlotte Hornets struggle to be heard over the deafening Sound of Silence

written by redditor we mention below on the r/nba sub.


With the NBA offseason mostly settled (?), we can start to look back and judge just how well these organizations fared. Given that, we’re reviewing some of the best and worst offseasons so far. Unfortunately, we’re embracing our evil Debbie Downer side today with a negative “Executive Indecision” post about a popular punching bag.

EXECUTIVE INDECISION: CHARLOTTE HORNETS

PART ONE: HELLO DARKNESS, MY OLD FRIEND

As far as relevance with the modern NBA fans go, the Charlotte Hornets rank right on par with Simon and Garfunkel. The franchise may be the most anonymous in the league right now, mentioned only to be mocked by this sub (the r/nba sub on reddit).

Even we trolls can be empathetic though, and we can understand the team’s dilemma coming into this offseason. The team’s one signature star — PG Kemba Walker — was slated for free agency, and eligible for a sizable max after making third team All-NBA. Re-signing Walker to a massive extension may have appeased the fan base and ownership group and represented one ray of light in an otherwise gloomy situation.

But honestly? Re-signing Walker to a super-max would have been the wrong move. Kemba Walker has improved and improved and improved every season in the league, but the last three seasons he’s led the Hornets to records of 36-46, 36-46, and 39-43. In an ideal world, you could improve the supporting cast around Walker, but that’s made more difficult by the “bad money” still on the books (Bismack Biyombo at $17M, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at $13M) and a smaller market. The team would have been stuck in place. And if the Hornets couldn’t make waves with Walker at age 29, what logical hopes could they have to win with Walker at age 32? And age 33?

Rather than try to frantically doggle paddle to stay afloat (in the 35-40 win range), the Charlotte Hornets decided to hold their breath and drown to the bottom of the standings. That makes total sense. They needed to torch the building and start over. Through that lens, shaking Walker’s hand and wishing him well was the best decision for both parties. I can even understand the decision to let Jeremy Lamb go (even if he signed a super-cheap $10M contract with Indiana.) At 27, even Lamb was too old for this timeline. Without Walker, the Hornets waved the white flag and acknowledged the deep, DEEP rebuild on their hands. It may 3-4 years before they resurface again.

PART TWO: A VISION SOFTLY CREEPING / LEFT ITS SEEDS WHILE I WAS SLEEPING

The decision to let Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb go and to embrace the darkness may have been a tough pill to swallow, but it was the right medicine to take for what ailed this franchise (dreaded mediocrity.) In some ways, Charlotte’s direction could have mirrored the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies were another small market team that found itself struggling with the decision about whether to blow it up or not for several years now. For them, there was a fear that their market and financial uncertainty wouldn’t allow them to outright tank. Eventually, Memphis decided to pull the trigger and trade Marc Gasol and then Mike Conley so they could fully hand it over to the young bucks.

Did the fans revolt? Did they burn their jerseys? No.

Modern basketball fans are savvy, and understand the natural ebbs and flows of a franchise. If anything, Grizzlies fans were happy to watch Gasol and Conley go to destinations where they could compete for titles. Better yet, they were left with a new generation in Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. that they could get excited about. If anything, fans of rebuilding/tanking teams get MORE invested in their franchise than mediocre teams, because optimism can run rampant. It’s fun to be a fan of rebuilding teams (be it Memphis or a “Processing” Philadelphia 76ers a few years back.)

With that in mind, the Charlotte Hornets could now pivot and hand more responsibilities to their young guns in order to see what they may become. After two years in the NBA, SG Malik Monk still hasn’t looked comfortable, but perhaps he could thrive in a different role. The undersized SG was always an odd fit next to Kemba Walker, but theoretically he could blossom as a scorer with a longer leash. Last year’s lottery pick SF Miles Bridges was on-and-off, but certainly has the physical talent to become a solid starter. I also like this year’s lottery pick, PF P.J. Washington(Kentucky). He’s quite talented himself, and would have been taken even higher if not for durability concerns.

To be fair, no one is expecting Malik Monk, Miles Bridges, and/or P.J. Washington to develop into MVP candidates who can carry a franchise on their back. If they turn out to be long-term starters, that’s a “win” and that’s the type of prospect you should expect in the late lottery. Getting a pick in the high lottery (1-5) is truly where the Hornets needed to be to secure a great shot at a future star. And given that, the Hornets decision to let Kemba Walker go makes even more sense. This team didn’t need to get bad — they needed to get VERY bad. By hook or by crook, they needed to secure a top 5 pick next season and potentially the next few seasons after that. They need their Ja Morant-Jaren Jackson Jr. They need their Ben Simmons-Joel Embiid. They need potential superstars. And to do that, they need to suck ass.

PART THREE: MY EYES WERE STABBED BY A FLASH OF NEON LIGHT

I was completely on board with the Charlotte Hornets’ tear down, until I saw some strange words in my reddit feed. The Hornets sign PG Terry Rozier. For 3 years. For $56.7 million dollars. ($18.9M per year average.) Wait, really? Was this an RDAmbition situation here?

Nope. Turns out this was real. Very very real.

Honestly, I’m shocked that a team would go that far to secure Terry Rozier. Throughout his career with the Celtics, I always scoffed and rolled my eyes at the wild rumors surrounding Rozier. The idea that he was a valuable trade piece. The reports that teams were going to offer him $15M+ a year in free agency. Whatever. I completely wrote those off as absurd spin by Rozier’s representatives. But clearly, joke’s on me, because either I am wildly out of touch with basketball or Charlotte GM Mitch Kupchak is. (And he’s never signed bad contracts before, right?)

Let’s dig into the specifics of my skepticism here. Rozier has now played 4 seasons in the NBA, so it’s hard to give him the benefit of the doubt as some rising prospect. And now, through season 4, he’s shot a grand total of 38.0% from the field. He’s a solid three-point shooter (35.3%) but he can’t convert inside (40.4% from two for his career.) He also doesn’t get to the line very often (under 3 FTA, even when starting.) All told, he’s a player that has scored with a true shooting percentage of 49.2% (career high 52%) in a league where 55% is the standard.

And sadly, scoring is the trait that he’s supposed to bring to the table. By the standards of point guards, he’s not a good playmaker and passer (4.6 assists per 36 minutes.) He’s a decent defender, but nothing exceptional on that end (ESPN RPM grades him a -0.04 last season.) He has good energy, but it can often veer into the “out of control” and into tunnel-vision scoring.

The natural defense is: there’s a difference between Terry Rozier and “STARTER!” Terry Rozier. Okay. Sure. Through his 30 regular season starts, Terry Rozier has played much better. But again, we’re talking about a 30 game sample size here. And in those 30 games, Rozier’s shooting from beyond the arc has ballooned up to over 40% (despite being a 35.4% career shooter from three.) There’s merit to the idea that a starter would play with more confidence, but the idea that starting a game would magically improve your shooting by 5% strains credibility. Simply: the Hornets are gambling on a small sample size here and put themselves at a risk for regression.

To be fair, I expect Terry Rozier to put up good raw numbers with this team. Almost any starting PG will put up decent stats, whether he’s Dennis Schroeder or Elfrid Payton or whoever else. With the greenlight, Rozier should be jacking up threes and should easily score 18+ PPG. But the idea that (likely inefficient) scoring will translate to winning basketball is very dicy. And if it doeslead to 5+ wins? That’s not good, either. The Hornets may push themselves past other young teams like Cleveland and Memphis and fall behind the tanking eight-ball. In theory, the new lottery reforms makes it irrelevant if you’re # 1 or # 4 in the order (since they have the same chance at the top pick), but that slotting still matters if you don’t win the lottery. There can be a big difference between pick # 5 and pick # 7, and the Hornets need to land as high as possible.

Adding a veteran like Rozier doesn’t help to that end, and may potentially lock them into a long-term contract and limit their roster flexibility going forward. It’s a little too early to dig into the 2020 prospects, but tankathon does exactly that, and lists 4 of the top 7 prospects for next season as either PGs or PG/SGs. The Hornets need to be in a position to take the best player available in the next draft, and shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not the prideful Rozier will poison the well for a rookie PG.

If there’s any positive here, it’s that Rozier’s contract de-escalates (from $20M to $19M to $18M) so he may become more “tradeable” as an asset as the contract wears on. However, if he puts up inefficient numbers, that will be hard to move regardless.

PART FOUR: MY WORDS LIKE SILENT RAINDROPS FELL

As mentioned in the post about the New York Knicks, it’s always easier to play Monday morningquarterback and criticize a plan; it’s a lot harder to offer a feasible one of your own. So when I criticize a franchise’s moves, I need to submit my own plan as to a better alternative.

If you’ve read this ranting manifesto, you’d know that I would not have signed Terry Rozier to a $19M a year contract (especially for 3 seasons.) I would not have signed any expensive free agent, and would have fully committed to a rebuild. You don’t necessarily have to “tank” and purposefully lose games with a team of scrubs. Simply handing the reins over to a very young team tends to do that on its own. The team should play a lot of Malik Monk, a lot of Miles Bridges, a lot of P.J. Washington, and see what they have on their hands going forward. If the team lost 60 games in the process, even better.

To be fair, there’s something to be said for developing good habits and honing your playing style. Not signing any true PG at all could have been problematic in that regard. Young teams that don’t have field generals can often stagnate and stall — as we’ve seen with the Phoenix Suns over the last few years. However, you don’t have to spend $20M to land a solid, steadying PG. Among the options that these Hornets could have gone for included Tyus Jones (who signed for $8.8M a year), T.J. McConnell (who signed for $3.5M), or even someone like Tim Frazier (who signed for $1.9M.) Would T.J. McConnell or Tim Frazier have helped the team win games? Probably not. And that’s good. Moreover, those pass-first point guards may have been able to help run the offense and facilitate the young guns’ own scoring and development.

The other avenue that I would have liked the Hornets to explore would be selling off the remaining spare pieces. Still only 26, Cody Zeller could be worth keeping around, but the team should assess the market for those that won’t be part of the future. For example, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is overpaid ($13M expiring), but he’s also a former # 2 pick that may still have fans somewhere. Perhaps a team would have given up a tiny asset (even a R2 pick) for him. PF Marvin Williams ($15M expiring) is another option for that as well. Unlike MKG, he’s proven to be a playable and positive rotational player (if not pure starter). Williams is not cheap, but he can help out quite a few different playoff teams right now.

A veteran player like Marvin Williams has some tangible value to the Charlotte Hornets right now because he’s a good mentor for their younger prospects, so you wouldn’t simply give him away for free. And “free” may be the estimated return for him given his price tag. However, if you presume that you’re taking in a bad contract or two in return (say Meyers Leonard from Miami, for example) then you may be able to squeeze out an asset along with it. In some ways, it works on both fronts. You allow Williams the opportunity to contribute in the playoffs, and you make your own team worse (in anticipation of a high lottery pick.)

More than anything, that’s the takeaway from this Charlotte criticism. If you blow it up (as you should), then you better bring out all the dynamite you can and demolish as much as you can. Taking two steps back and one step forward is not the right approach. Somewhere, Art Garfunkel is nodding solemnly in agreement about regrettable decisions (like integrating 1970s references in a post on Reddit.)


u/ZandrickEllison was kind enough to let us host this post on our website. Be sure to follow him on Twitter https://twitter.com/Zan_Ellison and check out the podcast for more.

People Don’t Talk Enough About How Awful The Hornets Are

At this point, we are well aware of how incompetent the Hornets franchise has been and this off-season looks like it may be the proverbial cherry on top. With that being said, a guy on reddit who goes by the username of u/rmarti78 may have somehow single-handily complied the most tremendous list of their screwups. 99% of this list was made by him with only 1 or 2 minor edits from us. Oh, and yes…he gave us permission to post it. So without further ado, find yourself a quiet space where no one can see you cry and read away.

  • One of only 6 teams in the NBA/NFL/MLB/NHL that’s never even made a conference finals. They’re the second oldest of those 6 teams behind the Clippers.

  • They’ve only drafted 4 All-Stars that went on to play for them despite being around since 1988: Alonzo Mourning, Larry Johnson, Baron Davis, and Kemba Walker. And they’ve had the most chances to draft All-Stars too: the Hornets rank #1 with the lowest average draft spot in that time.

  • Then-coach Steve Clifford wanted the Hornets to draft Donovan Mitchell in 2017, but Rich Cho overruled him and drafted Malik Monk instead.

  • The Hornets were seriously looking to draft Pascal Siakam in 2016, but decided to trade their pick for Marco Belinelli who spent one year with the team before being traded to Atlanta in the Dwight Howard trade.

  • The Hornets were offered three first-round picks by the Celtics for the #9 pick in 2015. Michael Jordan turned the offer down to pick Frank Kaminsky. Kaminsky was always in the coach’s doghouse here, his family hated Charlotte, and Kaminsky signed with Phoenix this offseason.

  • After having the worst record in NBA history in 2012, the Bobcats lost out on the #1 pick which was going to be Anthony Davis. They then selected Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with the #2 pick instead of Bradley Beal. In the same draft, they selected Jeffery Taylor with their 2nd round pick, just ahead of Draymond Green and Khris Middleton. They also reportedly turned down a trade for James Harden for that #2 overall pick.

  • They did select Kemba Walker in 2011, but they also gave Stephen Jackson, Shaun Livingston, and the pick that would turn into Tobias Harris so they could jump up and draft Bismack Biyombo. They selected Biyombo instead of the player that had been mocked to them in several mock drafts: Kawhi Leonard. They also had Klay Thompson on the board.

  • The second best draft pick they’ve had since their 2004 rebirth has been Emeka Okafor.

  • They haven’t won a playoff series since April 2002 when LeBron was in high school, Zion was 1 year old, The Scorpion King was #1 at the box office, Ashanti had the #1 song in America, and Hollywood Hogan was WWE Champion. The closest they’ve come to winning a series since then was the Purple Shirt Guy game when they were up 3-2 vs. the Heat and had cut a 9 point Heat lead to 2 with 1:30 left. A Hornets fan known as Purple Shirt Guy started inexplicably jawing with Dwyane Wade who proceeded to drop a quick 5 points to tie the series up. The Hornets would go on to lose Game 7 in Miami by 27 points.

  • Despite letting their best player ever walk for nothing, they’re hard-capped at the moment. They’ll be hard-capped this season with a starting 5 of Terry Rozier, Cody Zeller, Nic Batum, Dwayne Bacon, and Miles Bridges. Bismack Biyombo will be making $17 million off the bench, Marvin Williams will be making $15 million off the bench, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will be making $13 million off the bench. Nic Batum (who has turned into a completely worthless player) will be entering the 4th year of a 5 year deal (final year a player option) that will pay him $25.5 million. He’ll almost certainly use that player option in 2020 and will be making $27.1 million.

  • Michael Jordan hasn’t given an interview where he’s discussed the Hornets in any detail (besides Kemba Walker) since 2014.

So as you bitch and complain about how your team hasn’t done anything in a long time or how you only have one All-Star and you’re disappointed you didn’t get another, remember that things could always be worse.

Charlotte’s Stockholm Syndrome

Stockholm syndrome is a condition which causes hostages to develop a psychological alliance with their captors as a survival strategy during captivity. These alliances result from a bond formed between captor and captives during intimate time together, but they are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims. 

Local media, national media, everyone is literally telling us how bad the Hornets have done these past couple of years and more specifically these last couple of months. We know this. They have told us we have every right to be pissed. We also know this.

They may have arrived late to the party on discussing it but well, let’s be honest, we aren’t exactly relevant… until we screw up.

We lost Kemba. But it’s not just that. We lost him because we seemingly didn’t have a plan. we lowballed the offer. In December you should’ve known the ballpark of what Kemba wanted and if you knew it was too high THEN YOU SHOULD’VE TRADED HIM. You knew he’d reject that number… So why didn’t you trade him? The all-star game? That’s the rumor and if that’s the case, you are stupid. Beyond stupid. One of the stupidest to ever operate a professional sports team. Did you think he’d take the 160? If so then you didn’t know your team and couldn’t even figure out the wants and needs of the best player you’ve had in 20 years who works under your roof. If that’s the case, you’re ignorant. There’s only two possibilities here. You are either ignorant or stupid…

Then you over pay a guy when most of the fanbase just assumes our strategy was to suck for a couple years and get the young guys some burn. He’s a solid player but it just comes across as not knowing whether or not you want to shit or get off the pot

it doesn’t help that when Mitch speaks on the topic he can’t even properly get a message across that explains his reasoning for not trading Kemba or claiming that Rozier is a “lottery pick”… whatever that means. He says things like “I’m not sure we could’ve done better a year ago” when discussing the Kemba situation. Leaving fans speculating that he didn’t try. We won’t even dive into the other quotes of him defending himself from criticism over the signing that left fans scratching their heads more than trying to figure out where the airports were during the revolutionary war.

And yes where the hell is MJ? We just lost our best player of all-time and he is nowhere to be seen. Wasn’t in Charlotte when Kemba cleared his locker, wasn’t even in the US when conversations were going on and sends us a message likely typed by his assistant that literally said nothing……….nothing actually would’ve been better.

This isn’t an article about why MJ is one of the worst owners in the league. This isn’t about how he is the constant between bad management moves from Cho to Mitch and before them. Because there really isn’t an argument that he is a good owner. We can discuss Frank to Vonleh to Dwight to this Kemba situation etc. why he’s bad and if your argument is that “we have a team” (we got two teams before he came on the scene) for him being a good owner then that’s pretty sad. I mean all he did was green light the rebrand that fans forced down his throat and took the organization kicking and screaming to the purple and teal finish line.

This is more of a discussion that FANS DESERVE TO BE ANGRY.


Here’s what leads me to the meat of all this.

While a lot of fans are expressing their anger there are still fans defending this organizations every move. No matter how dumb it looks and no matter how many mistakes we’ve watched there are those that dismiss the litany of faults as whining and complaining.

Despite losing your best player of all-time, despite being the only team in the east to have never made the Finals, despite being one of 3 teams to never make conference finals, despite not making it past the second round, despite it taking 14 seasons to win a playoff game we should just be happy we have a team…

They defended Batum for years, ignored the writing on the wall and called him a “glue guy”. They defended Kaminsky’s play and dedication to Charlotte until Kaminsky left the damn building.

They wipe Jordan of any guilt because the team makes money and they say there is no proof even though every credible source in the NBA from Woj to Lowe source him as being a major root of the disfunction. if you remember, the fans handed him the olive branch of the rebrand and gave his team a second chance.

They dismiss all listing of problems and the overwhelming issues as people complaining and I’m here to say that the fans owe this team no benefit of the doubt until they have proven and earned the fans trust. Until they compete this fanbase has every right to second guess and scrutinize every decision because if you are keeping count at home they are wrong WAYYYYY more often than they are right.

We watched what this organization did the last time the fans were apathetic and didn’t hold them accountable and I’m guessing many of these people weren’t fans yet so they don’t understand the value of holding the team’s feet to the fire.

For some reason they view fans being critical as them being disloyal and I’m here to tell you that I’d rather have a fanbase passionate enough and that care enough to complain than one that suffers from Stockholm Syndrome of this organizations tactics and sympathizes with “how hard it is to manage a team” and rationalizes this mediocrity with a “let’s just wait to see” how it plays out this time so we can discuss another bad decision in hindsight.

I want that building to be afraid of how fans will react. Not a building that measures their success on whether or not Jordan makes his money.

Hornets must Focus on Future

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last week, you are well aware of the twists and turns the Hornets fan base has dealt with during the Free Agency Frenzy in the NBA. The team lost it’s leader on and off the court to that team and fan base that wears green and says thinks like “Wicked Awesome” and “Chowdah” much to the dismay of this writer and a large portion of Hornets fans, but Dammit I’m all cried out (wonder what the dudes in 112 are up to?) and like we have become used to around these parts since the team returned its time to open the curtains, draw in a deep breath and get ready for what fresh hell this team is going to put us through next.

OH GOODY, ANOTHER REBUILD

  The Hornets found their replacement for Kemba in the form of Terry Rozier as part of the Sign-and-trade and agreed to a robust 3 year 58 million dollar contract. This is an absolute overpay for the youngish point guard who had a solid run in the playoffs 2 years ago in Kyrie Irving’s absence. A scoring points guard who has shown some flashes as a player in his 4 years in Boston, his game has some holes that hopefully he can improve on as the every night starter in Buzz City. The Hornets front office likely felt like they had to strike on Rozier due to lack of cap space even with Kemba leaving. This gives the Hornets someone to team-up with the current crop of young player to begin the process of rebuilding around a young core while the overpaid veterans slowly leave this team by trade or contracts expiring. Its a Re-birth if you will, the beginning of a new era in Hornets basketball history. The problem is there are some guidelines the Hornets front office needs to follow as we move forward, and that scares the crap out of many of us.

 

PLAY THE DAMN KIDS 

  This should be the easy part, but we will see. We all know what the veterans on this team brings, that is why we are in this mess to begin with. So they need to find out what Bacon, Bridges, Monk, Graham, Willy and Washington can do now and what they can become over an 82 game season. There is no reason for these guys not to be playing lots of minutes this season, and as a fan no one wants to watch Batum play 28 minutes and take 2 shots or watch Biz fumble the ball out of bounds twice a game. Give us something to look forward to. It cannot be about wins this season, (That hurts my heart to say that) it has to be about development and knowing exactly what we have going forward. Can Monk be a consistent scorer in the NBA? Can Bacon be an effective starting shooting guard on a nightly basis? Is Bridges a small forward or a power forward and is his 3-point shot going to be reliable. These are the kinds of things we need to know as the 19-20 season comes to a close.

ASSETS, ASSETS, ASSETS 

  This is where my heart starts pounding and my hands get sweaty. The Hornets front office must use the Expiring contracts of Marvin, MKG and Biz to their advantage to accumulate as many picks or young players as they can to help rebuild the roster. Guys like Marvin and MKG will likely have value to teams who are contending or hope to contend. Turning them into late first rounders or multiple seconds while also being able to take on longer contracts is key for the team. General Managers feel pressure leading up to and at the deadline to make moves to help push their team over the top. The Hornets need to take full advantage of those opportunities. I don’t think any playoff teams will feverishly chasing Biz and his 17 million dollar contract for help on the court, however, teams that are either over the tax line next year or who need to free up space to sign their own free agents or bolster their roster will be looking for guys on expiring deals. The Hornets are in a great position there as well because they can take on someone on a 2 year deal or longer due to having cap space open in the future as well. How the front office handles these deals will go along way to jump starting this rebuild and giving the team the ability to return to respectability in a Brooklyn Nets time frame, not a Phoenix Suns time frame.