(Image from USA Today)
The Charlotte Hornets are currently sitting at 11-19 coming off of a much-needed win against the New York Knicks, and the team is on the verge of chaos. Every night it feels like the Hornets are losing by 5 or 10 coming down the final stretch in the fourth, only to get inches away from swinging the momentum before allowing the opponent to go on a game ending run.
They are currently 3-7 in their last 10 games and it has been filled with stagnant offense and no defense. As much as I want to be surprised by how this season has unfolded, this is the Charlotte Hornets, and I have become accustomed to being disappointed by what I am watching.
The motto of this team is take one step forward and two steps back, and it looms over the franchise like a curse. The organization has run the team as if we are just trying to make the playoffs and build from there, which was acceptable when we where a younger team, but that time has passed. With Kemba in his prime and the team stuck spinning their tires in the dirt, it is time for the organization to make a choice. Right now, they can either go for broke and trade/sign for the biggest possible piece on the market and hope you can become good enough to compete with Cleveland or Boston, or blow up the team and hope for a once in a lifetime player like Giannis Antetokounmpo or Kristaps Porzingis in the draft.
In a perfect world, if we were to blow up the team and tank, we would get high draft picks and build with several young and promising top ten draft picks. The problem with that is we have already done it, and we got nowhere. We have had multiple lottery picks and they have all been busts, with the exception of Kemba Walker. Recently we have had picks No.2 (should’ve been 1), No.4, and No.9 three times. With these top 10 picks we came out with MKG, Cody Zeller, Noah Vonleh who was traded a season in, Frank Kaminsky, and Kemba Walker.
While MKG, Cody, and Frank are all nice supporting pieces, they were all three busts compared to where they were drafted. With all of this being said, we are left to question if we want to risk tanking. If we are not able to turn this season around in any way, I think our only option is to tank this offseason.
Now that we have ruled out tanking for the time being, that leaves us to make a big trade or signing in free agency this offseason.
We are not going to go sign the biggest name free agent because of our market. In the NBA, stars sign with teams in big markets that have other big-name players, and the Hornets have neither. Kemba is extremely underrated but still not on the level needed to attract a consistent All-star. Making a trade is our best shot at saving our season, and possibly saving the seasons to come.
If there is one thing Rich Cho has thrived at, it is trades, and right now we need a big trade more than ever. Several in-season trades have boosted our season before (ex. trading P.J. Hairston and Brian Roberts for Courtney Lee), but with the severe holes this team seems to have we need something more than a low radar trade. I think you have to start by addressing the wing rotation and depth.
(Image from Heavy.com)
Whatever trade the team makes it must involve one of Nic Batum, MKG, and Marvin Williams, or maybe a combination of two. All three players have been amazing for the organization at some point or another but it is time to cut ties.
Something isn’t clicking in that area of the lineup and all it takes is watching one game to recognize it. Not only is something not clicking, but Dwayne Bacon, Malik Monk, Treveon Graham, and Johnny O’Bryant have all played well enough to receive more minutes. A trade with two of the mentioned players would clear minutes for the younger players, while also possibly bringing in a wing player that could contribute much more than what we are getting right now.
The biggest problem is finding someone who wants Marvin, MKG, or Nic with their massive contracts and inconsistent play through the first 30 games, but if Cho is able to trade the Miles Plumlee contract for Dwight Howard then he can do anything.
It is not too late to salvage the season, but as of right now it would not be a bad idea to prepare for the worst. Our backs are against the wall and the next five games go Raptors, Bucks back to back, Celtics, and Warriors.
As always, go Hornets!