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.