All I Want for Christmas is for the Hornets to Turn the Season Around

USP NBA: ATLANTA HAWKS AT CHARLOTTE HORNETS S BKN CHA ATL USA NC

(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.

Nic

(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!

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Consistently Inconsistent

By Mark Buonocore

I woke up the morning thinking, “How in the world did we get here Hornets!” This season started with such promise, we added an All-time NBA center, got lucky with a can’t miss prospect falling to us in the draft and were supposed to be in a weak Eastern Conference! I mean we couldn’t miss right….RIGHT!?!?!

Fast forward to 28 games in and this team is 10-18 and fading fast in what turned out to be a strong Eastern Conference after all. All we as fans can do is laugh, cry or throw things at our TV as we watch this squad lose another lead or allow some NBA bench warmer to drop their career high on us. It went from this being the season where we finally got to the second round, to it being time to blow this team up and start over in 2 months. So this morning I am pacing in my living room 2,808.9 miles from Spectrum Center trying to understand what I am witnessing.

frank kaminsky

We all know injuries have played their part, but personally I’m tired of that excuse, so let us just acknowledge them and move on.

The biggest issue derailing this team is a overall lack of consistency from top to bottom.  This team is a collection of guys who despite talent, lack the ability to perform with the level of consistency needed to win the tough road game or take advantage of a good team on a back to back.  All you have to do is look at the Hornets bench, Frank Kaminsky has had 5 games scoring 5 or less points, and 5 games of scoring 18 or more! How is that even possible! We all understand that guys have an off night here and there, that is just basketball, but when 20% of the time you pull of your warm-up you end up being either a non-factor or a leading scorer that makes it difficult for coaches and team mates. We can not blame this all on Frank (even though on twitter I may sound like I do).

The Hornets bench is littered with guys who you never know what you will get from them, including Michael Carter-Williams who shows flashes of great defense at times, but has missed more lay-ups than a 7 year old at recess this season.

Of course we can’t forget our first round pick in Malik Monk, now don’t get me wrong I think the kid has a bright future, he teased us early with some amazing quarters of play. However his lack of defense and sometimes puzzling shot selection has caused him to be in and out of the line-up of late, causing a small subset of fans to become really annoying on Social Media recently.

We can’t just shine the light of truth on the bench unit though, the starters have been less than level this season as well. Nic Batum continues to fight with the elbow injury, causing him to be harder to rely on than usual. We all know Nic has talent, but i don’t think even when healthy anyone who covers the NBA would call him consistent. Marvin Williams brings his intensity and defense every night, however sometimes he clearly forgets his jump shot. He has been a solid shooter in his time here, but he has too many games this season where he just doesn’t shoot. This team needs balance to compete, and when arguably your best 3 point shooter this season takes 3 shots in 30 minutes, you are gonna struggle. Even the fearless leader of the team Kemba has been on a roller-coaster this season, struggling to find his shot at times and missing far to many open threes. How can we as fans be surprised this team is struggling when from one night to the next the coaching staff and players have no clue what the guy next to him is going to bring.

So that is how we got here, 10-18 and 13th in the not so weak Eastern Conference. Is it time to throw up our hands in defeat?

Not yet, but unless this team starts to understand its weakness and attempts to correct it, this could be a long and frustrating season in Buzz City. If that happens, inconsistency will be the #1 reason for this team’s demise, and could in fact lead us to coaching changes, front office changes and a full rebuild. At that point the only thing that will be consistent is losing, and I don’t think anyone is too excited about that.

Did You Know: Why The Original Hornets Logo Is Never Used

Some of you may remember this logo and some of you may not BUT bee-lieve it or not this was the original primary logo for the Charlotte Hornets NOT the lovable, iconic logo we grew up with and are so fond of.

The Hugo logo everyone knows was actually the Hornets secondary logo.

you can see the logo being worn here…

Story has it that a little team in the NHL looked at our logo and had a big issue. The Montreal Canadiens felt that there was too much similarity between the their logo and the Hornets and legend has it they threatened legal action if this was not remedied.

So the Hornets went with the quickest fix possible and the rest is History. Funny how you can stumble upon greatness.

The change happened so quickly though that the logo was left on the trousers of the Hornets and remained until the 1991 season…

 

Charlotte: We Have a Problem.

Via USA Today

I woke up this morning pretty angry.

Last night was a very rare occasion where neither one of us could either attend or watch the game. I can count on one hand how many times that has happened over our 7-8 years of existence but when we got the notification that we were heading into overtime with the Bulls our reaction was similar to this…

Image result for big sean phone gif

We have maintained for a long time that this team was just at times painfully mediocre with the potential to be above average. BUT when you can’t muster up the effort to beat a team that is on a 10 game losing streak at home…. WE ARE BAD RIGHT NOW!!!

Fun Fact: We were the last team the Bulls beat before they started their 10 game losing streak AND since the beginning of the season the Bulls have won 4 games… the Hornets account for 2 of them. 

Many would say “But we were missing Cody, Frank, Lamb and Clifford”… NO. I refuse to let that be an excuse when we had our top 4 highest paid players on the court with our All-Star point guard. you win that game against the worst team in the league. You not only win it but by the time the 4th quarter rolls around we should have a comfortable enough lead that we get to showcase our rookie Monk to the home crowd and get him some needed playing time.

Rightfully so, Hornets fans showcased their anger and frustration with the franchise last night on social media. We mostly watched and listened and asked them a few questions. Here are some of the polls we asked on Twitter.

 

That’s a telling stat right there. It’s pretty Incredible that Kemba Walker is an All-Star BUT because of this team… he’s not. Because of this team we have many that believe Kemba, The player who has done more for this franchise than any player in Hornets history, may have to be coughed up to start over.

The $72,000,000 man. I mean… Who in the league would even touch that contract with him? Even if we wanted to, who would we have to package with him to make it  even remotely digestible for another team? Dwight? the one sliver of hope we’ve had this season. Marvin? He hasn’t done anything since the Miami Heat playoff series. MKG? Monk? Now that would hurt. Let’s not even talk about it.

AHH the great debate. The process. Do we/you trust it? I mean haven’t we waited long enough in “NBA Purgutaory” (copyrighted BBTB 2015)? Haven’t we as a fan base done our time? 16 years and counting since we’ve won a playoff series. It took 14 to get a single playoff win. And would you even trust a franchise that has drafted MKG, Cody and Frank? But what is another 3, 4, 5 years of waiting to a Hornets fan?

Who’s fault is this?

And the peasants look past the soldiers and slowly lift their heads up to look at the nobles and king in the castle.

Let’s be honest. This franchise has done nothing for what looks like its going to be 14 seasons now. We’ve had 6 coaches in the past 10 years. The fan base threw them a raft with the rebrand begging the them to show life and things are beginning to feel all too familiar again. The rebrand was never meant to be the “fix”. It was meant to be a second chance to get things right. This may be shocking to some of you but this stint has been around for just about the same amount of time as the original Charlotte Hornets franchise.

Now I’m a visual guy so let’s take a look at the progress reports lined up.

Original Hornets Take 2
1988-89 20-62 2004-05 18-64
1989-90 19-63 2005-06 26-56
1990-91 26-56 2006-07 33-49
1991-92 31-51 2007-08 32-50
1992-93 44-38  E. Conf. Semis 2008-09 35-47
1993-94 41-41 2009-10 44-38  E. Conf. 1st Rnd
1994-95 50-32  E. Conf. 1st Rnd 2010-11 34-48
1995-96 41-41 2011-12 7-59
1996-97 54-28  E. Conf. 1st Rnd. 2012-13 21-61
1997-98 51-31  E. Conf. Semis 2013-14 43-39  E. Conf. 1st Rnd.
1998-99 26-24 2014-15 33-49
1999-00 49-33  E. Conf. 1st Rnd. 2015-16 48-34  E. Conf. 1st Rnd.
2000-01 46-36  E. Conf. Semis 2016-17 36-46
2001-02 44-38  E. Conf. Semis 2017-18 ?

Around the 6th season the Original Hornets had established themselves, besides the 1998-99 lockout season, as a consistent mid-40 win team that you could occasionally expect to break 50 on a good year. Consistent isn’t even a word I like using in the same sentence as the “Take 2”.

Now I know it’s not exactly fair to compare the 2 of them but it is more or less showing what can be done in 14 season and what we have done in 14 seasons.

This is the result, in our humble opinion, of complacency. As a fan base we’ve knocked the hornets nest before and forced, what felt like kicking and screaming, this organization into giving back our name. We deserve better. We should demand better. We have done our part to support this organization even when they didn’t exactly earn it and we have very little to show for it in return.

The question is what do we believe as fans we should do to make this change happen?

Buzz Breaking News: Black Unis and… White Throwbacks?

So “Royal Key” was somehow given access to the Hornets’ locker room and practice facility from the team’s equipment manager Jason Rivera and got to interview him in a cool video about the player’s day-to-day equipment needs and habits. Then….

At the 11:30 mark of the video you will hear something quite interesting.

We had already known that there would be a 5th Hornets uniform this season and we speculated that it would be the return of the fan favorite “Buzz City” uniform this time with a Jordan flare, presumably SLEEVELESS and you will see it come at the end of December!!! BUT what Jason said next caught us by surprise.

He said that they will be bringing back the White throwbacks next year and that is definitely some shocking and kick-ass news!!!

Poll: Does the Absence of Curry Change Your Plans for Attending Wednesday’s Game?

It is no secret that Charlotte’s fans are a little more enamored by the super star than most cities.

Rightfully so considering Charlotte is his hometown and we all grew up watching his pops in the teal and purple. But the atmosphere of Spectrum Center seems to do a complete 180 when he comes to town. The sea of teal and purple Curry jerseys shifts to a tidal wave of blue and gold ones.

This is obviously a big money maker for the home team. The prodigal son returns and with him comes the sale of thousands of tickets to seats that are usually left empty. They even completely shift their marketing campaigns for a short time. Usual montages of Kemba and company juking and dunking are replaced by clips that are filled with our own team being dominated. Odd.

Many people purchase their tickets far in advance in anticipation of the night but like lots of sports fans in Charlotte many gamble and wait until the day of to see if prices drop. THIS may have paid off for many Curry fans.

Curry rolled his ankle pretty viciously in the 4th Quarter of Monday night’s game against the Pelicans and ended up walking off in crutches. Then came the news Tuesday that Curry would be sitting out his homecoming game that he always looks forward to. He even joked that “I’m gonna have to call my dad and cancel our game of golf tomorrow”. No news on how severe the injury is yet but he seemed optimistic.

The major question this must leave to the Hornets organization is… does this impact the ticket sales we projected OR the actual number of people who will still come and buy food, beer, apparel etc.

So we ask you… HAS THIS CHANGED YOUR PLANS TO ATTEND WEDNESDAY’S GAME AGAINST THE WARRIORS?