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.

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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.

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Charlotte Hornets Early Season Observations

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We are five games into the NBA season and we finally have a good enough sample size of the team to formulate our opinions on the 2017-18 Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets are currently 2-3 and have shown tremendous upside, while falling just short to a very good team in the Milwaukee Bucks with potential future league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. Through these first five games though, one thing has stood out: We are going to be one of the few teams to rely heavily on our big men. In a basketball era where every team wants to chuck threes we have accepted the fact that isn’t our identity. We haven’t been able to see Cody Zeller suit up but for one game this season so it is difficult to measure how he will mesh with Dwight Howard, but we do know he is not going to be a stretch center who launches threes. The big surprise though has been how well Frank Kaminsky has played during the absence of Cody, and how surprisingly well he has been able to fit alongside Howard this quickly. Howard himself has also been stellar early on, averaging 14 points a game to go along with 17 rebounds. Let’s dive into what kind of an impact these two have made thus far.

Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard has been dominant, to say the least. Howard has averaged 14 points and 17 rebounds, and not on bad competition either. Howard has been able to do this going up against Andre Drummond, Nikola Jokic, and Clint Capela who tailed 20 rebounds and 16 points against Joel Embid’s 76’ers. This is very promising and could be a sign Howard has finally found a place he is wanted and can be productive.  While I do not expect him to sustain this level of play I do think it is reasonable to think he will be able to put up these numbers every few games. The most important factor Howard brings us though, is his presence down low. I remember during the “revenge game” against the Hawks, Dennis Schroder took several drives past Kemba only to meet Howard and throw up a floater before getting close enough to attempt a layup. While this may seem small it plays a huge factor into each possession, it now becomes how to I get to the basket, and when I do how am I going to put it in? This leads to many mistakes, bad shots, and the occasional D12 swat whenever they forget about his presence.

The problem with working a guy like Howard into your lineup is the same as every player, turnovers. This is not because he can’t hold onto the ball or makes bad passes, as the majority of turnovers come from the team being unable to make the entry pass often forcing the ball into a space that isn’t there. Another issue that has hurt us to begin the season is the change of our team when he comes off the court. We have yet to find an identity for our bench unit as it still looks just as pitiful as last year. Hopefully this will change with the addition of Cody Zeller back into the lineup Sunday night against the Magic

Frank Kaminsky

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Frank Kaminsky has been a totally different player at the start of this season, compared to last season. For the majority of last year, I did not want him to touch the ball or even be on the court. This season has been totally different, Frank has been very impressive and has sustained this level of play for more than just a few possessions. I am still very nervous to see him attempting to handle the ball, but he hasn’t given me a reason to yell at the TV incessantly…yet. If Frank is able to continue this level of play I will definitely consider erasing how he performed last year from my memory. As long as he doesn’t fall back into his poor habits of taking bad shots and playing bad defense he should be able to find success the rest of the season.

 

Will the Legion of Boom Meets it’s DOOM This Sunday?

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DING DING DING!!!

Its about to go down in the QUEEN CITY! The Battle on the Gridiron that everyone has been waiting for. Your Carolina Panthers against the Seattle Seahawks. This will be one for the record books as these two herculean teams brawl for a trip to the Super Bowl.

So what will make or break these teams? lets take a look at the Achilles Heels of both teams and be sure to watch for it come game time.

  1. Seattle has a quick off the go QB we all know, Russel Wilson. Even though his playing style out of the pocket reminds me of a tiny speedy gondolas from the Loony Toons , he CAN and WILL hurt you on the ground and with his arm. SO DON’T BE FOOLED!!! If the Panthers -D line can effectively collapse the pocket on the sides instead of up the middle the SEA-HAWKS tapes and highlights this season show that he will most often hold and run up the middle. So Panthers if you are reading this do not let him shake you. If they kill the pocket Wilson will have less time and more pressure which as his stats showed earlier this year that he throws off either high or low-aka NORMAN-COLEMAN territory.
  2. Panthers have all of their top guns in the front lines again minus a Charles “Peanut” Tillman. Some see this as a hurt for the Panthers not having him in. However, Peanut is a huge asset on the sidelines and everyone on the team listens to the veteran, he will keep guys in check and guide them on what to look for-so in a way it helps not hurts to have another pair of eyes that knows what to look for on the field.

My prediction is that the Panthers can win this game since they are playing at home, but they can only do this if they

  1. keep composure under control (Norman)
  2. lock down Wilson on the ground on in the pocket and make sure he doesn’t get a hot hand.
  3. If the WR core can get Olsen open on slants
  4. if Ginn can wear out the defense with his speed
Luke

Sunday Night Football

Fate is not defined, its just a suggestion.

BUZZ WEEKLY: HORNETS GET HOT AT HOME, UNBEATEN WARRIORS ON DECK

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Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images)

There’s no place like home. That certainly seems to be the case for the Charlotte Hornets as they have taken full advantage of a recent homestand, going 5-1 during that span, with the one loss being a tightly contested game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

 

The team is playing well, their defense isn’t quite what it has been in years past but it is still stout enough to be ranked tenth in the league in defensive efficiency. And part of the increase in points allowed could be attributed to the increase in pace on offense, as the Hornets are fifth in the league in offensive efficiency.

 

They are tops in the league in protecting the ball, always a point that has been stressed by Clifford coached teams. They also rebound defensively at a high rate but they leave much to be desired on the offensive glass, where they rank dead last. Still, the early returns on a team that has only played together for a few months are encouraging, and it’s hard to think that the chemistry won’t improve with time.

 

Nic Batum is becoming the player that he was brought in to be; a heady player that can help facilitate the offense while also having the versatility to create for himself as a scorer. He hasn’t shot the ball particularly well the past few games and he has the tendency to turn the ball over, but he is becoming more aggressive in his role as a leader and he always helps the team in other areas with his all around skill set.

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Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images)

 

Batum’s numbers for the season are on par with some of the best to ever put on the purple and teal. If he keeps up this pace he will join Jamal Mashburn and the late Anthony Mason as the only Hornets to average 16+ points, 6+ rebounds, 4+ assists and 1+ steals per game. That’s certainly good company and it points to yet another reason that the Hornets should retain Batum’s services for the future.

 

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Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images)

 

Kemba Walker has started to hit his stride as well, particularly in a 39-point outburst in an overtime win against the Kings. He has been shooting more efficiently from the field and has looked more comfortable as a facilitator on the floor.

 

Off the bench, the Hornets have continued to ride Jeremy Lin and Jeremy Lamb, currently the NBA’s highest scoring reserve backcourt duo. Lamb has played great all season and continues to look like a steal for Charlotte. He has notched 13 games with 10-or-more points this season, only scoring in double figures 11 times in all of 2014-15. Lin has already logged four 15-or-more point performances in his first year in Charlotte. Lamb is averaging a career- best 12.8 points per game in 2015-16 and Lin is averaging 10.8 points per game.

 

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Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images)

 

 

 

LOOKING AHEAD TO DECEMBER…

 

After Wednesday, the Hornets will enter a December slate that features quite a few challenges along the way. As the standing sit now, every team on the schedule has a winning record except for the underperforming Wizards, the .500 Pistons and the hapless Los Angeles Lakers; and by no means should the Hornets look past those three opponents.

 

The Hornets are 10-7 overall, and 8-2 at home going into Wednesday’s game against the Golden State Warriors. The game will be the last of seven straight home games and Charlotte will need to be hitting on all cylinders to beat the Warriors, who are on a historic 19-0 start to their season. But all good things must come to an end, so why can’t the Hornets be the ones to break the Warriors win streak?

 

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Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images)

 

 

To say this is a big game is an understatement. While Charlotte certainly doesn’t want to get caught up in a track meet style scoring battle with the defending NBA champs they do have the offensive firepower to keep up as long as they can play solid defense against a team that has been moving the ball as crisp as anyone so far this year.

 

The Hornets pushed the Cavs to the brink in a hard fought game a few days ago, so who’s to say that they can’t pull off the upset on Wednesday? A victory could serve as a HUGE punctuation mark for a Charlotte team that is on the rise.

 

The Hornets played the Warriors twice last season; they lost the first game out west by 25, but in Charlotte they carried a lead into the fourth quarter before eventually falling by five…and that was with last season’s slow paced offense. So hypothetically, we can compete with the Warriors if we bring our A game.

 

Of course there’s always a buzz when Charlotte native and defending NBA MVP Stephen Curry comes to town. The Warriors also boast sharpshooter Klay Thompson and versatile forward Draymond Green, the teams leader in rebounding and assists.

 

The Warriors are deep so the Hornets depth will most likely be tested in this matchup. Golden State can take advantage of turnovers with their transition game so protecting the ball will be more key than ever in this game.

 

The Hornets need to come out focused in this game as well. They are 5-0 at home where leading after the first quarter and they are 8-0 whenever they score 100+ points. Just for fun, they’re also 4-0 at home on a Wednesday. They play their best when Batum is scoring the ball well, so getting him into a rhythm will be important for Charlotte.

 

The Hornets have been as stout as any team at home this season. They are averaging the most points per game at home in the Eastern Conference, with 107.8, the second most three-point field goals in the conference per game, with 10.0 per game at home, and they have logged the second most wins at home in the East (8-2).

 

Unfortunately, the Hornets will be playing most of December without veteran big man Al Jefferson though; he went down in the first quarter of Sunday’s win against the Bucks and is likely out for the next 2-3 weeks with a strained left calf.

 

The Hornets built depth in the frontcourt this offseason and it will be on display during the next few weeks as the team tries to make up for the absence of Jefferson. Cody Zeller will likely step into the starting role at center but the minutes will also be spread around to Spencer Hawes, rookie Frank Kaminsky and seldom used, fan favorite Tyler Hansbrough.

 

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Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images)

 

The Hornets haven’t looked this good in a very long time, it’s a great time to be a fan of our local professional sports teams! The games only get tougher and more meaningful from here on out. Until next time Hornets fans, KEEP BUZZING!!!

 

 

you can follow David W. Walters @Original_DWade.

 

 

Joe Shomaker is young at only 16 but he is one of the most talented editors we have come across in our years of doing this. So naturally when he approached us we had to scoop him up and throw him on the Bring Back the Buzz Blog Team. We just hope the young Padawan takes his talent… not to South Beach BUT to college and we can some day bee blessed to see his work being used by either the Panthers or Hornets!

Here is some of his work for Bring Back the Buzz…


 


 

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My name is Joe Shomaker and I am a graphic artist for Bring Back The Buzz. I’ve been working with Photoshop for a year and a half and I’m glad to be a part of the page! I am from Northern Virginia but I am a die hard Hornets and Panthers fan!

Follow me on Twitter @J3_Digital

GO HORNETS & PANTHERS!

Joe Shomaker Edits

Carolina or Charlotte “Hornets”? POLL

We asked this question a while back to our followers and got a resounding “NO” with a few “yes” from some of the South Carolinians supporters. Now that we a little larger fan base we like to reintroduce the question of whether or not you would prefer the NBA franchise in Charlotte to be called the Charlotte Hornets or switch things up and hope for larger fan support with the Carolina Hornets?

We at Bring Back The Buzz have our opinion but we will keep that to ourselves 🙂

Tricia “Mama Buzz” Kent’s letter to Michael Jordan

Dear Mr. Jordan,

 

I’m 50 years old. That makes us contemporaries in the same generation. I was graduating college and getting married just as you were hitting the big time. My husband and I moved to Charlotte in 1984 and had our oldest son the very year the Hornets first played. For years, our house was a sea of teal and purple punctuated by the occasional Bulls #23. The Hive was a celebration and late-night games on the radio a given. Birthdays and Christmas’ were all about the VHS of Space Jam, the latest Jordans or the video game. I watched our sons grow up loving the Hornets, following everything NBA, and looking up to you like some sort of superhero.

 

Please allow me tell you something about their generation that you and even your children might not realize in your insular world of super-stardom. The horror of 9/11 happened to them at the worst possible time. Our sons were 9 and 13 when suddenly all that was safe and predictable wasn’t. This is fact not melodrama.  Hormone’s hit, grades dropped and they and many of their friends retreated into the security of sports and music. At the bottom of the pit of the worst parenting year I can remember – they lost the Hornets.

 

I am not the least bit surprised that our sons, Scotty and Evan, started Bring Back the Buzz. For ten years they bemoaned, and wished, and what-ifed about their Hornets until they were old enough to take matters into their own hands. They had to try. They had to give it their best shot in order for those wonderful memories from their childhood to be redeemable. It is the one wrong out of many that perhaps they can have a chance to help make right.

 

As a Charlottean I have worked for 28 years in and around the “history” community. I could spend many pages telling you about the American Revolution and the Hornets moniker. I could iterate the countless teams, both professional and amateur that bore the Hornets name. I will always have a deep seated resentment for any and all who allowed Shinn to slink out of town and pilfer this city’s identity.

 

You, Mr. Jordan by virtue of your power and your money have the ability to return to this town a piece of its rightful heritage. That alone would be worth years of PR and marketing. Still, I must confess, what I really want is for you to give back this bit of joy to our sons and their generation, to the parents who bought your gear and to the now young adults who worshiped you and still defend you. With this singular act, you will in turn gain their loyalty and that of their children.

 

It’s now clear that New Orleans will be doing their part.

I call on you, Michael Jordan to step forward and be the hero one more time.

 

Bring Back the Buzz!

Tricia (Mama Buzz) Kent