With the offseason wrapping up, we will take a look at every team in the NBA and where they stand now. I will breakdown the offseason, the current roster’s fit together, season prediction, and what the future could hold for the team. We will start with the East going from worst to best before moving on to the West.
The Hornets took a few big hits this offseason and did not have the roster to handle it. Losing Kemba Walker will leave a MASSIVE gap. Walker has been able to handle all the pressure in Charlotte while putting up similar stats to Kyrie. Teams would game-plan for him and it wouldn’t matter. They add Terry Rozier, but he will come nowhere close to filling the gap left by Walker. Rozier is closer to filling the gap left by Jeremy Lamb if anything. The Hornets draft pick PJ Washington is a solid piece, but his fit in the modern NBA will be interesting. The offseason was brutal to a team that seemed to be so invested in a doomed playoff run a year ago, that they failed to capitalize on the best asset they had.
G: Terry Rozier
G: Malik Monk
F: Miles Bridges
F: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
C: Cody Zeller
Bench: Nick Batum, PJ Washington, Marvin Williams, and Dwayne Bacon
Losing Kemba leaves no real go-to option on the team. MKG and Zeller are both not really starting level talent, and Malik Monk is on the fringe. This team will hope Rozier can get back to 2018 playoff form and Bridges can become a solid starter in the league. Batum and Williams both have bad contracts, and Bacon is very unproven. MKG can’t shoot well enough in the modern NBA, and Batum might be the starter. Either way, the team simply does not have enough talent for it to really matter how the roster fits together.
Season Projection: 16-66 (15th in East) / Misses Playoffs
This might be harsh and if you’re a Hornets fan you’re probably yelling somewhere about how you were the 9 seed last year, and will at least be better than the Knicks were last season. I would agree but in the modern NBA, once you start poorly teams will often move to tank. Rozier will need to learn to play with the roster early in the season, and even with great chemistry, this team is likely sitting at the bottom of the East. A bad start early will surely lead the team to look to add draft picks and get some lottery talent on a team that desperately needs it. The ceiling for this team is Rozier becoming an all-star level talent and replacing Kemba along with Bridges and Monk taking big steps forward. Even with that, the team would be in a similar spot as last year and likely out of the playoffs.
The Hornets will still be on the hook for Batum next year at 27 million and don’t have a ton of trading assets to make moves during the season. The Hornets need to get a great draft pick while developing these younger guys. The hope for them should be getting a guy like Wiseman or Anthony Edwards in the draft next year. Then in a year Rozier, Bridges, Monk, and a top draft pick can show promise so that some mid-level free agents in 2021 might look at the Hornets as a team that could help get to the playoffs. The Hornets are in one of the worst spots in the NBA, but this is probably the best Hornets fans can hope for. No more bad contracts between now and 2021, then enter that year with some young talent and a lot of money.
*Louie Snyder also discussed all predictions and lineups talked about in the article