The Charlotte Hornets (formerly the Charlotte Bobcats) finished tenth in the Eastern Conference with a record of 33-49. While many NBA experts did not expect them to have a strong season, they did not expect them to underachieve as much as they did. The Hornets had a solid core with veteran Al Jefferson (center) and young stars, Kemba Walker (point guard) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (small forward). With solid role players, they were expected to make the playoffs at the very least.
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What They Did:
The Hornets drafted Frank Kaminsky, a , power forward from Wisconsin. Kaminsky is not projected to be an impact star, but he has good potential. He has a nice outside stroke and great passing skills. However, he lacks a post-up game and his defensive skills are a work in progress. He will be an excellent addition to the Charlotte offense as he will complement Paul Millsap excellently as a big man who can stretch the floor.
Charlotte also acquired Jeremy Lin from the Lakers for a second round draft pick. While Lin is not the best of point guards, he does provide solid play off the bench and adds some much needed depth to the point guard position for Charlotte. The Hornets also signed Nic Batum (shooting guard). He will be able to step into their starting lineup and provide them with some decent offense per game.
What They Did Not Do:
The Hornets failed to add a major star. They were listed as one of the teams expected to pursue LaMarcus Aldridge and DeAndre Jordan. However, they did not even make an attempt on either player. Star players make playoff teams in this league and, in order to properly contend for a championship, a team must have more than one star player. The Hornets’ failure to add a star player will limit their ability to move up in the conference next year.
What to Expect Next Year:
The Hornets did a decent job of improving themselves this offseason. They already had a good starting lineup anchored by Millsap, Walker, and Kidd-Gilchrist. The additions of Frank Kaminsky and Nic Batum should improve their offensive production significantly. However, Charlotte will not be an elite team based on their lack of star power. Consequently, it is reasonable to expect that they will make the playoffs but will not last past the first or second rounds.
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