Since there return to Charlotte in 2004 (and when they were known as the Bobcats), the Charlotte Hornets only made the playoffs three times. 2018-2019 was another non-playoff season, finishing 39-43, which placed them 10th in the Eastern Conference. Of course, the big story for the franchise was Kemba Walker, who left the team via free agency after eight years […]
Since there return to Charlotte in 2004 (and when they were known as the Bobcats), the Charlotte Hornets only made the playoffs three times. 2018-2019 was another non-playoff season, finishing 39-43, which placed them 10th in the Eastern Conference.
Of course, the big story for the franchise was Kemba Walker, who left the team via free agency after eight years with the franchise. Walker was a three-time All-Star, 2019 All-NBA Third team selection, and all-time leading scorer for the Hornets. He is now a member of the Boston Celtics and now Charlotte looks to start a new era in “Buzz City.”
Outside of Walker, Jeremy Lamb left the team to sign with the Indiana Pacers, while the team in return signed Terry Rozier from the Celtics in hope that he can be a solid contributor right away. In the draft, the team used their first-round pick (12th overall) on Kentucky big man P.J. Washington, who could develop nicely as a building block for Charlotte.
Here are the position breakdowns for the team, along with a projected lineup.
- Joe Chealey
- Devonte’ Graham
- Josh Perkins
- Terry Rozier
Rozier was the team’s big free-agent signing (technically a sign-and-trade with Kemba Walker to fit the cap space). He had a decent four-year run with the Celtics where he best season came two years ago when Kyrie Irving was out and Rozier was one of the main scorers. His production dipped a bit last season which makes sense given Irving was playing more.
I think Rozier is in a solid spot right now. He can score when given the chance and as one of the lone scorers on this roster, he’ll get his shots up. Graham will look to be the main backup to Rozier while Chealey and Perkins will compete for the third spot.
- Dwayne Bacon
- Ahmed Hill *(Two-Way)
- Malik Monk
Bacon was a 2017 second-round pick for the team and is a solid player. With Lamb leaving, look for Bacon to take over the shooting guard position. Monk was actually selected in the first round of the same draft and has yet to live up to his 11th overall selection. He has yet to start a game for the team, rather than coming off the bench. He has only averaged about 15 minutes a game during his two-year run and is a solid scorer off the bench for the team. Like with Bacon, the departure of Lamb will give Monk some more playing time. Hill went undrafted in 2019 and signed a two-way contract with the team, so he’ll bounce from the Hornets to their G League affiliate, Greensboro Swarm.
- Nicolas Batum
- Miles Bridges
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
- Caleb Martin
- Cody Martin
I’m really high on Bridges this season. I think he’ll take a huge step forward in his second season with the Hornets. He is an athletic small forward that averaged 7.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.2 assists in 80 games last season. Look for him to double those numbers as one of the team stop scoring options this season. Batum is a veteran that is a solid two-way player and will likely be in the starting lineup once again, defending against one of the opposing teams best player. Kidd-Gilchrist is a former number two overall selection in 2012 and while he never developed into the star player the team had hoped for, he is still a solid role player for the team. Cody Martin was drafted in the second round of this past draft and while his twin brother, Caleb, went undrafted. The twins will look to be development players and future contributors to the team.
- Robert Franks *(Two-Way)
- Jalen McDaniels
- P.J. Washington
- Marvin Williams
Williams has been in the league since 2005 and has been a solid two-way player. He was s full-time starter last season but it would not be surprising if he takes a backup role heading into the 2019-20 season. Washington was the team’s first-round pick in 2019 and looks to be a contributor right away for the team as he was a solid offensive and defensive player heading into his rookie season. McDaniels was the 52nd selection in the 2019 draft and may spend a lot of time in the G League with the number of players ahead of him on the depth chart. Franks signed a two-way deal with the team so he’ll have 45 days to show that he deserved a full-time roster spot.
- Bismack Biyombo
- Willy Hernangómez
- Thomas Welsh
- Cody Zeller
Biyombo rejoined the team after a few years away, having stints in Toronto and Orlando during that time. He is a solid shot-blocking center that does not score a lot, which is okay given the number of other scorers the team has. Hernangómez and Zeller will look to fight for backup minutes with the team. Welsch seems to be the odd man out unless he impresses in preseason/training camp.
After an interim coaching stint with the Orlando Magic in 2015, James Borrego earned his first full-time coaching gig last offseason. Before that, he had two separate stints with the San Antonio Spurs (2003-2010 and 2015-2018). Working with the legend in Gregg Popovich is always a boost when you are looking for a coaching job. He has a young roster to work with and I think he can develop the players nicely, given his experience in San Antonio.
Projected Lineup/Roster Cuts
- PG: Terry Rozier
- SG: Dwayne Bacon
- SF: Nicolas Batum
- SF/PF: Miles Bridges
- C: Bismack Biyombo
- Sixth Man: Malik Monk
- Key Role Players: Marvin Williams, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Cody Zeller
- Rest of the Bench: P.J. Washington, Willy Hernangómez, Devonte’ Graham, Caleb Martin, Cody Martin, Josh McDaniels
- Two-Way Players: Ahmed Hall, Robert Franks
- Roster Cuts: Joe Chealey, Josh Perkins, Thomas Welsh
A young roster here but a lot of interesting pieces. I think Bridges will be the star here while Rozier could be a solid signing with the team now that he will get more playing time. Bacon and Monk I think will improve in their third season while also getting more playing time this season.
They have some young players with a lot to prove but I still think the Charlotte Hornets will still be at the bottom of the Eastern Conference heading into the 2019-2020 season. In a few years, if the right players develop and they nail their draft picks for the next few years, they can be a competitive team. But for now, expect them to be one of the top teams picking in the 2020 NBA Draft.