Previews

NBA season preview: Charlotte Hornets

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STAYING: Nicolas Batum, Aaron Harrison, Spencer Hawes, Frank Kaminsky, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Jeremy Lamb, Kemba Walker, Marvin Williams and Cody Zeller.

ADDED: Andrew Andrews (University of Washington), Marco Belinelli (Sacramento), Treveon Graham (Idaho), Roy Hibbert (LA Lakers), Brian Roberts (Portland), Ramon Sessions (Washington), Rasheed Sulaimon (Maryland), Mike Tobey (Virginia) and Christian Wood (Philadelphia).

GONE: Troy Daniels (Memphis), Jorge Gutierrez, Tyler Hansbrough, Al Jefferson (Indiana), Courtney Lee (New York) and Jeremy Lin (Brooklyn).

STRENGTHS: Point guard play … The super aggressive Kemba Walker comes off a terrific season in which he displayed by far his most efficient basketball … Often looked like a full-blown star, especially during the second half of the season … Finished at the basket and shot threes better than ever before … Good news is he’s just entering his prime years … Nicolas Batum is a very good sidekick with strong playmaking and defensive skills … Plays more of a ground game, but he excels at it … A healthy Michael Kidd-Gilchrist could do wonders for Charlotte on the defensive end and in the open court … Stretch four Marvin Williams is a real fine role player who low-key helps a lot on both ends … Above-average three-point shooting squad … Well-coached team that plays with toughness and togetherness.

WEAKNESSES: Nothing terribly wrong with the team, it’s just that a bunch of clubs have more talent … That was true in their successful 2015-16 season and even moreso now with good free agents leaving town … They don’t have many threats in the low post … Inside rotation is not that impressive … A bunch of unproven and past-their-prime players there … They are going to need an even nicer year from Cody ZellerRamon Sessions is not going to create off the dribble as much as Lin did … Is MKG going to remain kind of a liability on the offensive end with his suspect jump shot? … Questions about his durability too … They have been a poor fast break team lately and would probably be better off pushing the pace more … Will they?

PREDICTION: 3rd in the Southeast Division, 11th in the Eastern Conference.

SALARIES:

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