After wasting years of Kemba Walker playing elite-level basketball at a bargain price, the Charlotte Hornets finally lost the services of the star point guard this summer to the Boston Celtics. To replace him, Charlotte acquired an inconsistent but talented point guard in Terry Rozier, who will play a lot of minutes and take a lot of shots this upcoming season.
Outside of Rozier, there isn’t too much promise on the Hornets roster, which will make the 2019-20 campaign a frustrating one for Charlotte fans. Fear not, though, because there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel, and for the Hornets, that light is their 2020 first-round pick, a selection that could land first overall in a deep draft class.
The immediate future for the team might be ugly, but as long as Charlotte rebuilds the right way, there’s no reason they can’t become a respectable team again in three or four years.
STAYING: Dwayne Bacon, Nicolas Batum, Bismack Biyombo, Miles Bridges, Joe Chealey, Devonte Graham, Willy Hernangomez, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Malik Monk, Marvin Williams and Cody Zeller.
ADDED: Robert Franks (University of Washington), Ahmed Hill (Virginia Tech), Caleb Martin (Nevada), Cody Martin (Nevada), Josh Perkins (Gonzaga), Terry Rozier (Boston), Kobi Simmons (Cleveland), PJ Washington (Kentucky) and Thomas Welsh (Denver).
GONE: Frank Kaminsky (Phoenix), Jeremy Lamb (Indiana), Shelvin Mack (Olimpia Milano), JP Macura (Cleveland), Tony Parker (retired) and Kemba Walker (Boston).
STRENGTHS: Due to the weakness of the roster, the Hornets will be able to grant Rozier a complete green light, giving them the chance to see what his true ceiling is, be it that of a low-level star or just a decent starter … They have an interesting group of young wings that could turn into something this season, including Dwayne Bacon and Miles Bridges … Low expectations could be actually a boost for them if they can get into the underdog mentality … They have respected veterans in the looker room like Marvin Williams, Nicolas Batum and Cody Zeller to help the roster navigate through the season with a good attitude… Considering the roster, they have a nice depth in the big man position … They own their 2020 first-round pick, a selection that will almost certainly be in the Top 5, which is by far the best thing they have going for them.
WEAKNESSES: The roster is extremely weak … They don’t boast a single player at the Top 15 of their respective positions … The majority of the roster is either completely unproven or declining, as is the case with Batum and Williams … Their past draft misses and poor decisions in free agency have really caught up to them … Very low flexibility to acquire future assets in trades like most lottery-bound teams do during the season … The depth at the point is anything but reliable … No player in the roster averaged more than 10.1 points in the NBA last season.
PREDICTION: 5th in the Southeast Division, 15th in the Eastern Conference.