Hornets

Hornets Have Several Objectives for Season’s Home Stretch

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71 games in, the Charlotte Hornets are 22-49, putting them as the fourth-worst team in the NBA.

What are some things they could do to prepare for next season and future seasons right now?

The easy answer is they should bottom out and improve their chances at getting French phenom Victor Wembanyama.

It’s not that easy, though. The Hornets are in a unique financial situation with Gordon Hayward due $31.5 million next season and Terry Rozier due north of $23 million per year through 2026. This is not considering that the Hornets may have plans to re-sign P.J. Washington after trading away Jalen McDaniels.

Not to mention retaining Kelly Oubre from the trade deadline likely means he is here to stay. It is safe to say that with that money tied up, the Hornets would look to be competitive next year barring health issues that affected their season early like it did this year.

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Do More Than Start Williams

At this year’s trade deadline, the Hornets shipped starting center Mason Plumlee to open more minutes for rookie, Mark Williams.

Simply giving the Duke center more minutes is not the answer, though. Coach Steve Clifford should allow Williams to truly play through the ups and downs of a life as an everyday NBA center.

There will be times where Williams will struggle, but letting him play through them will help in the long run. We know how much Clifford is a fan of Nick Richards, so it can be concerning that the Hornets rookie won’t get the proper minutes fans think he deserves. If the Hornets want to truly invest in their franchise center, however, then they need Mark Williams to play through all tough situations.

Embrace The Youth

We discussed above how even next year this team more than likely will be a veteran-led team.

That does not mean they should not embrace the youth movement, however. Let’s face it, this team is not incredibly deep, yet. Coach Clifford said earlier this year that the switch has been flipped and that the young guys will get more playing time. This is a good call because next year’s cap situation could be tight, so getting some cheap help from the likes of Bryce McGowens, Kai Jones, James Bouknight or JT Thor could go a long way for a team who could have eyes on making the playoffs next year.

NBA fans of all teams think the Hornets don’t truly develop their players. To a certain extent they can be right. When you look at what happened with Malik Monk or Jalen McDaniels, that narrative seems true. The Hornets need to truly develop their in-house talent if they want to take this team to the next level.

Embracing the youth now will put them ahead of the charge.

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Internal Scouting

As the Hornets should embrace the youth, it is vital to understand the talent that’s one the roster.

In these last 20+ games, it is vital to see what you have in certain players. Going into this season, Hornets fans were excited to see Bouknight hopefully get a significant bump in minutes. 70+ games later, the second-year man out of UConn has barely seen the floor this season.

The same can be said about Kai Jones, although we have seen more of him in recent weeks. The Hornets really need to evaluate their own talent because they can’t expect to get roster-changing talent in free agency. You would not want to go into year three and not know what you have in certain players. Nick Richards is a key example of how it took too long for him to see the floor. Richards has since shown he is a quality NBA player.

The issue is he is a restricted free agent after this season.

About Darian Thomas

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