So I had thought about hanging up the old keyboard and not writing any more articles about my beloved Charlotte Hornets. The more I watch and read on Twitter and Facebook, the more I feel the need for real fans of the team that have the outlet to publish articles, need to be publishing articles. Though the organization very successfully pushed out every fan site that they could, and they certainly dampened my spirits, I feel as though there needs to be some source to share some logic. So, stay tuned Hornets fans because I got a lot to say. Today I’ll start with this question:
What exactly is the Hornets fan base looking for?
I feel like it is a legitimate question to ask because after the departure of Kemba Walker, the signing of Scary Terry, I really don’t know what the fans were expecting. Now I feel like I have every right to type what MY thoughts and feelings are since I have been a fan of the Hornets, the Bobcats, and then the Hornets again. I have a little insight about this team and its history. I’ve had season tickets in the 7-win season. I’ve dressed “Cats Crazy” and screamed my head off for that 7-win team when our job was to get the crowd excited about a sub-par team on the court (yeah that was poor timing but a great idea for a quality product on the court). I attended one of the Miami Heat-Charlotte Bobcats playoff games to see most of the arena pulling for the Heat. I’ve been to countless games where there are more jerseys in the stands for the other team than the home team.
So. What do the Hornets fans want? They have fussed and cussed about wanting the youth to get playing time so we could see what we have and to keep the big, useless contracts on the bench. Well, this season, you’re getting it. You’re getting youth on the court. Batum rarely sees the court (thank goodness), MKG has seen the court a little, but overall, those guys are staying on the bench. What has happened, however is that with every really good game the youth plays, they lose a game. For that reason, the 13-22 Hornets are getting picked apart by its own fans. Do I understand why? No. I pose the question again: What did you expect? The team has lots of bright spots. It needed a complete tear-down and rebuild, and that is exactly what has happened. There is still some debris to clean up, but as with Charlotte road construction, it feels like it will never be done. There will always be some sort of “thing” that needs to be taken care of.
So lets start with some positives:
Devonte Graham – 24 year old playing his first full season of NBA basketball, not G-League Ball, looking like a very capable NBA starter and possible all-star. By the way, he was a 2nd round pick
PJ Washington – 21 year old rookie that drafted 12th and has played like no one expected. He’s setting records as a rookie, and he’s looking like a blessing, filling a need that the Hornets needed at PF/C with Marvin Williams getting long in the tooth. By the way, he looks and plays like an NBA vet with his skill set and he’s only going to get better
Miles Bridges – 21 year old in his second year in the NBA and the first year of getting extended playing time. Another 12th round pick that has shown lots of promise. Some players slump a little in their sophomore season, and he is a little, but he’s another guy who filled a need at SF that we really needed filled (Batum and MKG were not doing it)
Malik Monk – 21 year old in his 3rd season in the NBA. He’s finally seeing some playing time, and he has been taking advantage of it. I was ready to let him go, but now, I’m seeing that he is maturing and the game flow is coming to him. Again, an 11th round pick that is starting to show promise.
Cody Martin – 24 year old rookie that was drafted in the second round. While at first glance, some may think that it was a gimmick pick since he’s from NC, he’s actually put up some really decent role player numbers, and I think he will be a solid bench guy for the Hornets. A solid, reasonably paid bench guy that brings the motor that MKG always brought, but with scoring ability as well.
Terry Rozier – 25 year old player in his 5th NBA season, and the first season he’s seeing lots of starts. He’s had some amazing games and some “less than amazing” games. It’s going to happen with a new, young, inexperienced team. While he could be considered to be one of the “bad” contracts on the team, he’s not “scary” for the team’s flexibility in salary, primarily because of all of the youth that is on this team.
OK, so that’s my take on the positives. I also think that Coach Borrego is the guy this group needs right now. He’s a younger coach, he connects with these young players, and they listen to him. You can’t ask for much more.
Want to play “Did you know?”
Too bad, we’re playing anyway.
Did you know that next season, Batum has a player option for $27,130,434? If I’m the Hornets, I’m already discussing buyout with him so that he doesn’t show up in a Hornets uniform next season. Come on Mitch and MJ, to the fan base a favor.
Did you know that Marvin Williams, Bismack Biyombo, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Willy Hernangomez are all on expiring contracts? For those of you that like numbers, that’s $46, 563, 500 that comes off of the books. That’s also losing 4 players, and one of them has been very beneficial to the team. I would be willing to bring 1 to 2 of them back on much smaller contracts. I’ll let you guess which ones. Also, believe me when I tell you that experience and hustle are hard to teach, and there’s a couple guys back on the bench would not hurt to have at a reduced rate and vet minimum(Biz and Marv).
Did you know that if we just let the expiring contracts go at the end of the year, the total Salary goes from $124,325,442 to $79,954,763 for the 20-21 season? It gives us a good bit of room under that cap for that 2020-2021 season.
Did you know that Devonte Graham has a team option of $1,663,861 for next season. They need to be talking to him now about how they will decline that and pay the man something reasonable. Lock him in for some years.
Well, that’s all I got for now. Does this team frustrate me? Yes it does. Do I understand what is going on right now with the team? Yes I do. Did any of this help a fan understand the team any better and make them take the team and watch/support/enjoy what they are seeing? Maybe, or at least I hope so.
A dear friend of mine and co-creator of Trade Street Post, Bruce Barker, once told me that if an article goes on for too long, people get tired of reading it and they don’t make it to the end. For those of you that made it to here, thank you for reading. Also, I must wish rest in peace to my friend Bruce. He passed away on April 4, 2019 to join his beloved wife Sandra in Heaven. As the Bobcats changed to Hornets, Bruce lost interest in the team and with distance between us, we lost contact with one another. Without Bruce, I don’t think I would have ever harnessed my confidence to write. Thank you my friend.
Let’s Go Hornets