I think it’s time we face facts: Michael Jordan has made a terrible job with the Charlotte Hornets. The team has been irrelevant for years and now that they’ve lost Kemba Walker, they are nowhere near playoff contention.
Luckily for their fans, the team still has some interesting young players on the roster. Notably, they will not have to grow through their mistakes in a time-sensitive environment as the Hornets won’t be chasing a playoff run for at least a few more years.
Still, the franchise has some pretty toxic contracts on its books, and it is unlikely they’ll be able to move some of their veterans. But, at the very least, their young players will handle as many minutes as they can.
So, how, exactly, will they line up to start the season? Let’s break it down:
Bench: Devonte’ Graham, Malik Monk, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, PJ Washington, Marvin Williams, Willy Hernangomez, Bismack Biyombo
Point Guard: Terry Rozier
Everybody’s claiming Terry Rozier got overpaid after signing a 3-year, $58 million deal with the Hornets, so it’ll be up to him to prove his doubters wrong and take a step forward as a starting point guard.
We all know Rozier can score in bunches, but efficiency seems to be a concern with him. Also, he’ll be asked to walk in Kemba Walker’s shoes — which won’t be easy. He’ll be under a lot of pressure next season.
Shooting Guard: Nicolas Batum
The Hornets will not be able to move Nicolas Batum’s terrible contract unless they attach a lot of picks to it, which seems unlikely considering they’re going through a rebuild right now.
Hence, they’ll have no choice but to start him at least through the first passage of the season, but there’s a huge chance Malik Monk ends up being the team’s starting shooting guard after the All-Star Break.
Small Forward: Dwayne Bacon
Dwayne Bacon made a great impression on the Hornets’ coaching staff so there’s a strong believe he’ll be the team’s starting small forward to start the season. Still, he’ll be asked to do way more than just score.
Bacon is a nice creator at his size so he’ll likely run the offense through stretches when Rozier is on the bench. The Hornets will need him to take some of Jeremy Lambs’ shots, so he may be in for a breakout year.
Power Forward: Miles Bridges
Hornet’s fans must be excited as Miles Bridges enters this season as one of the prime breakout candidates. He’s an athletic freak that can light up an arena with his poster dunks and has also put a lot of muscle during the offseason.
Bridges can become one of the league’s most dominant scorers in no time. He’s strong, fast, and a solid finisher. His shooting has also improved and he can play both forward spots or even as a shooting guard. They’ll give him as much playing time as he can handle next year.
Center: Cody Zeller
Cody Zeller is not a guy that will impress with athleticism or post big numbers, but he can do all of the little things that make this team miss him when he’s not out there, especially on the defensive end.
Zeller is a solid rim-runner, sets great screens, and is a hard-working big man that’s willing to put his body on the line for every single possession. Also, Biyombo and Hernangomez’s presence will put some pressure on his shoulders, so he’ll be forced to deliver this year or face exile.