Charlotte Hornets 2016 Preview, Draft, Offseason Recap, Depth Chart, Outlook
Charlotte Hornets 2016 Preview
NBA Title Odds: +50000 See the Latest Odds
The Charlotte Hornets won 48 games last year and now hope to make the playoffs back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2000-01. The Hornets have come a long way from the team that won just seven games a few years ago, and expectations are picking up just a tad.
Can the Hornets take another step forward?
USA TODAY Sports
Here is your Charlotte Hornets 2016 NBA preview.
Key Player Losses: The Hornets lost point guard Jeremy Lin, who averaged 11.7 points and three assists last season off the bench. Lin was very solid in his one season in Charlotte and was one of the key reasons the Hornets pushed the Miami Heat to seven games in their playoff series. The Hornets also say goodbye to veteran center Al Jefferson. He gave the Hornets three seasons, scoring over 3,000 points and grabbing 1,600 rebounds during that span. However, health was an issue with the 31-year-old.
Key Player Additions: The big addition for Charlotte was Marco Belinelli, who is a career 37.9 percent shooter from deep and averaged 10.2 points off the bench last year for the Kings. The Hornets will also kick the tires on center Roy Hibbert, who has really fallen off since leaving Indiana but is still capable of being a force on the defensive end of the court. An underrated pickup is point guard Ramon Sessions, who shot 47.3 percent from the field last season with Washington and scored 810 points, his highest total since playing with Charlotte back in 2012.
Draft: The Hornets traded first round pick Malachi Richardson to Sacramento for Belinelli, a move that should pay off considering he stretches the floor, an area Charlotte needed help.
Outlook: The Hornets are moving in the right direction and have a nice young core to build around with Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum and Cody Zeller. Charlotte could be an even better team if Michael Kidd-Gilchrist manages to stay healthy at the small forward spot. The Hornets still don’t have the firepower to make a real push for an Eastern Conference crown, but they’re capable of being a top-four team in the East if everything goes right and can make the second round.