Charlotte Hornets: 2016 Preview, Offseason/Draft Recap, Outlook
Charlotte Hornets 2016 NBA Season Preview
October 15, 2016
NBA Championship: 500/1 Over/under win total: 41.5 See the Latest Odds
The Charlotte Hornets look to build off of a 48-34 2015-16 campaign that saw the Hornets play a postseason game in Charlotte for the first time since 2002. Optimism is through the roof in Buzz City, so let’s take a look at the 2016-17 Charlotte Hornets.
Key Additions: The Hornets additions come in the form of familiar faces as Charlotte re-signed forward Nicolas Batum to a 5-year deal worth $120 million. Batum set a career high in 2015-16, logging an average of 14.9 points per game and 5.8 assists per game while also pulling down 6.1 rebounds in his 60 games, the second highest total in his career. The Hornets also re-signed Marvin Williams to a 4-year, $54 million contract. Williams played in all but one of the Hornets games last season, putting up 11.7 points per game and a career-high 6.4 rebounds per game. Charlotte also added some size in the middle, agreeing to a 1-year, $5 million contract with big man Roy Hibbert. Hibbert is looking to start fresh in Charlotte after his last season in Los Angeles with the Lakers was nothing short of disappointing, posting a career-low 5.9 points per game and the lowest average playing time since his rookie year.
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Key Losses: Charlotte lost a trio of key pieces from their 2015-16 squad including point guard Jeremy Lin, who signed a 3-year deal with the Nets after averaging 11.7 points per game in 26.3 minutes, mostly off of the bench. Forward Al Jefferson also bid farewell to the Hornets, signing a 3-year deal of his own with the Indiana Pacers. Courtney Lee was acquired by the Hornets in February and turned out to be just a rental as Lee signed a 4-year deal with the New York Knicks worth $50 million. Lee just never really appeared to find his footing, averaging only 8.9 points in 30.2 minutes per game in starting all 28 of his games with Charlotte.
Breaking down the draft: The Hornets used their only pick, number 22 overall, to select Syracuse shooting guard Malachi Richardson. Richardson decided to forgo his 3 remaining years of eligibility with Syracuse to declare for the draft after averaging 13.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. Richardson was subsequently traded on July 7th to the Sacramento Kings in exchange for fellow guard and former Hornet, Marco Belinelli.
Outlook: The Hornets are in that same role that they’ve been in in years past, a good team, with no real star but a bunch of above average players that will fly under the radar. Not sure we will see much improvement over last year, where the Hornets were bounced in the first round, but a conference semis appearance wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility.
Projected record: 44-38