The Charlotte Hornets head into the NBA offseason with a bevy of problems that cannot be solved simply by one or two roster moves. LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward are the cornerstones of the franchise and they need plenty of help to make the next season a more successful one than the 2020-21 campaign.
Their slide down from being fifth in the Eastern Conference to 10th place with a 33-39 record was an eye-opener that showed us the team’s biggest needs.
What the Charlotte Hornets are looking for
From offense to defense, the Charlotte Hornets need new personnel who can get them over the hump and into the playoffs where they haven’t been since 2016. They have some of the pieces in place but changes are in order for this team to reach its potential.
A lengthier training camp would address much of their problems, but they still need to find new blood, hopefully veterans who are excited to be around a new era in Charlotte Hornets basketball.
1. A center
One of the most glaring issues the Charlotte Hornets faced during the regular season was depth at the center position. The combination of Cody Zeller and Bismack Biyombo didn’t exactly make fans remember the days when Alonzo Mourning used to patrol the paint.
Both are unrestricted free agents and it’s a safe bet that neither of them will be brought back in a Charlotte Hornets uniform, unless Zeller is considered in a backup capacity only. Last year’s draft netted Vernon Carey Jr. and Nick Richards, but neither of them made an indelible impression.
The best-case scenario is for the Charlotte Hornets to look into signing someone like the Sacramento Kings’ Richaun Holmes or the New York Knicks’ Nerlens Noel. Holmes is the more polished scorer but either of them could shore up the team’s interior defense.
2. Versatile wing player
Practically every team needs a 3-and-D wing on their roster and you can count the Charlotte Hornets to be among the needy ones. But they can afford to simply get a versatile wing who can switch between shooting guard and small forward while being a consistent threat to knock down the three.
A couple of intriguing options include Tim Hardaway Jr., Gary Trent Jr., Evan Fournier and Norman Powell. Any of these players could help the Charlotte Hornets match up better against other teams by providing outside shooting and depth at the wing positions.
With Terry Rozier being an undersized shooting guard, the Charlotte Hornets need a bigger shooting guard who can be part of a potentially big lineup without sacrificing their offense.
3. Additional scoring
The Charlotte Hornets had one of the worst offenses during the regular season. They were 23rd in scoring with a 109.5 points-per-game average. While injuries to Gordon Hayward and LaMelo Ball during the latter half of the campaign contributed mightily to their offensive struggles, there’s still a need to add more scoring.
Hayward was a 20+ point scorer earlier in the season, but his health took a toll in his later performances. Malik Monk was supposed to provide consistent scoring off the bench except he was far from being reliable.
Miles Bridges showed during his last 16 games that he could be the answer to the Charlotte Hornets’ lack of scoring, averaging 21.0 points on 50.8 percent shooting from the field and 42.0 percent from three. It remains to be seen if he can perform like this consistently.
Otherwise, the Charlotte Hornets will have to look elsewhere for a 20-point scorer who can ease the burden from Hayward and Terry Rozier. Whether they get one or two players to get this done, the fact is, the Hornets should be in the hunt for scorers in the offseason.