Biggest Needs for the Charlotte Hornets to Resolve Ahead of the 2021 NBA Season
After hovering a bit below .500 for three straight seasons, the Hornets took a dive in 2019-20. Charlotte posted a trifling 23-42 record – seemingly taking a giant step in the wrong direction.
Meanwhile, instead of focusing his efforts on building a legitimate roster, Michael Jordan has been spending his time forming a NASCAR team and advising for DraftKings. That’s when he’s not on the links playing 36 holes per day.
Perhaps Mitch Kupchak is up to the task, but someone in the front office needs to seize control of this organization. The first order of business heading into the offseason is to address the Charlotte Hornets’ biggest needs.
Last season’s roster was one of the few in the NBA where the average age was under 25. James Borrego has several players who are still in the process of being developed, plus they own the third pick in the upcoming draft.
The smart thing for Mitch Kupchak to do would be to target a proven veteran via free agency. Somebody who can come in and mentor guys like Miles Bridges and PJ Washington. Someone who can teach Devonte’ Graham what it takes to sustain a fruitful career.
With the most coveted pieces likely being out of reach for this small-market team, there are a couple of names lurking (at the back end of their careers) who could be available at a discount. Paul Millsap or Marc Gasol quickly come to mind.
Budding Post Player
Devonte’ Graham and Terry Rozier eat most of the minutes in the backcourt. The team is invested in forwards Miles Bridges and PJ Washington, as evidenced by each playing over 30 minutes per game a season ago.
Then you have the center position – currently being manned by the triumvirate of Cody Zeller, Bismack Biyombo, and Willy Hernangomez. If Charlotte has any ambitions of evolving into a contender, they need to shore up the post.
Cue in the third pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
If the Warriors decide to pass on the 7’1” athletic freak they call James Wiseman, MJ needs to issue an executive order for the team to draft Wiseman. The 19-year-old lefty has a chance to be special.
Updated look at James Wiseman with trainer David Alexander pic.twitter.com/aKbTN5cbLD— Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftWass) October 15, 2020
In the event that GSW scoops Wiseman off the board, USC’s Onyeka Okongwu isn’t the worst consolation. He’s another 19-year-old athletic specimen with oodles of upside on both ends of the floor.
A High-Motor Threat – Specifically Montrezl Harrell
If this franchise is serious about turning things around, they ought to draft either Wiseman or Okongwu, and then go out and sign Montrezl Harrel.
One of the Charlotte Hornets’ biggest needs for the 2021 season adding a guy who can give them easy baskets. James Borrego’s group ranked dead last in the NBA in field goal % and points per game, and a big reason why is they took too many contested shots.
In Harrell, here’s a career 61.4% shooter who averaged 18.6 ppg and 7.1 rbg playing under 28 minutes per night last year. A sour finish with the Clippers in the bubble could very well pave the way for Montrezl to be interested in a fresh start in a new city.
If all goes according to plan, here’s what Charlotte’s eight-man rotation could look like in 2020.
- PG – Devonte’ Graham
- SG – Terry Rozier
- SF – Miles Bridges
- PF – Montrezl Harrell
- C – James Wiseman
- PG/SG – Malik Monk
- SF/PF – PJ Washington
- C – Marc Gasol
It may not be enough to challenge for supremacy in the East in 2021, but it’s more than enough to catapult into the top-8 in the standings. 2-3 years down the road – that’s when this squad could make some genuine noise.