The Case for Optimism in Charlotte

Dear HP, I have an announcement. I actually feel a little optimistic and I must share this rare moment of true optimism (before our patented “Hornets Law” strikes again, of course). The biggest thing I felt yesterday was relief. Finally, finally, finally this franchise faced the music that the rest of the league has seen for years, and took steps to move forward. This franchise has joined reality and can finally move forward. I hate the basketball I’ve seen this year, but I’m happy this team fell apart to force Mitch’s hand.

Rozier, Hayward, and PJ are all gone, and we even have a few assets to show for it-in addition to the much needed cap room. Guys, this team has options. And shit, even a good trio of players to build around (Melo, Miller, Mark). I’d even throw in NSJ into the mix of that exciting young core. And we’ll have a top 5 pick in this draft, along with additional future 1sts in our back pockets.

Listen guys, if the New York Knicks can slowly transform into an a supremely competent, well run franchise, I think the same can happen here in Charlotte. What a world we live in, the New York Knicks have slowly executed an excellent, multi-season game plan that has been punctuated by some shrewd trades and savvy moves.

An excellent nugget per Zach Lowe (who is maybe the best in the business IMO): When the Knicks re-signed their 2019 first round pick RJ Barrett in 2022, that was the first time SINCE 1994 that the Knicks as re signed a player they drafted in the first round. WHAT??? Who was that player they drafted in 1994 that they re signed? Charlie Ward.

They used a core that they had drafted (Barrett, Toppin, Grimes, Quickley) to turn their team into legit contenders. By making GOOD trades. If the shit show Knicks franchise can do it, the Hornets can.

Given the trio of Hornets young talent I mentioned above, I think a case could be made for the Hornets being in an even better position to grow than the Knicks over the years. It can happen. We just had to finally fall apart to really kick this off. So what needs to happen next? I’d like to see the new ownership take note of the Houston Rockets playbook: The needs are obvious, so go get what you need to help the young guys gel.

Let’s see if the new ownership can take note of what the Rockets and Knicks have been able to pull off.

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I just got the free trial of Bally Sports. If things go well, may keep subscription the rest of the season.

That’s where my optimism is.

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I’m waiting for Cliff to be gone before I watch again. Was pleased by some of the moves & agree that I feel better about the team after this very active deadline.

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I agree with you and am way, way more confident that it’s possible after the actions taken this deadline. Terry being traded made us worse, no doubt. But all the other trades improved our roster, while we simultaneously gained picks. Quite a feat!

LaMelo, Mann, Micic, Cody, NSJ, Bryce, Bailey & Miller is quite a Guard/Wing rotation. Yes, we still lack that true starting SG and some size to backup Miller, but a coach can work with that group. Then there’s Miles, Grant, Mark & Richards with hopes of resuscitating Thor and bringing over Nnaji for our Big rotation. Bertans too. It’s certainly not a playoff roster, but there’s undeniable potential, depth and versatility there.

My final point, if we’re talking to a SG free agent or trade target this off season, at least there’s now a vision to sell them on. A relatively coherent roster with plenty of first round picks over the next few years.

I’m genuinely looking forward to seeing which players put their hands up and show they want to be part of the Hornets’ future.

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Winning and playing well against Memphis, the first game with all the new guys felt great. I’ve been wanting to flush and reset this roster for basically two years, and it’s so validating to see a good strong team win after finally having sent off the old guard.

Damn that feels good. Bumping that optimism.

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Good post bro

Excited for the future

I mean, what the heck else are we going to do?

We are an assassin SG away from winning a playoff series next year

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So this is what optimism feels like. Only 2 games, but I think this new roster can play .500 ball the rest of the season. That’ll leave them around 25-26 wins, still top 8 pick. Main objective for the rest of the season should be getting Mark and Lamelo 100%. It’s ok if they don’t play. Looking to next year, I’d like to add a C3, probably a stretch C. I’d like to have a 4 with some size. I think we’re a little small there with Bridges and Grant. A legit 3&d SG would be great. All of these are possible. I think we can be a playoff team next year. Not play-in, but top 6 playoff team. Wow, wouldn’t have thought I would be saying that.

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I am so conflicted on .500 ball the rest of the year. It seems like the right thing to do but also seems incredibly foolish. There are about 3 or 4 guys that MAY become an all star and maybe 1 multiple all star. They will all probably be gone by 6.

I know the draft is generally regarded as terrible but I feel like the hornets are way more than halfway there so why turnaround now.

I’m not really all that concerned about the rest of the season, or this draft. To me, this draft lacks the high end talent that warrants the typical nba “tanking mania”. Even though I do give this 2024 draft class a lot of shit, it still has some depth. And mock drafts are all over the place with projections.

Take dalton knecht for example. I’ve seen him around pick 15 and I’ve also seen him around pick 6. Regardless, dude is a 6’6” athletic, nba sharpshooter.

I somewhat understand the concerns around going on a winning spree down the stretch, but from a practical standpoint, how do we really control that anyway? You can’t very well tell these guys to go out there and give half effort or really do anything that makes it apparent that we’re trying not to win, such as sitting guys who are healthy. We’ve just overhauled our roster in an effort to bring about change and instill a winning culture. We shouldn’t do anything to undermine that. The new guys haven’t been a part of the losing here. That’s a good thing. So let 'em play and let 'em win as much as they can. And let the ping pong balls fall where they may.

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I only meant my rooting interest. You absolutely coach to win and play to win.

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For this draft. I’m not worried where we end up picking. I think team unity and momentum is far, far more important. There are plenty of guys in a similar tier in that top 10.

Personally, I’m looking at guys who don’t need the ball on their hands too much … Risacher, Walter and Holland are three wings I could see fitting well with LaMelo and Miller. If not them Topic, Cody Williams, Reed Shepard or Castle could be good. On the Big side of things, there’s obviously Sarr, but I really like what Filiposki could potentially do on this roster. In fact, Buzelis is the only top 10 guy I’m a little bit down on. That’s nine names, which I still need to watch more of, but a decent number of them will be in range for the Hornets.

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There definitely is normally 3-4 all star caliber talents in most drafts. But when it’s a crapshoot draft like this, they normally are spread out through the first round. I’d say last year was key in getting into the top 3, this year, there are no clear cut, head above the rest star caliber players.

So what happens, GM’s roll the dice with size and athleticism, not wanting to take the risk of missing out on “potential” over proven ability in a small package, leaving many of the better players available throughout the rest of the round. I’d say it’s as likely that more of the all stars might come from the back half of the lottery and later than at the top this year.

I was looking at the Donovan Mitchell draft cause the obvious case of him falling to 13. The consensus top 3 was Fultz, Lonzo, and Tatum. I liked Tatum the best, but those teams pretty much were forced to take those guys “according to the draft boards” or get ripped mercilessly.

Lauri maybe should’ve been next, but physical specimens Josh Jackson and Jonathan Isaac went ahead of him (Josh before Fox). Our boy Frankie Smokes, who no fan in the NBA ever wants to see on their roster, was number 8, with career backup PG DSJ right after, then Zach Collins, Monk, and Kennard going right before multiple time all stars Donovan and Bam at 13 and 14.

John Collins at 19, Jarrett Allen at 22, OG at 23, Kuzma at 27, Derrick White at 29, Josh Hart at 30. Dillon Brooks at 45. 6 all-stars, only two in the top 5.

2020 was the Haliburton year. I remember he was a top 5 prospect leading up to the draft, then for some reason everyone started passing on him. The rankings had it right, but stupid GMs talked themselves into Patrick Williams, Okoro, Okongwu, Killian, Obi Toppin, Avdija, Jalen Smith, and Vassell over Hali? A tiny bit more athleticism was worth the risk over highly skilled baller in college?

Maxey goes 21 and Bane goes 30 in that draft.

Chef - this isn’t a screed at you, you just always have prompts that inspire my novels. I typed all that to say, I feel that going for the full on culture change, in “this” draft, is worth it more than tanking for… I don’t know, Sarr? Risacher?? Buzelis? Maybe one is good, but more likely the biggest surprises happen later.

Also, Knecht looks like a baller, I have a feeling he’s going to rise dramatically on the draft boards.

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I like your novels. Part of my questioning here is to inspire conversation. Happy to play the muse.

I can see the rationale for this, and I’m with you. This is why I’m not particularly worried about jockeying for top 4 positioning this tanking season. I feel that we’ll see teams really “reach” during this draft and take chances on their picks. The draft boards are all over the place.

I‘ve been very much on the Dalton Knecht train, and his stock has risen dramatically. He’s the guy I really want. Nasty, pure shooter with deep range. Scorer with athleticism. 6’6. He really turned my head at the Tennessee/UNC game. He has the immediate “whoa” factor.

Sounds like we’re looking at it from a purely drafting talent point of view? We’ve got a young core there with lamelo, mark, Brandon, even Trae… got to be a decent chance we move the pick to plug some of the gaps we still have?

And in terms of trade value, can guarantee a team will fall in love with someone as happens every year, irrespective of it being a strong draft or not, and at that point the higher the pick the better.

Don’t think we need to make a decision now in any case, there’s breathing room between us and the teams above so let them ride the wave for a little bit.

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