Blog: Expectations High at the Hive on Media Day
By Quierra Luck, hornets.com
Quierra Luck is a freelance sports writer who has been featured on various sites such as BSO and WRAL Sports Fan. Quierra is an NC native and the Charlotte Hornets have always been a hometown favorite. The opinions expressed here are her own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Hornets organization.
It’s that time of the year again, as the Hornets look to make their mark in the Eastern Conference. Coming off an impressive run to the playoffs last season, the Hornets are looking to not only return, but become a deeper threat in 2016-17.
Media Day marked the start of the NBA season, and with it dawn some new faces and high expectations. Head Coach Steve Clifford addressed the media first and set the tone for the rest of the day as he stressed the need to gel together as a team and become a repeat offensive threat. While questions were raised as to whom will start, Clifford was confident in knowing at least four of the positions, leaving the question open as to who will start at the five. Clifford stated that time will be shared between Hornets veteran, Cody Zeller and newcomer, Roy Hibbert. Speaking of Hibbert, Coach Clifford is dedicated to returning him to All-Star status. Clifford’s confidence in Hibbert’s capabilities proves that pundits may be missing something that he sees in Charlotte’s new big man, and with only two years removed from his second All-Star appearance, I don't think Clifford is far off.
But the big story in Charlotte is the return of a strong veteran Hornets presence and ensuring team chemistry. The Hornets have six new faces on the roster, and they’re looking to teammates like Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marvin Williams to ensure people are adapting and coming together as a team. Williams, who is entering his third season in Charlotte, stated that chemistry is big to him this season and making sure everyone is comfortable in their position.
“Its always a process, but thankfully for us, it'll be expedited because we have so many guys returning,” Williams said. “But we do have new faces, so it will take time to learn someone’s game, personality and where they can be successful. But with most of us being around each other for 2-3 years, I think that will help us most during Training Camp.”
Kemba Walker echoed the same sentiments stating, “I think our team chemistry is super important. We have to get along and make sure we like each other in order to play well on the court. You have to know that your teammates are going to sacrifice as much as you when diving for loose balls and taking charges. Chemistry is all a part of that.”
The Hornets are looking to make sure their presence is finally felt in the Eastern Conference. One thing that stood out when speaking with returning Hornets was that they all wanted to get past the first round of the playoffs.
The returning MKG had a little bit more confidence and stated, “I want nothing more than to go all the way.” Looks like MKG is coming back with a vengeance.
Hornets fans can expect a dedicated team this year. The guys came in focused and dedicated to not only each other, but the city of Charlotte. With so much going on, this team wants nothing more than to bring this city together and heal in the only way they know how, bringing wins and high energy to Time Warner Cable Arena.