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Plenty Of Solid Pieces In Charlotte
Notable Players Acquired: G Malik Monk (draft), C Dwight Howard (trade), G Michael Carter-Williams (draft)
Notable Players Lost: PF Miles Plumlee (trade), SG Marco Belinelli (trade), PG Ramon Sessions (free agency)
The Hornets finished last season with a 36-46 record, 11th in the Eastern Conference.
The core of Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum were once again solid, combining to average 38.3 points, 10.1 rebounds and 11.4 assists per game.
On top of that Marvin Williams, Cody Zeller, Frank Kaminsky and Marco Belineli all averaged 10 or more points per game. Numbers say that the Hornets probably should have made the playoffs. They ranked 16th in points per game and 13th in points allowed per game. They were 14th in offensive rating and 14th in defensive rating.
The troubles for Charlotte came on the road. The Hornets were 22-19 at home, but just 14-27 on the road. Had the Hornets been able to make the postseason, it would have been the first time they made the playoffs in back-to-back years since 2002. Baron Davis was in just his second season.
The Big Question
What will the Hornets get out of center Dwight Howard? It’s hard to believe that this will be the fifth team Howard has played for already in his 13-year career.
Howard spent last season with the Hawks and averaged 13.5 points and 12.7 rebounds per game (his highest since 2011-12), so the thought that he had a bad season isn’t true. His 63.3 percent from the field was a career high, too.
Getting Howard is a good get for Charlotte and definitely worth the gamble. Depending on who starts at center (Cody Zeller started 58 games last season), Howard should be able to give the Hornets at least 20 minutes, eight points and eight rebounds per game. It’s not the Howard we used to know, but that’s probably just something that we should expect. It doesn’t mean he’s a bad player. Our perception of him just needs to change.
Point guard Marcus Paige, who signed a two-way contract with the Hornets this offseason, played with the Wolves this summer in Las Vegas. In five games, Paige averaged 12.4 points, five assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game.
With the familiarity the Hornets have with each other, they should be solid in 2017-18, especially with the additions of Howard and Monk. With the East taking a hit this offseason (Paul George, Jimmy Butler and Paul Millsap all moved to the West), there appears to be a few spots up for grab in the playoffs. It’d be a surprise if Charlotte didn’t take one.