Who Was The Charlotte Hornets’ Best Player This Season?


As the Charlotte Hornets’ year comes to an end, fans of the team with a revitalized name in Charlotte are somewhat disappointed with the outcome. The newer, younger team showed lots of promise at some points during the season, and even showed signs of playoff promise. As the season ended, a losing streak solidified their spot outside of the playoffs, and shifted their focus to the offseason. Several players had contributing roles this offseason and made sure that the Hornets were able to win games and stay in the playoff conversation until almost the very end of the year.

Starting off the year with signing former Indiana Pacer star Lance Stephenson was a way to make it known that the Hornets wanted to be contenders.

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With lots of players looking to have roles, including Stephenson, many are in the running for “best Hornet of the year.” Let’s take a look at who is most deserving of this title.

Let’s start out by looking at the player that we all had very high hopes for: Lance Stephenson. Signing Stephenson was a big move, and we expected him to push the team further than they could already go. However, a failure to utilize Stephenson’s skills in conjunction with the other moving pieces on the team left him showing up as a disappointment in fan’s eyes. Stephenson ended the year with just over eight points per game, and just over three assists per game. It’s safe to say his performance was not impressive.

The debate over that being his fault or head coach Steve Clifford’s fault is a different conversation. He also was noted to have the worst ever three point performance in NBA history this year. We’ll be looking for Stephenson to make moves in the offseason to improve, as well as Clifford looking for better ways to use him, if he will stay with the team.

Kemba Walker is almost always a name brought up when discussing the Hornets best players. For this reason, he has to be acknowledged, and his performance this year helps put him in the conversation as well. With the teams highest scoring, and another statically impressive season, Walker is proving himself as one of the league’s best players. An injury did, however, diminish Walker’s year. Sitting out for a while with a bad knee after surgery really made his year seem not as great as it could have been.

His year was dampened by his first ever prolonged injury. His production noticeably went down after he returned from his injury. For this reason, I can’t give Walker the best Hornet of the year award.

His “replacement” Mo Williams deserves an honorary mention. Williams came into the year with different expectations from different people. Some expected him to do part of what Walker could do, but he went above and beyond most expectations. He averaged well above 20 points in his first several games as the sole starting point guard. Once Walker came back, this went down, but he still showed he was a huge member of the Hornets.

Fans, teammates, and Clifford all fell in love with Williams’ style of play and his constant high scoring. Offense was an issue for the Hornets, and Williams helped this get better. Since Williams wasn’t a Hornet for the whole year, however, I don’t think he should be considered the best Hornet of the year.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was one of the team’s best defenders this year. He often showed he could shut down any assignment he was put on. At the same time, he was able to average over 10 points per game, and 7.6 rebounds. While he’s not the best Hornet, he’s moving up in the ranks, and improving every season.

Now, for my final verdict. I truly believe that the best and most consistent player for the Hornets this year was Al Jefferson. That consistincey is a huge component. He constantly scored, rebounded, and kept his turnovers to a minimum, with just one turnover per game.

It’s been a proven stat that any time Jefferson scored high points, the Hornets had a tendency to win more games. This alone goes to show just how important Jefferson was. His 16.6 points per game were a huge part of the Hornets wins. While it wasn’t enough to carry Charlotte to the playoffs, he did a lot to win games. Getting him involved was a great go-to game plan. Luckily for the Hornets, according to CBS Sports, and multiple other sources, Jefferson is looking to stay in Charlotte, and not use his opt-out option. Jefferson had this to say to CBSSports.com:

"“I’ve got unfinished business here. That’s not even an option for me… Unless something dramatic changed, I can’t see myself opting out, and leaving that bad taste in my mouth. And in the Charlotte Hornets’ mouth. I can’t walk away from that.”"

Even if you don’t agree that Jefferson was the team’s best player, there’s no arguing that he was a huge component, and that when he played well, the team won. Having him back next year will be great for the team.

There’s moves to be made this offseason, but there’s plenty of room for next year’s team to grab the “best Hornet of the year” award. I’ll be looking for free agency to bring in some more players, and younger guys already on the team to grow and mature every day this offseason.

Next: Grading Gerald Henderson