Buzz City Beat: Charlotte Hornets final grade, Kupchak believes in instincts over analytics

CHARLOTTE, NC- APRIL 10: The Charlotte Hornets introduce Mitch Kupchak as President of Basketball Operations
CHARLOTTE, NC- APRIL 10: The Charlotte Hornets introduce Mitch Kupchak as President of Basketball Operations /
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Welcome to Buzz City Beat, a daily roundup of the best articles from around the internet surrounding the Charlotte Hornets.

The 2017-18 campaign has come to an end for the Queen City team and they made history by becoming only the third team to finish 10 games under .500 and have a positive point differential. In this edition of Buzz City Beat, we look at the Charlotte Hornets‘ regular season grade, Mitch Kupchak‘s strategy when deciding on a player and Dwight Howard passing Shaquille O’Neal on the NBA’s all-time rebounding leaderboard.

Hornets final regular season grade (BleacherReport.com)

"After a year like this, in which the Hornets hoped to craft an identity beyond “Kemba’s team,” they should be tipping their hand toward a clearer direction—something, anything, that portends what they’ll do next."

B/R gave Charlotte C- grade for the 2017-18 season. Only four teams (the Phoenix Suns, the Detroit Pistons, the Memphis Grizzlies and the New York Knicks) had a worse grade than the Hornets. Based on preseason expectations, they were one of, if not, the most disappointing teams in the NBA this year.

Charlotte was expected to compete for a top-six seed in the Eastern Conference but instead missed the playoff and finished 36-46 for the second consecutive season. The problem for the Hornets is that they don’t have a lot of flexibility this summer to make major changes to their current roster. I’m sure some fans would’ve been harsher with their grading of this team.

Mitch Kupchak trusts his gut (Twitter/ @JustinThomasNBA)

"Mitch said when deciding on a player he’ll always go with “instincts over analytics” going with his gut."

In a now analytics-driven league, this comment from the Hornets’ new president and general manager is a bit concerning. While having a good gut instinct is important, you also want your GM to know the numbers behind a player. Considering the team’s poor draft history in recent years, it’s easy to see why they would want a strong “talent evaluator” like Mitch.  need their upcoming pick(s) to be spot on.

Charlotte needs for their upcoming pick(s) to be spot on. Going forward, it’s imperative that they select good players in the draft and with Kupchak leading the charge, it will be interesting to see how he handles the draft process. Hopefully, he will take a really close look and consider the analytics when deciding on a player as well as trust his gut.

Dwight Howard passes Shaq (Twitter/ @NBA)

"Congrats to @DwightHoward of the @hornets for moving up to 14th on the NBA’s ALL-TIME REBOUNDS list!"

Dwight grabbed his 13,100 career rebound in Charlotte’s final game of the season and passed Shaq for 14th on the NBA’s rebounding list. That is quite the feat for the eight-time all-star big man. Howard leads all active players in rebounds and is only 647 boards away from passing Hakeem Olajuwon for 13th all-time.

Next: 10 best performances from the 2017-18 season

If Dwight has another season next year like the one he had this past campaign, he will most likely pass Olajuwon and Wes Unseld to finish next season at No. 12 in the rebounding leaderboard. No one may ever catch Wilt Chamberlain‘s mark of 23,924 career rebounds but Howard can cement himself in NBA history by continuing to move up the list. It’s worth noting that D12 started the season at No. 23 on the leaderboard.