Charlotte Hornets: Positives and Negatives through 44 Games

Charlotte Hornets Kemba Walker (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Kemba Walker (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images) /
3 of 3
Charlotte Hornets
Charlotte Hornets James Borrego. (Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/TNS via Getty Images) /

Nicolas Batum

Nicolas Batum continues to be a player with great skill that manages to disappoint rather than help increase the odds of the team winning.

Capable of being a quality two-way player, Batum often disappears on the offensive end, leaving Walker and the rest of the team to try to pick up the slack. Granted he is more of a facilitating player; the Hornets need Batum to be more assertive and attack teams on the offensive end.

Fatigue and Injuries

Injuries have always managed to bite the bug-themed Charlotte team, and this year it has returned. Charlotte has dealt with injuries to both Lamb (hamstring, has since returned) and Cody Zeller (broken hand); while fatigue has slowed the aged Parker down to where back-to-back nights have led to nights of being shut down.

The Hornets are not a team with much depth, so any injury and tired player could quickly lead to a negative outcome. However, injuries aren’t something any team could avoid, but for the Hornets, it stings a little more than many other teams.

More from Swarm and Sting

Shallow Center Rotation

With the injury to Zeller, the team has been forced to rely on a relatively young up-and-comer in Willy Hernangomez and an overpriced defensive specialist in Bismack Biyombo. Neither player offers the same two-way ability that Zeller has and often lacks one end of the court.

Hernangomez has the greatest potential to replace the often-injured Zeller, but his lack of experience and constant defensive pressure often leads to the opposing team performing better inside the painted area.

Biyombo offers a better defensive presence but lacks the offensive skillset to better affect the outcome of the game. So, while Hernangomez appears to be the better option, the Hornets must improve either behind or without Zeller as the center going forth.

Underachieving Players/Cap-eating Contracts

There are seemingly only two ways for the Charlotte Hornets to attract players. Either the team drafts quality players or it overpays for moderate ones. For Charlotte, the latter option has proven more relevant in recent years.

The payment of Marvin Williams, Batum, and Biyombo have been heavily scrutinized and questioned all season. The combination stands to make more in the that $45 million this year alone, and neither player leads the team in any category except for blocks (Biyombo with 1 block per game).

Considering all three make more than Walker, who leads the team in points, assists, and steals, paying players top player money for less than average results have ruined any chance of offering a better-quality player an average level contract.

Lack of Roster Movement

It is safe to say that unless the Hornets were to make a move during the current season, that they may never achieve playoff success. Though currently the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference, the Hornets are so financially strapped for cash that they may potentially lose both of their leading scorers.

With both Lamb and Walker due pay increases for their continued success, Charlotte would be out of the running for both players due to the huge salaries of the aforementioned players in the last argument.

Next. Miles Bridges to participate in Dunk Contest. dark

Charlotte needs to get younger, shed salary, and attain better quality players in order to keep a competitive roster. And with Walker saying and doing all the right things to earn the max-level contract, moves have to be made to insure the franchise leader had a competitive roster as well as keep their star player where he’s most comfortable.