So, what now? What’s next for the Charlotte Hornets?

Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan. (Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/MCT)
Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan. (Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/MCT) /

After news on Thursday that Kemba Walker will look to join Boston, what will the constantly mediocre Charlotte Hornets team do after losing arguably the best player in franchise history?

Charlotte is in disarray. Its recent success in the professional sports world have come from the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes amazing post season rally and the NFL’s Carolina Panthers’ Super Bowl run in 2015, both teams that unfortunately fell short of taking home its league’s top prize. For the Charlotte Hornets, no such success has followed.

No conference championships, no finals appearances, and no hardware has graced a single shelf for the lowly Eastern Conference team.

It’s only bright spot, a New York native that had become the heart and soul of the team and its fan base. A franchise leader in multiple categories as well as a staple of the organization for eight seasons, Kemba Walker.

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He has apparently sought greener pastures away from Charlotte in his anticipated signing in Boston. Almost immediately signaling a rebuild for the now starless bug-themed team.

Michael Jordan and Mitch Kupchak had to have known this would be a possibility. After playing at an All-Star level for three years in a row, Walker consistently outplayed his bargain contract and was in like for the massive payday that he rightly deserved.

Failing to meet the only star’s contract requirements after him bringing the team’s only success and awards while said star constantly repeated his loyalty and desire to stay seems to be not only an insult to the star, but also it’s already agitated and drained group of die-hard fans.

To add fuel to the fire, the team’s lack of quality drafting has left the team void of any true stars, unless you count the team’s 2018 first round draft selection Miles Bridges. Additionally, re-signing Jeremy Lamb would be more harmful to the team at this point.

A Walker-less team would undeniably signal the change that many networks and TV personalities have spewed time and time again. The constant clamoring for Charlotte to lose it’s only NBA star, the constant talk of resetting and the inevitable split of Walker and Charlotte. It has been a long debated topic on the team’s failure and its many truths and lies regarding every aspect of the Hornets.

The steady and consistent mediocre seasons as well as the media have ingrained in the sports world that Charlotte is not a place to go to compete, but where you go to transition into retirement or failure.

The absolute worst part of losing its star isn’t that we’re losing arguably the best player to ever play in a Hornets’ jersey, it’s the fact that the team failed to get anything in return for losing our hearts as well as that the rebuild with its current cast of players will be another chapter in Charlotte’s strained history.

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Charlotte has maybe five or six players in which it could possibly build with in Bridges, Dwayne Bacon, Malik Monk, Devonte’ Graham, PJ Washington, and possibly Cody Martin. Which is a good number to have at this point. But of the six, only one is projected as a starter and one has been a slight disappointment and trade candidate since his rookie campaign.

As of now, the only true point guard on the team is currently second-year player Graham, who showed upside, but doesn’t have the experience or skill to be a starter as of yet. He did have the benefit of learning from Walker and Tony Parker for a year, but expecting too much out of the rookie would only equal more disappointment.

Monk could possibly slot in as a point guard as well, but his inconsistencies on both ends of the floor makes the thought severely displeasing to consider for any length of time.

Bacon, newly drafted Martin, Monk, and Nicolas Batum are the only players able to play the two-guard position, but after losing Kemba and based on his play, allowing Nicolas Batum to start or play any position makes almost no sense if you’re expecting a rebuild.

Martin should see time in games based on potential and his draft position, and Monk has again lost the favor of the coaches and doesn’t appear to be high in the pecking order at this position either. So Bacon would possibly be the starter as of now after his development and progress last year.

Bridges earned the right and should start after last year’s progress over Batum and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at the small forward position. PJ Washington (the “safe” choice for the Hornets in the 2019 NBA Draft) would be the next candidate to come in and start over Marvin Williams at power forward in a rebuild, but the team isn’t likely to sit Williams even at the cost of its rookie’s development.

And at the center position, Cody Zeller is the only player capable of playing offense and defense. Biyombo is grossly overpaid while sporting no offensive talents beyond dunking range, and Hernangomez is still a project after three years with shaky defense.

So even with the newer Hornets, though there is some talent in the next generation of players, it would be difficult to imagine much success in the younger players and its second-year coach James Borrego.

In a more hopeful approach, the team would probably be more inclined to hope for a top 1-5 pick in next year’s draft with hopes of drafting Walker’s replacement.

After the 2019 NBA Draft, every lottery team has gotten considerably better, leaving the Hornets with a clearer path to the top pick after a curious draft and abysmal start to free agency. In a stacked draft for guards, the Hornets could possibly lose themselves into contention for one of the next league-wide stars.

With players like R.J. Hampton, Cole Anthony, LaMelo Ball, and Theo Maledon all primed to enter the NBA in a year’s time, and projected to go in next year’s lottery, the Hornets would be in line to draft a player worthy of carrying the leading the Hornets.

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That is, unless the Charlotte Hornets relive the infamous heartbreak of losing out the league’s next superstar and number one pick for an MKG caliber player, or unless they decide to draft another power forward or center…