Charlotte Hornets: Back end development just as important in rebuild

Charlotte Hornets Cody Martin (Photo by Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE via Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Cody Martin (Photo by Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE via Getty Images) /

While higher draft picks get more attention, the Charlotte Hornets also need to focus on finding contributors from the back end of the roster as they rebuild.

If you want to be a winning and stable organization, then you have to find talent anywhere. As some teams in the past can relate to, finding and developing talent towards the back end of your roster is important. It’s something that the Charlotte Hornets should focus on as well.

Teams like the Denver Nuggets (Nikola Jokic, Monte Morris), Philadelphia 76ers (T.J. McConnell, Jerami Grant and Utah Jazz (Joe Ingles, Royce O’Neale) all did a tremendous job developing their rosters from top to bottom while they were in rebuild mode. All of these players were diamonds in the rough and have become very important NBA players.

McConnell and Grant are no longer on the 76ers, but you get my point. Those two, McConnell in particular, played a big part in Philadelphia’s turnaround.

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For the Charlotte Hornets, guys like Miles Bridges and Terry Rozier will get a lot of playing time and be the talk of the team. They are both cornerstones for the franchise. Behind the scenes, though, the team needs to prioritize player development from top to bottom.

In 2018-19, the G-League played a huge role for the Charlotte Hornets. Devonte’ Graham and Dwayne Bacon both spent time with the Greensboro Swarm last season and it clearly made a difference with them. From game one to game eighty-two, they both looked different and got a lot better.

All three of the Hornets’ draftees, PJ Washington, Cody Martin and Jalen McDaniels (still unsigned) are expected to spent time in the G-League as rookies. It will be good for them to get some game action before logging any major NBA minutes. All three have skills that will translate well at the next level.

Martin and McDaniels, the team’s two second rounders from June’s draft, are really intriguing. McDaniels is extremely raw and will be a major project, but I think Martin has a chance to be a real good NBA player. His versatility, playmaking and shooting all appeal to me, and I hope the team takes his development seriously.

In today’s NBA, you need guys that can play and defend multiple positions. If Martin pans out, he could be a really nice piece in the future.

The Hornets now longer have Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb on their roster, so they’re going to look a lot younger as they transition into what will likely be a tough few years of rebuilding from scratch. The losses may pile up, but it will be a great opportunity for the younger players on the roster.

Here’s hoping that the Hornets’ front office can put the pieces together and build a talented, young squad. They already have some solid building blocks in place, and now it’s time to just simply grow as a unit.

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At the end of the day, you can’t count of nailing every top pick when building a team, especially with the Charlotte Hornets’ shaky draft history in recent years. They’re going to have to aggressively search for and develop talent, hoping that piece can turn into a gem.