On May 31, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that former Phoenix Suns coach, Monty Williams, was signing a record-breaking deal to become the Detroit Pistons’ new head coach. Considering how Williams is seen as one of the best coaches in the NBA, and had considerable success in developing talent in Phoenix, his addition to the Eastern Conference will certainly create more competition – especially for the Charlotte Hornets.
How does this impact the Charlotte Hornets?
Currently, the Pistons are seen as a rebuilding team who shares a similar space to the Hornets at the bottom of the conference standings. Both franchises are trying to turn their fortunes around, and both have multiple young players that could become genuine contributors or stars in the future.
However, Detroit is further along in its rebuilding process. Motor City boasts Cade Cuningham, Jaden Ivey, James Wiseman, Jalen Duran, Kylian Hayes, RJ Hampton, and Isaiah Stewart as part of their developmental core. All Players are capable of becoming genuine contributors at the NBA level, with each one of them capable of executing Williams’ high-octane offensive game plan.
Now, the Charlotte Hornets will find themselves even further adrift in the Eastern Conference, with yet another young and upcoming team to contend with. Suddenly, the Detroit Pistons have one of the best coaches in the conference and some of the best young talent too. That’s no knock on Steve Clifford; he’s a veteran coach who can instill sound defensive principles into his team, but he’s coaching a team that finished dead last in offensive rating last season and struggled to break out of the bottom 10 in defensive rating.
Suddenly, Mitch Kupchak will find himself under increasing pressure to nail all of his offseason moves. From making the right decision on draft night, finding genuine contributors that want to be on the roster and make a difference, to making intelligent moves in the trade market. If the Hornets want to keep pace with the Pistons, and the Orlando Magic, they have to up the ante.
If the Hornets are going to continue improving their roster and proving to LaMelo Ball that their future is bright, showing that you can keep pace with the other rebuilding teams in the division, at the very least, is how you go about developing a sustainable future for the franchise.
Monty Williams may have joined the Pistons, but his presence will be felt around the conference, especially by teams looking to directly compete with him. So, the summer just got even more important for the immediate future of the Charlotte Hornets franchise.