Charlotte Hornets start, bench, cut: Gordon Hayward, Brandon Miller, Cody Martin

Brandon Miller, Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Brandon Miller, Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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The Charlotte Hornets appear to be stacked in the small forward position, especially with players that can slide up to the four or down to the two. Part of the problem is the Hornet’s inability, or unwillingness, to move on from Gordon Hayward this summer, leaving the team with a slight logjam at one of the most important positions on the court.

Charlotte drafted Brandon Miller at the start of the offseason, adding even further competition to the small forward position and posing some potential questions regarding who makes way for the talented rookie. There’s also the question of Cody Martin’s role next season and how he’s going to fit in with the rotation.

In an ideal world, Hayward would have been traded by now, and the Hornets would have some fresh talent in a position of need, or they would have draft assets to utilize as they see fit. Instead, there are three players fighting for two spots, with the loser set to comprise a backup role and see their minutes shrink because of it.

Steve Clifford could get creative with his lineups to create opportunities for Hayward, Miller, and Martin, but then the question turns to which other player on the roster loses out.

Star, Bench, Cut: Charlotte Hornets Wings

Start: Brandon Miller

After drafting Brandon Miller with the second overall pick, the Hornets need to commit serious playing time to the young forward. Miller will be expected to develop into a star player that can complement LaMelo Ball. The most logical way to ensure Miller’s growth is to throw him into the starting lineup and let him figure things out.

Sure, you can bring Miller off the bench and bring him along slowly, but the Hornets are looking to build around young talent now, so the logically, the young talent should get the opportunity to develop against the best players in the NBA.

Yes, Miller will struggle.

Yes, there will be times when Clifford has to pull the rookie because veterans are cooking him or taking advantage.

But there will also be times when Miller flashes his undoubted potential and proves why he deserves such a prominent role within the rotation.

The Charlotte Hornets must be patient with Brandon Miller

As with any rookie, Miller will require some patience from the coaching staff. The Alabama product needs to be afforded time to play through and learn from his mistakes. If Clifford can show patience and help his new forward develop on both sides of the floor, then the Hornets will be a far better team in the long run.

Charlotte doesn’t have a fantastic reputation for developing talent. However, if the ownership group truly wants the Hornets to be competitive, it starts with doing right by the rookies and developing high-level players in-house.

Once other players around the league can see that you’re committed to running the franchise the right way and building up players ‘ careers, you begin to appeal to more established stars.