May 30, 2019, 1:31 am
“They don’t do much,” – Phineas – from Phineas and Ferb – talking about his pet platypus, Perry the Charlotte Hornets, probably.
The Hornets made very few transactions to try and improve their team this past offseason, and even in-season. Their biggest change was at head coach. James Borrego, the first Latino head coach in the history of the league, signed a four-year deal to coach the Hornets. Unfortunately, it’s going to be very hard to judge Borrego as a coach due to the team he inherited; but more on that later.
Let’s look at how the Hornets performed this season, and why their past has made such a big impact on what their future is like.
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2017-18 Record: 36-46, SRS: 0.7, 10th in East
2018-19 Record: 39-43, SRS: -1.32, 9th in East
(SRS stands for Simple Rating System. It is a schedule adjustment to a team’s plus-minus)
After a disappointing 36-46 season for the Hornets in 2017-18, one that had playoff aspirations to begin with, the front office decided to fire Steve Clifford. He helped bring the team back to the playoffs in 2014 after being the laughing stock of the league for a few years prior. They were the original Sixers, in terms of being the worst team in the league.
In a year with a coaching change and an improvement from Kemba Walker, they were two points worse per game, after adjusting for their schedule. They were not a team to look for in terms of fantasy or real-life value. How did that come to be? Their drafting and player development did them no help, outside of Kemba Walker. Neither did their free agent signings.
Starting in 2011, the Hornets’ first round draft picks have been:
2011: Kemba Walker 9th, Bismack Biyombo 7th (technically drafted Tobias Harris 19th, but traded Harris, Stephen Jackson and Shaun Livingston for the seventh pick)
2012: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 2nd
2013: Cody Zeller 4th
2014: Noah Vonleh 9th
2015: Frank Kaminsky 9th
2016: Malachi Richardson 22nd (traded for Marco Belinelli)
2017: Malik Monk 11th
2018: Miles Bridges 12th (technically drafted Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 11th, Hornets traded the 11th pick for two second round picks to move down to 12th).
Gross, to say the least. Walker at ninth has obviously worked out. He made All-NBA third team this season and has been the lone bright spot for the team over the past few seasons. At the ninth pick, that’s incredible return.
With their most valuable selection, second overall in the 2012 draft – considered to be a strong draft going in – they completely struck out. MKG has proven to be a fine defensive player when healthy, but he’s been a bust overall.
Obviously, going down the rest of the list – Zeller, Vonleh, Frank the tank and Monk – have not proven to be very useful. It took Zeller until recently to be an impact player. Vonleh has been on multiple teams already. Kaminsky was completely out of the rotation for a good chunk of this season. And for Monk, “it’s only been two years” is the most optimistic way to view his career so far. If you read my draft content from the 2018 draft, you would know I loved Miles Bridges, and I think he still has a bright future.
So if the Hornets didn’t get help from the draft, how have their other transactions been? I’m really mad you asked, because that means I have to look at them again. They were so hamstrung that the only moves they could make this past off-season were signing Tony Parker for two years and flipping Dwight Howard for Timofey Mozgov, then Mozgov for Bismack Biyombo. Exciting.
Let’s look at their 2019-20 Salary Cap table (data from spotrac.com):
Nicolas Batum $25.5 million
Bismack Biyombo $17.0 million
Marvin Williams $15.0 million – player option
Cody Zeller $14.4 million
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist $13.0 million – player option
Tony Parker $5.2 million
Malik Monk $4.0 million
Miles Bridges $3.7 million
Willy Hernangomez $1.6 million
Dwayne Bacon $1.6 million
Devonte’ Graham $1.4 million
In total, they have 11 players and over $102 million guaranteed for next season, and that does not include their two best players from last season: Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb, who are both unrestricted free agents this season. They got hit hard by the summer of 2016, the year of the cap jump. Nicolas Batum signed a four-year deal with a player option while both Marvin Williams and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist signed three-year deals with player options (Williams and MKG have not officially accepted their player options, but it’s assumed that they will).
Why am I spending so much time on the Hornets’ transaction history? It’s what’s hamstrung them as an organization. Their failure to make the playoffs since 2015-16 has been in large part to bad contracts and drafting. And now, they have a big decision to make.
Walker is an unrestricted free agent that is eligible for the super max. He can sign a five-year, $221 million contract to return to the Hornets, if offered to him. The Hornets may not opt to offer that to him though. They could also offer a five-year, $190 million regular max contract. Or, no contract at all, which is a little hard to believe. Keeping Walker would mean going into the luxury tax, something that some around the league believe Michael Jordan would not want to do.
And, all of that is only if Walker wants to stay. He’ll be coveted by many teams this offseason, most notably the Knicks and Lakers. Many, including me, would say that Walker should leave and play for a possible contender. If he leaves he’d be sacrificing $80 million and one season guaranteed, or $49 million and one season guaranteed if the Hornets don’t offer the super max. However, he’d likely be playing with at least one elite level player, and at the very least, he’d have a better supporting cast than he has right now.
It should be a fascinating summer for many teams, but the Hornets will be choosing between paying the luxury tax to be mediocre and being a bottom feeder for the next few years. Which makes things very hard on everyone, especially the coaching staff.
We’ve seen one full season from James Borrego and it’s not going to give us anything conclusive about how he is as a head coach. We just looked at the roster he was given and the amount of flexibility they had – none. He’s certainly been around the league and is respected among his peers. He has been an assistant for Gregg Popovich in San Antonio or for a disciple of Popovich. Borrego went to New Orleans to be the top assistant for Monty Williams, then went to be the top assistant for Jacque Vaughn in Orlando. Both of those head coaches came from the Popovich coaching tree.
He was also the interim head coach for 30 games in 2015 for the Magic after Vaughn was fired. In that time he went 10-20. Overall, he’s got a 43.8% winning percentage as a head coach, but that number is highly skewed. The 2014-15 Magic were not a good team that he was handed and this Hornets team performed about as well as they should have this season. You could argue that they had enough talent to be in the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, and I’d agree, but it’s not like they were a dumpster fire. They did improve three wins from 2017-18, although their underlying numbers were a tad worse.
If Walker leaves in free agency this summer, Borrego is going to have a tough task at hand. The team would likely go into tank-mode, and once again not give Borrego much to work with, possibly until his contract is up. This is why judging coaches is so hard. We don’t know what’s being said and done in practice or the locker room. We don’t know what the team’s game plan was going into the season, or going into each individual game. All we can see is team performance and player development, which is highly variable and much more in depth than just the coach.
ADP: 27/17 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 11/13 (8/9-cat) | Per Game Value: 18/17 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 82
2018-19 averages: 82 G | 34.9 MP | 25.6 PTS | 3.2 3PM | 4.4 REB | 5.9 AST | 1.2 STL | 0.4 BLK | 0.434 FG% | 0.844 FT%
Kemba Walker exploded out of the gates this season, averaging over 30 points per game in eight October games. He was shooting 10.9 3-pointers per game and dropped over 30 points in half of those games. He slowed down a tad in the early parts of November, including a seven-point game, but followed it up with another explosion. After the lowly seven-point performance, he dropped 60 in an overtime loss to the Sixers, then 43 two days later against the Celtics.
We saw another version of Kemba Walker this year. He set career-highs in many stats including field goal attempts and makes, 3-point attempts and makes, and free throw attempts and makes while he tied his career-high in rebounds per game, had his second-most assists per game and blew his points per game out of the water. It was the third time in his career he’s played every game of the season and he’s now played in 79 or more games in each of the last four seasons.
He’s a bona fide star in both fantasy leagues and the NBA that’s in the midst of his prime. He’s also sturdy. The only notable injury he suffered this year was a neck strain towards the end of January, but he played through it and his play did not suffer. In the nine games after his neck sprain and before the All-Star break, he averaged 26.4 points per game.
It’s been a long time coming for Walker, who has shown great growth throughout his career, but he finally captured All-NBA honors after being voted onto the third team. His game has evolved to the point where he’s now a legit, number one option that scores at high volume from all three levels with high efficiency. There was a time when defenses could mitigate his offense, but Walker continued to add to his game every year.
Unfortunately for him, he got almost no help this year. He had to carry his team night after night and it still only resulted in only 39 wins, and another season of missing the playoffs. His contract is now up and both he and the Hornets have some big decisions to make. Walker is eligible for the five-year, $221 million super max contract thanks to being on the All-NBA third team. However, the Hornets would have to dip into the luxury tax, and Walker might not even want to stay.
There were reports last month that Walker was unhappy with the team after a trade for Marc Gasol fell through at the deadline. An addition like Gasol could have given the Hornets the extra few wins they needed to make the playoffs. If Walker wants to take less money to go play for a team that’s ready to win, no one would blame him. No matter where he ends up next year, he will be an early round pick in fantasy leagues.
ADP: 129/142 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 55/38 (8/9-cat) | Per Game Value: 78/55 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 79
2018-19 averages: 79 G | 28.5 MP | 15.3 PTS | 1.5 3PM | 5.5 REB | 2.2 AST | 1.1 STL | 0.4 BLK | 0.441 FG% | 0.888 FT%
Much like Walker, Jeremy Lamb surprised this season by setting multiple career-highs. Lamb topped his previous marks in games started, minutes per game, field goals attempted and made, 3-pointers attempted and made, free throws attempted and made, rebounds per game, steals per game and had his second-most assists per game. His final line of 15.3 points, 5.5 boards, 2.2 dimes, 1.1 steals, 0.4 blocks and 1.5 threes on .440/.348/.888 shooting splits in 79 games played was good for mid-to-early round value overall, and mid-round value per game.
If you read the Hoop Ball Six, you probably owned a lot of Lamb this season and it certainly paid off.
Lamb was in the starting lineup to start the season but after the All-Star break he started just one game. Luckily for owners, he saw essentially the same minutes and production per game. Playing time was a key factor that held Lamb back in the past, but new coach James Borrego made sure he got his minutes, and they paid off. Lamb did deal with multiple injuries this season including groin, hamstring (on two occasions) and an ankle sprain towards the end of the season. However, he still managed to play in 79 games at a career high 28.5 minutes per game. The end-of-2018 hamstring injury was what caused him to miss three games.
Now an unrestricted free agent, Lamb is second on the Hornets’ offseason to-do list. After briefly saving their season with an incredible half-court buzzer beater heave, the Hornets may be moving on from their second-best player this summer – as well as their first, possibly. If Charlotte decides to run things back with both Lamb and Walker, we should see a relatively similar year from Lamb. If Walker departs but they bring back Lamb, his usage and production should see a significant bump. If Lamb walks, however he’ll be a bit of an unknown. It’ll depend on the landing spot, but Lamb should be able to find himself a team that knows how to utilize him well.
ADP: NA/135 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 106/80 (8/9-cat) | Per Game Value: 131/95 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 75
2018-19 averages: 75 G | 28.4 MP | 10.1 PTS | 1.9 3PM | 5.4 REB | 1.2 AST | 0.9 STL | 0.8 BLK | 0.422 FG% | 0.767 FT%
Marvin Williams is a few years removed from his peak, but he’s still proved to be a fairly efficient stretch-four that fits today’s game. In his age-32 season, he played in 75 games for the fifth straight year, and saw a boost in minutes per game. He got up to 28.4, compared to last season where he was down to 25.7. The increased minutes helped him recoup a lot of the fantasy value he’d lost. His 3-point attempts per game shot from 3.9 to 5.1, a career-high for him. We also saw his rebounds and defensive numbers rise, while his turnovers fell ever so slightly.
The increased volume did unfortunately show up in his lower efficiency as he only shot 42.2% from the field and 36.6% from the arc, good for a 52.9% effective field goal percentage but down from 57.0% from last season. He’s a low-volume free throw shooter but he did see a small decrease in volume and percentage. It’s now his second straight season averaging fewer free throw attempts per game along with a lower percentage. Could that be an indicator that he’s aging? Maybe he lost a step and can’t get to the line as much as he used to? Possibly. He peaked at 5.1 free throw attempts per game in 2007-08 and has only been above 2.0 attempts per game once in the past seven seasons. It’s likely just some noise in the data, as he’s been consistently low-volume for a long time now.
Williams is never going to be flashy by any means, but he’ll get the job done. You can see that in his fantasy value. Even in 8-cat per-game value, his weakest spot, he was a late-round producer. If you’re the type to play in 9-cat, he saw a nice boost thanks to his low turnovers, and roto players enjoyed his 75 games at 28.4 minutes per game as his overall value was notably higher than his per-game value.
Williams is expected to not opt-out of his contract this summer which should allow him to handle a similar role next year. If Walker and Lamb both leave, there’s a decent chance the team has a youth movement and Williams may see some reduced minutes because of it. He’d also be a candidate to be traded to a contender, which would likely hurt his fantasy value. Luckily, he’ll probably be extremely cheap in drafts again and has a chance to produce similar numbers once again.
ADP: NA/NA (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 180/175 (8/9-cat) | Per Game Value: 109/100 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 49
2018-19 averages: 49 G | 25.4 MP | 10.1 PTS | 0.1 3PM | 6.8 REB | 2.1 AST | 0.8 STL | 0.9 BLK | 0.552 FG% | 0.787 FT%
In his age-26 season, Zeller proved to be an important part of the Hornets rotation. It’s either a testament to his progress as a player or as to how weak the middle of the Eastern Conference is. He only managed to play in 49 games, starting 47 of them, due to multiple injuries.
He missed one game in December due to a left rib contusion, 16 games between January and February due to surgery on his right hand and the final 16 games of the season due to left knee soreness. He averages only 60 games played per season over his six year career and has only played in 82 over the past two seasons combined.
However, in his second-most minutes per game, 25.4, he did see big volume increases from last season which allowed him to hover around top-100 value per game. His 55.1% from the field on seven attempts per game and 78.7% from the line in 2.9 attempts are solid. On top of the percentages, he added 10.1 points, 6.8 boards, 2.1 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.8 blocks per game.
There could be a lot more opportunity next season with Charlotte’s possible departures. If he can stay healthy, which is a huge if, he should be able to return similar stats to what he had this year, with possibly more volume. A cherry on top is he shot a career-high 22 threes this year, making six. If he’s serious about continuing to add to his jumper, it could not only add to his statline, but open up his game more and make him a much more impactful player.
ADP: 100/78 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 84/85 (8/9-cat) | Per Game Value: 103/103 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 75
2018-19 averages: 75 G | 31.4 MP | 9.3 PTS | 1.5 3PM | 5.2 REB | 3.3 AST | 0.9 STL | 0.6 BLK | 0.449 FG% | 0.865 FT%
Nic Batum produced a quietly good fantasy season, despite some noticeable drops off in production. For the first time in his Charlotte career he averaged fewer than 10 points per game (9.3) and fewer than five assists per game (3.3). It was also the second time in his Charlotte career he’s averaged under six rebounds per game (5.2) and under one steal per game (0.9).
It was also the first time he did not start every game he played in since 2011-12. Now, he still started 72 of the 75 games he played in, but with only 31.4 minutes per game, there’s certainly signs that he’s slowing down a tad.
Since he fully broke out in 2011-12, his minutes per season have gone as such: 30.4, 38.5, 36.0, 33.5, 35.0, 34.0, 31.0 and 31.4. It’s hard to put up the same numbers if you’re losing three to five minutes per game. He also only attempted 7.5 field goals per game and 1.2 free throw attempts per game. Those numbers haven’t been that low since 2009-10 and 2008-09 when he was playing 24.8 and 18.4 minutes per game, respectively.
Despite the fall-off in shot volume, his efficiency was way up this season. He knocked down 45% of his shots from the floor – his highest number since 2013-14 – 38.9% of his threes – his highest number since 2011-12 – and 86.5% of his free throws – a career best.
If Batum is slowing down a touch, he seems to have learned and adapted his game to survive the decline. He should be able to produce another good fantasy season in 2019-20 if at least one of Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb leave.
ADP: 135/140 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 156/137 (8/9-cat) | Per Game Value: 213/194 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 80
2018-19 averages: 80 G | 21.2 MP | 7.5 PTS | 0.8 3PM | 4.1 REB | 1.2 AST | 0.7 STL | 0.6 BLK | 0.464 FG% | 0.753 FT%
Although Miles Bridges says he “played like ass” as a rookie, he still showed some promise for the future. As a prospect he excelled as an athlete, but didn’t have one elite tool. He showed a lot of versatility in his time at Michigan State, where he played small forward as a freshman and power forward as a sophomore. He’s a great fit for the modern NBA with his versatility, athleticism and shooting ability that’s coming along.
Had he come out of school as a freshman, he would’ve likely been a top-ten pick, but with 2018’s loaded class and him being a sophomore, he fell to 12. I still believe he has All-Star potential if he can improve his ball-handling and off-the dribble shot. However, to say he “played like ass” as a rookie is a bit much in my opinion. He was fine.
It’s hard to put up any noticeable stats in 21.2 minutes per game. 7.5 points, 4.1 boards, 1.2 assists, 0.8 threes, 0.7 steals and 0.6 blocks with respectable percentages is actually a very well rounded, low volume game. Like a lot of the Hornets, if Kemba Walker leaves in free agency, he’s got the potential to have a massive increase in volume. Not only would Walker leave a hole, but Bridges is the Hornets’ only real future asset and they may try to feature him more to be their next star player. He’ll likely have a lot of hype going into next season.
ADP: 959/133 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 244/230 (8/9-cat) | Per Game Value: 271/253 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 64
2018-19 averages: 64 G | 18.4 MP | 6.7 PTS | 0.3 3PM | 3.8 REB | 1 AST | 0.5 STL | 0.6 BLK | 0.476 FG% | 0.772 FT%
What more is there to say about Michael Kidd-Gilchrist? The optimistic lens is he’s got the body and theoretical defensive skills to guard multiple positions. And, maybe that ends up being his career. If he ends up playing an Al Farouq-Aminu or Luc Richard Mbah a Moute role for a high-paced, small-ball type of team, I could see him succeeding. But, there’s not much else to really look to.
He started a career-low three games and played a career low 18.4 minutes per game. He set career-lows in points, rebounds and field goal attempts per game. For fantasy purposes, he’s an afterthought unless he changes teams. If a contender picks him up at the deadline, he may actually be able to hold some specialist value.
On a small sample of shots, MKG knocked down 35.9% of his wide-open threes. From both corners, which again is a small sample, he was over 40% from each corner, overall. There’s intriguing defensive skill and athleticism mixed with potential wide-open, corner shooting that so many teams need from role players. However, if he’s on the Hornets, he’ll likely be in a similar, unfriendly fantasy role.
ADP: 954/141 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 216/231 (8/9-cat) | Per Game Value: 274/288 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 73
2018-19 averages: 73 G | 17.2 MP | 8.9 PTS | 1.5 3PM | 1.8 REB | 1.6 AST | 0.5 STL | 0.3 BLK | 0.387 FG% | 0.882 FT%
A 6’3” scoring guard that’s not very good at scoring? Yeah, Monk’s career is not off to a great start.
At Kentucky he showed a lot of potential as an off-ball guard. He was athletic, could score at all three levels, could handle the ball, made clutch shots. Him and De’Aaron Fox were an electric backcourt that almost cut down the nets at the end of the year. Since coming into the NBA though, Monk has really struggled to translate his game.
Whether it’s his size, the speed of the game, or other factors, he’s struggled to do what he does best. In time, Monk could certainly figure things out and become a productive player. His game coming out of college was best suited for a sixth-man scoring role and even amid the hype from Kentucky, he was still only the 11th pick in the draft.
First, we’ve seen picks from the eleventh spot take time to develop and become very good players and second, the eleventh pick is on average a bench player. There’s not going to be any hype surrounding Monk going into year three.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but if Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb leave, there’s room for Monk to step in. Whether it be as a starter or off the bench, maybe he figures it out in year three. He’ll likely be free in drafts and might be worth a flier in deep leagues if Walker and Lamb are out of the picture.
ADP: NA/138 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 307/305 (8/9-cat) | Per Game Value: 291/293 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 47
2018-19 averages: 47 G | 16.1 MP | 8.6 PTS | 1.1 3PM | 3.5 REB | 1.3 AST | 0.3 STL | 0.3 BLK | 0.462 FG% | 0.738 FT%
Frank Kaminsky had another year to forget, outside of the last month of the season. He started no games and played a career-low 16.1 minutes. Not to mention he was out of the rotation entirely for large chunks of the season. From March 1st on, he was able to hold top-200 fantasy value and maybe helped out a few owners in deep leagues.
He’s going to be a free agent this summer, and with how frustrated he was with the Hornets throughout this year, I’m expecting him to walk. Maybe he ends up in a fantasy-friendly situation, but fantasy owners likely won’t be touching him.
ADP: NA/NA (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 274/289 (8/9-cat) | Per Game Value: 288/311 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 57
2018-19 averages: 57 G | 21.9 MP | 7.5 PTS | 0.8 3PM | 1.8 REB | 3.2 AST | 0.8 STL | 0.1 BLK | 0.404 FG% | 0.69 FT%
Mack only appeared in four games for the Hornets, logging just 10.5 minutes per game. He spent most of 2018-19 with the Grizzlies. He played in 53 games for them, including three starts. He average 22.7 minutes per game in Memphis. There’s not much to say about Mack other than re-visiting the hilarious tweet from the Magic congratulating him on leading the team in assists in 2017-18 with 3.9 per game.
Mack’s had a decent ability to both score and assist in low volume roles. He’ll be a free agent this summer and will likely get picked up somewhere, but don’t expect him to play any meaningful minutes.
ADP: NA/142 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 279/288 (8/9-cat) | Per Game Value: 301/318 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 58
2018-19 averages: 58 G | 14 MP | 7.3 PTS | 0.3 3PM | 5.4 REB | 1 AST | 0.3 STL | 0.4 BLK | 0.517 FG% | 0.694 FT%
Willy Hernangomez needs to be freed but it’s not going to happen on the Hornets, unfortunately. He’s shown his talent when he gets the chance, teams just hate giving him chances.
In his 26 career starts he averages 11.0 points, 9.3 boards, 1.9 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.6 blocks per game in just 24.7 minutes per game. He’s a center that has some semblance of a 3-point shot and is a capable passer. If he ever consistently can get 25 minutes per game he’d be a must-own player. Alas.
ADP: NA/NA (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 332/324 (8/9-cat) | Per Game Value: 346/324 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 43
2018-19 averages: 43 G | 17.6 MP | 7.3 PTS | 0.9 3PM | 2.1 REB | 1.1 AST | 0.3 STL | 0.1 BLK | 0.475 FG% | 0.739 FT%
Dwayne Bacon started 13 games for the Hornets in 2018-19. According to basketball-reference.com, he was assigned to the G-League 12 different times in 2018-19. That was really the story of Bacon’s second season. He’s a young, unproven, sophomore second round pick that occasionally got his chances this year and was fine in them. He’s not a fantasy asset, but maybe he gets a consistent opportunity next season if the Hornets go full tank mode.
ADP: NA/143 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 310/306 (8/9-cat) | Per Game Value: 340/340 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 54
2018-19 averages: 54 G | 14.5 MP | 4.4 PTS | 0 3PM | 4.6 REB | 0.6 AST | 0.2 STL | 0.8 BLK | 0.567 FG% | 0.637 FT%
Biyombo was part of salary dump trade in the summer of 2018 that landed him back with the franchise that originally drafted him. He ended up starting 32 of the 54 games he played in, but only logged 14.5 minutes per game. He had a measly line of 4.4 points, 4.6 boards, 0.8 blocks and not much else. He’s not a passer, nor is he a shooter. However, he is a rich man as he already opted into his player option for next season at $17 million. And all he’ll probably do is steal minutes from Willy Hernangomez. Smh.
ADP: NA/NA (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 292/311 (8/9-cat) | Per Game Value: 311/362 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 56
2018-19 averages: 56 G | 17.9 MP | 9.5 PTS | 0.2 3PM | 1.5 REB | 3.7 AST | 0.4 STL | 0.1 BLK | 0.46 FG% | 0.734 FT%
When the Hornets brought in Tony Parker there was a lot of chatter. It was “Borrego got his guy from San Antonio” and “Parker will help build a winning culture in Charlotte.” That may be so — I’m not in the locker room. But on the court, Parker was looking every bit of his 36 years this past season. With multiple days off for rest and injuries to his ankle and ribs, Parker only managed 56 games played and only 17.9 minutes per game. The Hornets didn’t bring him in for his play though. The aforementioned leadership and locker room presence is what Parker is worth right now. With a rebuild looking fairly likely for the Hornets, Parker may play a key role in teaching young players. He’s not a fantasy asset anymore though.
Well, it’s going to take a lot for Charlotte to get back into contention. If they keep Kemba Walker, they’ll have a shot at the playoffs. I still don’t think he stays or that MJ wants to pay the luxury tax for a chance to have a four-to-five game, first-round playoff series. In fact, if I’m the Hornets, I’d likely let Walker, walk – pun very much intended.
If it comes down to the super max or nothing, I’d certainly let Walker go. The team isn’t in any place to contend and we’ve seen how the super max can hamstring teams from making more moves. It also would make them good enough to not get any top spots in the lottery if they do miss the playoffs, which could keep them in limbo for a long time. Cody Zeller and Nicolas Batum will be making a combined $42.5 million in the 2020-21 season. So if Kemba stays at the super max, he’d average about $44.25 million over the five years, meaning the Hornets would be essentially capped out until the summer of ‘21, and would still only have so much room with Kemba’s big number.
Because of the cap situation and the current talent on the roster, I think a fresh start for the Hornets is the way to go. I’d let Kemba and Jeremy Lamb walk and just see what I’ve got in Devonte’ Graham, Malik Monk and Miles Bridges. Those are really the only young, core pieces they could have moving forward, so why not just hand them the reins and see what happens? You’re likely in for a reasonably high draft pick and get to see what you have in those players. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marvin Williams could then also become trade deadline assets that could bring at least something back in return. Both are long, switchable wings that a team may be willing to give at least a second-round pick for come February. Where, if you bring back Kemba and try to make the playoffs, you’ll exhaust those two players and then they’ll likely leave in free agency the following summer for nothing.
Charlotte is not a free agent destination by any means, which means a rebuild is likely the best option for them. We might see big markets like the Lakers and Knicks not need a full-on, or even successful rebuild, because it appears they’re free agent destinations no matter what. We saw Philadelphia was not a free agent destination when they were in limbo before the process, and now they’re maybe a free agent destination.
Charlotte is unfortunately a small market, and their best chance at building a great team is through drafting to build a core, then down the road make trades to complete the roster. However, it all depends on what their goal is. If they just want to get back to the playoffs then sure, keep Kemba. If they want to build a sustainable and successful team, their best chance is going through some down years first.
June 2, 2020, 10:02 pmCorey BrewerSF, Sacramento Kings
Corey Brewer, a veteran of eight different NBA teams, is still hoping to sign another contract before he calls it a career.
Brewer, 34, seems to think he has enough in the tank for one final stint in the NBA. “We had some talks with a few teams, but nothing really happened. My agent is still working on it, so we’ll see,” Brewer said. “I feel like I can still help a team and I feel like I have a few good years left. But you never know, man." Brewer has not suited up for an NBA team this season and, with a waning jump shot and increased age, his chances of securing another pact in the NBA are pretty unlikely.
June 2, 2020, 9:47 pmDeMarcus CousinsC, Los Angeles Lakers
Kings broadcaster Grant Napear stepped down from his position with the Kings on Tuesday after he said 'All Lives Matter..Every Single One!' when asked about his thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement during a Twitter interaction with former Kings center DeMarcus Cousins.
This is the first domino to fall in American professional sports in relation to the Black Lives Matter movement, even if it's a relatively insignificant one. Napear said of himself and the interaction, "I’m not as educated on BLM as I thought I was. I had no idea that when I said 'All Lives Matter' that it was counter to what BLM was trying to get across," he said. "I’m in pain. I’m 60 years old and I still have a lot to learn." The Kings will evidently have to find a new play-by-play man for their radio broadcasts to accompany Doug Christie when games resume.
June 2, 2020, 8:45 pmJohn WallPG, Washington Wizards
John Wall, who has long been rumored to have absolutely zero chance of returning to the court even if the current season is resumed, said in a conference call last week that he feels "110 percent."
Wall and the Wizards both maintain that he will not return to action this season, regardless of the outcome of the vote on Thursday by the NBA Board of Governors. This is good news, obviously, for the team as they set their sights on next season. As of late, trade rumors have been swirling around the franchise's two top assets: Wall and All Star guard Bradley Beal. Moving forward, there is a high possibility that the Wizards will decide between the two, as Beal's contract will expire after next season. Which player will the Wizards keep? Who will they trade, or will they trade them both? They are hoping to have some time to evaluate how the pair plays in tandem early next season, as Wall has missed significant time with a torn left Achilles he suffered during the 2018-19 season. But it may be too late to negotiate an extension with Beal at that point, so they will have to play their cards with extreme care.
Source: The Athletic
June 2, 2020, 8:27 pmBradley BealSG, Washington Wizards
Wes Unseld, a Hall of Famer and Washington Bullets legend, passed away on Tuesday due to complications with pneumonia and other illnesses. He was 74 years old.
An outstanding rebounder, Unseld is also one of only two players to ever be awarded Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player in the same season in 1968-69. He guided the Bullets to the NBA Finals four times, winning once in 1978, a series where Unseld took home MVP honors. Hornets' GM and former teammate Mitch Kupchak said of Unseld, “As a teammate, he was tough, dependable and competitive to no end.” Unseld was a fearless competitor and highly respected across the league during his 13 seasons with the Bullets franchise. Former Knicks center and fellow Hall of Famer Willis Reed recently recalled their battles against one another, "He was most consciously a rebounder — he could shoot, but he didn’t emphasize that part of his game — and felt that if he did his job right, by getting the defensive rebound and making the quick outlet pass, they would score quickly.” Unseld was undoubtedly a pioneer for the game of basketball and means a great deal to the city of Washington D.C.
Source: Rick Bonnell on Twitter
June 2, 2020, 7:58 pmLeBron JamesSF, Los Angeles Lakers
ESPN's Adrian Wojanrowski is reporting that Adam Silver and the NBA Board of Governors, who are planning to vote Thursday on how to continue the season, would like the NBA Finals to conclude no later than October 12.
With July 31 being the widely-reported restart date and the league tentatively planning to start 𝘯𝘦𝘹𝘵 season by Christmas Day of this year, it would make sense to crown a league champion as early as possible. The meeting with the NBA Board of Governors on Thursday will (finally) bring some clarity to the rest of the NBA season, as they will hold a vote to decide how to proceed. NBA fans have been waiting since the middle of March for some resolutions. This week will provide them.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
June 2, 2020, 12:28 pmStephen CurryPG, Golden State Warriors
The Warriors opened their practice facility on Monday, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic.
Slater adds that five players showed up for voluntary workouts. It's the first time that Golden State's gym has been open in over two months, and there are only three teams who have yet to get players back into team facilities. While it must be nice for the players to get back to some kind of business, the Warriors are not expected to be playing any more games this season given their league-worst record and the likelihood that the NBA trims the fat rather than ask every team to play out the season.
Source: Anthony Slater on Twitter
May 31, 2020, 8:10 pmKz OkpalaF, Miami Heat
Kz Okpala's offensive game has come a long way since January according to Heat Vice President and Assistant GM, Adam Simon.
Okpala is already viewed as an NBA-ready defender, and once his offensive game is up to speed the Heat will have a hard time not getting him into the rotation. He spent 20 games in the G League and five with the Heat before the suspension slowed down his progression in 2020. Okpala got off to a slow start due to injuries, and a trade on draft day took away his chance to play in summer league. While this season is unlikely to amount to anything, Okpala is someone to watch in deeper leagues next year.
Source: Miami Herald
May 31, 2020, 8:03 pmGabe VincentPG, Miami Heat
Heat Vice President and Assistant GM, Adam Simon, stated that Gabe Vincent's knee is "good to go".
It sounds like Vincent would have no problem being NBA ready if the Heat decided to call up the two-way guard when play hopefully resumes July 31. Vincent is a strong 3-point shooter with the ability to attack a closeout, but it is still unlikely the Heat will need to put him on the floor for the remainder of the 2019-20 season.
Source: Miami Herald
May 31, 2020, 7:51 pmShake MiltonSG, Philadelphia Sixers
According to projections by Mike O'Connor and Derek Bodner of The Athletic, Shake Milton will be a starter for the Sixers whenever play relaunches.
Milton was thriving for the Sixers when the season was suspended due to COVID-19, and some risk remains that Ben Simmons will bump him from the rotation when the stoppage in play is lifted. In 16 starts with the Sixers, Milton averaged 14.1 points, 2.2 3-pointers, 3.6 assists, 3 rebounds and 1.1 steals. As a 3-pointer specialist along, Milton has earned a slot in 12-team formats, but things are going to be more difficult when he is forced to play off-ball in a fully healthy lineup in Philadelphia
Source: The Athletic
May 31, 2020, 7:42 pmKevin DurantSF, Brooklyn Nets
On a recent ESPN podcast featuring Adrian Wojnarowski and his colleague Zach Lowe, Wojnarowski stated that Kevin Durant (torn Achilles) would not play for the Nets this year.
Wojnarowski went onto say that he had no source that had relayed that information to him. The Nets have largely been deferring to Durant and the medical staff when it comes to his prospects for playing this year. While the organization may get hopeful that KD will lace it up for a playoff run, all signs are still pointing to him waiting until 2020-21.
Source: Anthony Puccio on Twitter