October 16, 2020, 12:02 pmDerrick Jones Jr.SF, Miami Heat
Derrick Jones Jr., an impending restricted free agent, is expected to receive interest from teams like the Cavs, Hornets and Hawks, among others, per Shams Charania.
Jones has always been an interesting fantasy player but is stuck in a deep Miami rotation. With the Heat prioritizing long-term flexibility and maintaining cap space to hunt out stars, perhaps Jones is a sacrifice they're willing to make. We've seen stretches of top-100 play in the past, but mostly as a fill-in when other players are injured. Last season Jones averaged 8.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.0 steals, 0.7 blocks and 0.6 threes while shooting .527 from the field in 23.4 mpg, so if he were to end up with a larger role on a worse team there's a good chance that Jones would sneak up on many casual fantasy players.
Source: The Athletic
October 5, 2020, 1:35 pmPJ WashingtonPF, Charlotte Hornets
The Hornets experimented with small-ball lineups by playing PJ Washington at center alongside Miles Bridges at power forward during their mini-camp.
Washington reportedly surprised the team with the quality of his play during the Hornets’ two-week camp. Giving him minutes at center seems to be a way for James Borrego to get him more playtime without sacrificing Miles Bridges’ role, who is expected to start at the four. The team really has no stand out big, so it wouldn’t be a tough call to run small-ball lineups more often. A few more minutes per game as the team’s primary big could give Washington a bump in rebounding numbers and a more consistent role. He started his rookie year strong but ended ranked outside the top-120 with per game averages of 12.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.9 steals and 0.8 blocks, shooting 45 percent from the field and a rough 65 percent from the line.
September 23, 2020, 9:11 amDevonte' GrahamPG, Charlotte Hornets
Fixing Devonte’ Graham’s mid-range game is a big part of this offseason, as the Hornets begin two weeks of group practice at Spectrum Center on Monday.
Opponents constantly chased Graham off the 3-point line last year, forcing him to make decisions and shots in the mid-range where his shooting efficiency plummeted, making just 27% of his attempts 3-to-10 feet from the basket. James Borrego has identified the issue and Graham will be working on his mid-range shot, the floater and all-the-way-to-the-rim moves in the upcoming weeks. This is great news for one of the young stars of the league who looks poised to become even better next year.
Source: Charlotte Observer
September 22, 2020, 9:49 amNicolas BatumSG, Charlotte Hornets
Hornets veterans Nic Batum and Bismack Biyombo have opted out of participating in Charlotte’s voluntary group practices during the next two weeks.
Biyombo becomes an unrestricted free agent in November so it makes sense for him to stay away and avoid a potential injury. Batum meanwhile has been in his native France much of this summer and his wife is expecting their second child in January. The French swingman has one season left on his five-year, $120 million contract, but he didn’t play in any of the team’s final 19 games last season and it’s unclear what his role will be going forward. Devonte’ Graham, P.J. Washington, Miles Bridges, Malik Monk, Cody and Caleb Martin and Jalen McDaniels as well as veterans Terry Rozier and Cody Zeller are part of the group that will be participating in the upcoming workouts, with the Hornets working on building their core chemistry for next season.
Source: Charlotte Observer
September 21, 2020, 3:00 pmDevonte' GrahamPG, Charlotte Hornets
Devonte' Graham and the rest of the Hornets' young core will all attend the team's upcoming quarantined training camp.
The Hornets fully embraced a rebuild this season so they'll be excited to get their promising young players back in the gym. Notably Dwayne Bacon and Willy Hernangomez will both be participating despite entering free agency this offseason. Neither player had a consistent role this year, though Hernangomez produced some intriguing rebounding numbers in his limited minutes. It's unlikely the team is sold on bringing back either of them, especially so with Bacon as the Hornets are developing a logjam at the guard position. Notably absent from the team's camp is their highest-paid player, Nicolas Batum. He was injured or out of the rotation for most of the season as the team fully leaned into their young players. Batum has a massive player option next season that he'll almost certainly accept, but there's little chance his playing time will improve.
Source: Charlotte Hornets PR on Twitter
August 18, 2020, 9:18 amDevonte' GrahamPG, Charlotte Hornets
The Hornets should have significant salary cap space this offseason for the first time in several years and they could leverage other teams’ needs to trim payroll by acquiring a quality veteran without giving up much in a trade or absorbing a contract in return for a draft pick.
“Even though we’ll have cap room, I don’t feel free-agency is the answer for us at this time,” Hornets GM Mitch Kupchak said. “So that talent is going to have to come from the draft or a trade.” Big-time free agents aren’t looking at Charlotte as a destination even with all that cap room, while in the current economic climate, a few teams will be looking to shed salary. The window of opportunity might be open for Charlotte this offseason in their quest to surround Devonte’ Graham and Terry Rozier with even more talent.
Source: Charlotte Observer
July 29, 2020, 9:29 amMalik MonkSG, Charlotte Hornets
James Borrego is keeping an eye on Malik Monk this offseason and he already likes what he sees from his scoring guard who was on a terrific stretch just before his suspension.
In late February, Monk was suspended indefinitely under the NBA’s anti-drug policy, while Mitch Kupchak said on June 8th that the charismatic guard was reinstated during the NBA hiatus. Borrego and his staff are trying to run an off-season program within the pandemic-related restrictions the NBA currently has. Right now, up to two coaches can work with one player at a time, while players aren’t allowed to scrimmage with each other in team facilities. The Hornets are still high on Monk and it remains to be seen whether he takes the next step in his game becoming the scoring two-guard that the team desperately needs.
Source: Charlotte Observer
July 8, 2020, 12:12 amMiles BridgesSF, Charlotte Hornets
Miles Bridges, the second-year forward out of Michigan State, had a decent season for the Hornets, but he wasn't too kind to fantasy owners who were high on him in drafts last fall.
Bridges' ADP was inside the top-100 in both Yahoo (83) and ESPN (94) after draft season concluded last October. At the current juncture, he ranks 162 in 9-cat and 148 in 8-cat; not the jump forward many thought, fantasy GMs and analysts alike, Bridges would take in this his second season in the league. The Hornets obviously still have reason for optimism and have far from given up on him, but there's also reason to believe the 2020-21 campaign could be a pivotal one for Bridges in terms of showcasing the progress he's making in getting fully adjusted to the NBA.
July 7, 2020, 11:42 pmDwayne BaconSF, Charlotte Hornets
Third-year guard Dwayne Bacon, the 10th pick of the second round of the 2017 NBA Draft, did little to improve his game during the 2019-20 season, finishing the year with very underwhelming numbers.
Bacon has always torn it up in the G League but has never been able to translate his production to the NBA. He averaged just 17.6 minutes in 39 games, his fewest games played in three NBA seasons, although this one got cut short by the on-going coronavirus pandemic. His biggest problem seems to be his shot, as his averages from the floor this year were paltry, at best. After shooting 47.5 percent from the floor in 2018-19, Bacon took a big step back (34.8 percent) this season. He was also pitiful from beyond the arc (28.4 percent) and from the free throw stripe (66.0 percent). It seems unlikely that the Hornets will extend the $2 million qualifying offer lined up for Bacon this offseason, so there's a decent chance he suits up elsewhere in his next NBA appearance.
July 7, 2020, 11:29 pmNicolas BatumSG, Charlotte Hornets
Nicolas Batum played only 22 games during the 2019-20 regular season (the last of which came on January 24), finishing the year ranked outside the top-225 in categories formats.
The veteran swingman had an injury-riddled campaign, Batum's fifth with the Hornets. He averaged just 3.6 points, 4.5 boards and 3.0 assists in 23.0 minutes per night. A longtime threat from deep, Batum shot 28.6 percent from three, which was also a disappointing development. He only has one year remaining on the gigantic, $120 million deal he inked prior to the 2016-17 season, and the Hornets are probably wishing it wrapped up after this season. They have no use for Batum moving forward, but they owe him $27 million next year. Yikes.
July 7, 2020, 10:54 pmCody MartinPF, Charlotte Hornets
Cody Martin, the sixth pick of the second round of the 2019 NBA draft out of the University of Nevada, showed signs of productivity during his rookie campaign with the Hornets, averaging 5.0 PTS, 3.3 REB, 2.0 AST and 0.8 STL in 18.8 minutes per game (48 games).
Those per-game numbers actually put him below his twin brother, Caleb (who was not drafted), despite Cody playing in 30 more games. Cody ranked right around 300 in 8 and 9-cat leagues on the season but was playing well to close out the year. He snuck inside the top-230 over the final two weeks prior to the COVID-19 pause, and was a streamable player in March due to his versatility and consistency.
July 7, 2020, 10:51 pmDevonte' GrahamPG, Charlotte Hornets
Devonte' Graham emerged as the biggest beneficiary of the departure of Kemba Walker, taking over the reins as the starting point guard and finishing the season ranked 55th in 8-cat and 77th 9-cat scoring formats.
After averaging just 14.7 minutes per game in his rookie season in 2018-19, Graham got thrust into the spotlight in 2019-20, jumping to a playing time of 35.1 minutes per game. The 24-year-old sophomore saw an across-the-board improvement in his stats and became a solid source of threes and dimes for small-ball fantasy lineups. Graham shot just 38.2 percent from the field but ticked other boxes with averages of 18.2 PPG, 3.5 3PG, 7.5 APG and 1.0 SPG. If he can somehow rein in his poor shooting and allow the game to slow down for him, he should be someone to watch come 2020-21.
July 7, 2020, 10:41 pmTerry RozierPG, Charlotte Hornets
Terry Rozier ranked inside the top-75 in both 8 and 9-cat fantasy leagues on a per game basis in 2019-20, his first season with the Hornets after four years with the Celtics.
Rozier swapped places with longtime fan-favorite and Hornets legend, Kemba Walker. Rozier inked a sign-and-trade for three years, $56.7 million ($18.9 million annually) that included Walker going to the Celtics. Starting all 63 games he played this season, Rozier averaged 18.0 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.0 steals and 2.7 threes per game for an underwhelming Hornets squad (23-42). Fellow backcourt mate Devonte' Graham unexpectedly put up outstanding numbers from the outset, so that put a bit of a damper on Rozier's first season with the team, as the two finished with similar numbers and fantasy rankings. Look for the backcourt tandem of Graham and Rozier to stay together moving forward for the Hornets, at least for next season. They will likely inhibit each other's fantasy ceilings, however.
July 7, 2020, 10:19 pmPJ WashingtonPF, Charlotte Hornets
P.J. Washington was one of bigger pleasant surprises from the rookie class of 2019, making a name for himself with the Hornets as a key player and finishing the season ranked 142/159 in 8/9-cat per-game value and 126/136 in 8/9-cat on total value.
As a rookie, Washington proved doubters that he was far more NBA-ready than initially projected. A strong Summer League and promising preseason run, translated reasonably well into viable fantasy value. Washington ended up playing 58 games for the Hornets and notched averages of 12.2 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 1.5 3PG, 0.9 SPG and 0.8 BPG in just over 30 minutes per game. Still, Washington's biggest weakness remains his .647 shooting percentage from the free throw line. Overall, he gets solid marks for passing the eye test and flashing some promising impact on the box score on occasion.
July 7, 2020, 10:09 pmCody ZellerC, Charlotte Hornets
Cody Zeller took a step backward during the 2019-20 season, finishing the year ranked 178 in 8-cat and 185 in 9-cat.
The emergence and immediate productivity of rookie PJ Washington was a key reason for Zeller's rather disappointing year. He played in all but seven of the Hornets' games but had a rough stretch in February that included three straight DNP-CD's to close out the month. Zeller, as one might expect, came back strong after that absence, averaging 11.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.8 blocks in five games to close out his 2019-20 campaign. Zeller will be an unrestricted free agent after next season.