This offseason, the Charlotte Hornets front office stayed busy, gaining some crucial pieces during this year's break. The Hornets traded for a big man in Dwight Howard, got a premier rookie in Malik Monk, and also had some nice free agency signings. But overall, how would you grade the Hornets' offseason?
The Hornets made two notable trades this offseason.
The first, sent sharpshooter Marco Belinelli, big-man Miles Plumlee, and the 40th overall pick in the draft to Atlanta in exchange for Dwight Howard and the 31st pick. This trade was amazing for the Hornets. Dwight Howard averaged a double-double this past season, while only managing to give up a role player, and a reserve center. Not to mention, Miles Plumlee had three years remaining on his deal, set to make 12.5 million dollars, each of those three years. Last season, Plumlee averaged 2.4 points, and 3.2 rebounds per game, on 13 minutes per game. Also, on top of dumping Plumlee's salary, the Hornets managed to upgrade their second round pick by nine spots!
The second trade that the Hornets made was minor.
With the 31st pick, the Hornets selected Frank Jackson, but immediately sent him to New Orleans, in exchange for the 41st pick and cash considerations. I guess it wouldn't be an NBA draft if the Hornets didn't sell their second round selection. Anyways, with the 41st pick, the Hornets picked Dwayne Bacon, SG/SF, Florida State. All in all, the Hornets said that they believed Bacon would be around with the later pick, and had no interest in Frank Jackson, to begin with, but we will dive deeper into this later. However, I do believe that the Hornets could have maybe snagged a future second round pick instead of selling it for cash.
Overall Trading: B-
The Hornets made it very clear that they were going to target a backup point guard in free agency. It was one of the teams' largest holes last season, which was made even more obvious when Kemba Walker missed the last few games of the Season, and Briante Weber could not get the job done. To resolve this, the Hornets signed former Rookie of the Year, Michael Carter-Williams, to a one-year, $2.7 million deal. As a backup guard in Chicago to Rajon Rondo, MCW was not given many minutes. Despite this, he still managed a solid 7p, 3a, and 1r during his tenure in Chicago. All in all, a great low-budget signing.
Recently, the Hornets waived backup PG Briante Weber, to make room for Marcus Paige and Mangok Mathiang on two-way contracts. Paige, who played in the summer league with the Oklahoma City Thunder, averaged 13 points, 4 assists, and a rebound in his senior year at UNC. Mathiang, who played in the Summer League for Charlotte, averaged 8 points, 6 rebounds, and an assist in his final year with the Louisville Cardinals. Paige is expected to play the third-string point guard, while Mathiang is expected to be the 15th man on the roster.
Overall Free Agency: B
With the 11th overall pick, the Hornets were expected to select either Donovan Mitchell or Luke Kennard before the draft started. As the top ten picks went by, Malik Monk was miraculously still on the board, which made the Hornets top selection an obvious choice. The Hornets selected Malik Monk, guard, Kentucky. With this talent-filled draft, Monk would have been considered a top-five selection in almost any other year. The Hornets got an absolute steal in Monk. Malik led his team in scoring at Kentucky, a team with two other lottery talents: De'Aaron Fox (who was selected fifth overall by Sacramento) and Bam Adebayo (who was selected 14th overall, by Miami).
After trading up, then back down in the second round, the Charlotte Hornets finally settled on Dwayne Bacon, guard/forward, Florida State University, with the 41st overall pick. This selection was an easy one for the Hornets, as they had their eyes on Bacon ever since his pre-draft workout in Charlotte. Starting for Charlotte in the Summer League, Bacon averaged 15 points, four rebounds, and an assist, with a high of 29 points in his final NBA SL game. Bacon had a first round grade on him, and it's easy to see why they wanted him. He led his FSU team in scoring, which is surprising, considering that team also included powerhouse Jonathan Isaac, who went earlier in the draft.
Overall Draft: A+
To recap, the Hornets got a B- in trades, a B in free agency, and an A in the draft, which gives them an overall grade of:
Overall Offseason Grade: B+