The Hornets missed out on the playoffs last season, disappointing many fans that believed the organization could consistently be a contender. Here are the top five reasons why the Hornets will make it deeper into the Playoffs this season.
1. Bench Makeover
In the 2016-17 season, the Charlotte Hornets bench played terribly. The backup Point Guards were underwhelming, there was little to no depth at Small Forward, and our backup centers were downright terrible. After what seemed like a complete bench makeover this offseason, the Hornets managed to have a 2nd unit consisting of former ROY Michael Carter-Williams, First Round Pick Malik Monk, Solid Backup Frank "The Tank" Kaminsky, Treveon Graham, and underrated Center Cody Zeller. From the disappointing bench last year... to this? Unbelievable, right? With the addition of Dwight Howard, Cody Zeller was pushed to the bench. After letting Ramon Sessions leave, the Hornets signed a former ROY in Michael Carter-Williams. With the 11th pick in the draft, the Hornets drafted former Kentucky standout Malik Monk. Basically, the Hornets second unit has improved tremendously over this offseason.
2. Dwight. Howard.
Yes, Dwight Howard has changed teams a lot. Yes, a new report surfaced stating Hawks players were "relieved" that Howard left. Yes, there are some doubters that say Dwight Howard is out of his prime and cannot make a difference on the basketball court for the Hornets. However, look at the facts. Howard averaged almost 13 rebounds a game last season, while still putting up almost 14 points. Howard is a difference maker on the court, and there are even more reasons. The Hornets need a defensive and rebounding presence. 6-foot-11, 265 lbs. Dwight Howard perfectly fits the bill for being exactly what the Hornets need at Center.
3. Kemba Walker is an All-Star
Last Season, Kemba Walker earned a spot on the All-Star team, after putting up amazing stats and carrying the Hornets for much of the season. Kemba averaged 23.2 PPG and 5.5 APG while getting an impressive Player Efficiency Rating of 21.3. Needless to say, Kemba had a career year last season, beating his season averages in PPG, APG, FG%, 3PT%, and P.E.R. All in all, Kemba can definitely have another All-Star season, especially with Dwight Howard, an amazing presence in the paint.
4. Dual Threat
We all know Kemba Walker can carry an NBA team. He has, unfortunately, had to do it for more than one year for the Charlotte Hornets. However, with the recent additions, can the Hornets finally have a dual threat in store for other teams? Almost all successful teams have dual threats! The Warriors had the Splash Brothers, now KD joined and it's a triple threat. The Wizards have John Wall / Bradley Beal, and the Trailblazers have Damian Lillard / CJ McCullom. Can the Hornets find a dual threat in Kemba Walker / Nic Batum or even Kemba Walker / Dwight Howard? If one of these players can step up and provide a dual threat, the Hornets may very well progress far into the playoffs this season!
5. It's Now or Never
The Hornets have built somewhat of a win-now roster, or maybe a roster where if they can't win now, they may not for a while. Whilst that may seem sad to say, this is actually a good thing! The Hornets have their best chance now than they've had in a long time. The East has never been an easier conference... until now. The Hornets haven't recently had a dual threat... until now. It seems like everything has cumulated to this: Kemba, Dwight, and Batum. If we win now, the Hornets offseason will have paid off, big time!