We’ve made it to the All-Star break and our Hornets are in wonderful shape. 16-35, 1-9 in our last 10 and currently hold the 6th worst record in the league. We have won 3 games since the start of the new year. We’ve played 15. This time last year we were pushing for the 8th seed in the playoffs, now we’ve regressed to pushing for a top 5 pick. This isn’t really a surprise to most of us, maybe to Mike Kyle, but we tried to tell him. So that’s his fault.
We wanted to go around the staff and see what everyone’s thoughts are about our Hornets and the rest of the league heading into the break. Here’s what the boys had to say regarding a variety of topics.
Mike Kyle and Cole Casstevens were not apart of the discussion because they have better things to do I guess.
Who’s one player in the league you want to see the Hornets go after at the deadline?
Euan Reynard: If there is any chance the Magic go all in on their team, Mo Bamba is a player I’d love to see us go for. His rim protection would certainly fill an immediate need.
Josh George: Myles Turner – I floated a trade in my article of Marvin Williams, Miles Bridges, and a second. I don’t know if that’s enough but I’d love to see it. Turner would be the anchor of our defense and would fill an immediate need. He was in the top five of DPOY voting just last year.
Chase Pletcher: Not really a fan of the Hornets going after much except picks this deadline, but a player that could be worth trying to include as an extra piece in a trade for is Zhaire Smith. I liked him going into the draft in 2018 and the Sixers don’t really have any room to use him.
Stephen Sears: This kind of depends on who we can get in a Marvin package. I’d like a younger guy to add to our already young core, going off the playoff teams that Marvin could likely land at, I’ll see Milwaukee’s Donte DiVincenzo. He’s playing well and getting some consistent minutes for the Bucks but when playoff time hits the roster will shrink and he may find himself out of the rotation for big minutes.
Dylan Jackson: The player I would like to see traded to the Hornets is named First Round Pick. He’s got quality upside. We don’t know whether he’ll be a starter, role player, or All-Star in the future, but he does help in the rebuild. Please, Hornets, bring in my guy First Round Pick.
If the Hornets have to move one of their young players in a trade, who would you most be willing to part with?
ER: It depends on how other teams value our players, but if we could attract a decent 1st rounder for Malik Monk, I’d be happy to set him free.
JG: I think this question is in between Malik Monk & Bridges. Te’ & PJ are untouchable and Cody Martin probably wouldn’t get that much return (I also think he is good). I’m more inclined to go Miles because the return would probably be bigger and I’m still unsure of him as a player. With Monk, I can see how he becomes a high level contributor. He has flashed the ability to create for himself and others and I think that skill is a lot more valuable then what Miles has flashed. Miles looks like a legit three point threat but he’s lost on defense and doesn’t seem to have any creation potential.
CP: Miles Bridges. In my opinion he’s our young piece who’s actual value is worse than the public perception of his value at the time being.
SS: I’ma say Bridges. He would probably net us the most return but unfortunately I don’t think the front office is willing to let him go.
DJ: Miles Bridges, despite being an overall fun player, would be fairly easy to part with. As much as I want to believe, I’m not sure his weakness as a ball-handler and defender can be improved enough to make him a playoff rotational player in the future.
What’s a deal you realistically think the Hornets can make?
ER: Hopefully a deal to get Marvin Williams on a contender, best case scenario is him going to Milwaukee for a 1st round pick.
JG: I think Marvin for a couple seconds from a contender is very realistic. He’s a real asset at this point and would be very helpful for contenders. He’s a true playoff big that is low usage, can shoot 3s, defend, and make good decisions. Every contender should be making calls to get him. I think he’ll be traded by Thursday for sure.
CP: A realistic deal for the Hornets would be trying to get second round picks for either Marvin Williams or MKG. For Marvin especially I think it’s pretty realistic to expect that we could get two seconds for him. Teams like the Sixers, Rockets, and Mavs all come to mind it would just depend on how the teams worked out the salaries.
SS: More than likely moving Marvin to a contender for some picks. Best case scenario being a late 1st. I mentioned wanting White Donte in return from Milwaukee earlier but only way I see that happening is if they package Bridges or Monk in the deal.
DJ: Marvin Williams is probably the most tradable Hornet right now. That said, I could see him go to the Clippers for Mo Harkless and either a future first-round pick or Jerome Robinson.
Who’s one player on the Hornets that has surprised you the most?
ER: Cody Martin. Him and his twin brother being signed felt like the move of a GM who leaned heavily into college names, but Cody has shown that he definitely belongs in this league
JG: I didn’t expect Cody Martin to be this good man. I didn’t know what to expect after we drafted him because I hadn’t seen tape on him. Looking through his tape, I liked him but didn’t think he’d be this impactful already. He’s our best perimeter defender and he legit might be our best team defender. If the shot can translate, he’s a legit starter level wing. He makes good decisions already and even has some bounce to utilize in traffic. This was really a terrific pick by Kupchak.
CP: Devonte’ Graham is the pretty obvious answer, right? He’s burst onto the scene and for the first couple months of the season was in serious MIP talks. He’s seriously cooled off as of late, but I still think he’s proved to be a starting point guard in the NBA, something we wouldn’t have expected from our 2nd round draft pick in 2018.
SS: I’m going to assume everyone will say either Te’ Graham or Cody Martin so i’ll go with Terry Rozier. I bagged on him a lot before we signed him, when we signed him, and when he struggled during the start of the season but he’s really come along and now I’m kind of partial to him. I think he’s 2nd in the league in catch and shoot 3 point percentage (don’t fact check that). He may not be a future of a franchise but he’s shown that he can be a starting guard in the NBA.
DJ: Devonte’ Graham is the only answer. He has been our best player this season. Graham is a spectacular shooter that opposing teams are forced to game plan around. When he isn’t going, the Hornets are much worse.
One player who has failed to meet your expectations?
ER: I expected Miles to make a leap this year (no pun intended) but he has struggled to find consistency and show why he should be a starter going forward in the NBA.
JG: Miles Bridges. I expected him to be a lot better on defense especially with how they were hyping him during training camp. But, he doesn’t seem to have very good feel for that end of the floor. On offense, it’s nice that he’s showing that he can shoot threes but his handle hasn’t really improved that much for him to show any self creation flashes. Don’t think we should be all the way out on Miles but definitely we should readjust our expectations for him.
CP: Dwayne Bacon probably. Many of us had high hopes that he could kind of be the new guy to play that Jeremy Lamb role after the way he shot the three ball last season, but his shooting numbers look very similar to his rookie year instead. His lack of defense certainly makes matters worse, I think if it was just him struggling offensively you could rationalize that being without a guy like Kemba hurts a role player like that, but it’s hard to defend poor defense too.
SS: Dwayne Bacon. I’m pretty sure most of us pegged him to the be the new scoring leader on this team once Kemba left and it has not gone that way AT ALL. He’s basically found himself out of the rotation and when he does rarely get a start it seems like he’s more likely to drop a goose egg in the scoring column. Tough scenes for Bake.
DJ: I am sad that Dwayne Bacon isn’t succeeding nor starting this year. He’s looked a lot rougher than last year. Although I am still a believer, I have more doubts than a year ago.
Outside of the Hornets, what’s a deal you would like to see happen around the league?
ER: I’d love to see JJ Redick on a contender, as a UNC fan, its only JJ and Zion from the Duke community who I’m willing to show any support to.
JG: I’d love to see Covington get on the Rockets somehow. He’s the perfect fit for their scheme and I think they should definitely rather have him than Capela. I don’t know how they get it done but I trust Morey. *Update: they got it done*
CP: I don’t completely agree with the way Andre Igudola has gone about his situation with the Grizzlies just because he wants to play for a contender (who doesn’t?), but it would be very interesting to see him on the Heat. I think they’d have a legit punchers chance against the Bucks in a playoff series with him.
SS: I’d like to see Jrue Holiday move from the Pelicans. I’ve heard his name in talks with the Heat, so that would be cool. The Pelicans could likely net a good return from Miami in some of their young guys or picks for Jrue, and Jrue gets a chance to compete for the ECF.
DJ: Please, just give me Kevin Love on the Blazers. Whiteside plus two first-round picks. Damian Lillard deserves more than this, Portland.
As we stand right now, who’s your league MVP?
ER: Giannis. No debate. No question.
JG: Giannis easily. He’s the best player in the league. Incredible statistical numbers. His team has the best record in the league. What more can you ask for from an MVP?
SS: Part of me really wants to say Luka, but I’d be foolish not to write in Giannis.
DJ: The only answer to this question has to be Giannis Antetokounmpo. As much as I want to slot Damian Lillard, LeBron James, or James Harden here, the Bucks have the best record in the NBA and Giannis has been playing even better than he did last year.
Who are you picking to win the championship at this point in the season?
ER: The Lakers. I’ll never doubt LeBron.
JG: I think I’m going to go Bucks. I think the Sixers have a chance in upsetting them but I don’t know if the Sixers will even get that far because of their issues they have. The Bucks have enough size to matchup with the Lakers and Clippers and I like their chances against those two. Bucks in 6.
CP: The Clippers. There’s nobody I trust more than Kawhi Leonard late in games.
SS: Going with the Bucks. That team is just on a tear and I think they can roll over anyone in a 7 game series. My heart is rooting for the Lakers tho.
DJ: I picked the Clippers before the season started and I am keeping that prediction. Kawhi Leonard just hits another level when the playoffs start. Paul George and Kawhi Leonard have only played 20 games together and still have a top-2 record in the Western Conference.
If the Hornets win the lottery, who’s your #1 pick today?
ER: Homer pick, but I’d go Cole Anthony. He’s been hurt, but from what I saw of him early doors, he has true superstar potential.
JG: I’m not even entirely sure. A lot of prospects have weaknesses. I think I might still go Anthony Edwards to swing for the fences on his upside but would also consider Tyrese Maxey, Issac Okoro, and LaMelo Ball here.
CP: Anthony Edwards. I know there’s issues he has, but I just couldn’t see the Hornets drafting someone like Okoro (who we all like) number one overall.
SS: LaMelo Ball. This seems like a class where there isn’t a true #1 pick. But a 6’8 point guard who has the ability to create and get to the rim like LaMelo can seems like the choice to me. His 3 point percentage was spotty in Australia but I feel like that was mostly due to him to taking stupid shots which he later corrected before he got “injured”. If he’s consistent from 3, look out.
DJ: Isaac Okoro should be the first overall pick at this point. He’s got incredible athleticism and defense (along with a great basketball IQ), having shown a clutch gene when playing at Auburn this year. But, Hornets, please. Anyone except Wiseman.