After finishing the 2015-16 NBA season with their best overall record in 16 years, the Charlotte Hornets are hoping to build on that success.
With a final regular season record of 48-34, the Hornets entered the playoffs as the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. In a hard fought series against the Miami Heat, the Hornets lost
4 games to three in a deciding game 7.
But there was a lot of good to take away from the season. It was only their second playoff appearance in the last six seasons. In 2013-14 they finished as the seventh seed and lost to the same Miami Heat team in four straight games.
Although the offseason is only a few weeks old, the team has made some moves that they hope will strengthen their team, specifically the bench.
The Hornets did need to retool a bit after free agency cost them Jeremy Lin, Courtney Lee and Al Jefferson.
But the core of the team is still there. The team resigned Nic Batum and Marvin Williams and they will pair again with dynamic point guard Kemba Walker.
Others returning include Cody Zeller, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Frank Kaminsky and Jeremy Lamb.
In a draft day trade, the Hornets traded their pick, number 22 overall, to the Sacramento Kings for shooting guard Marco Belinelli. Belinelli is expected to provide scoring off the bench with the departure of Lee and Lin.
In addition, the team made several free agent signings that are expected to fortify the bench.
Ramon Sessions was signed from Washington to a two-year deal to help at the point guard position while center Roy Hibbert was brought in on a one year deal to provide insurance at the center position.
And most recently point guard Brian Roberts was brought back on a one-year deal to help solidify the point guard position and provide added depth.
But there are questions about the team entering next season. First, they need to keep Michael Kidd-Gilchrist healthy. The former number 2 overall pick is a great defender and an improving offensive player. Keeping him healthy after only playing in seven games all of last year would be like adding a major piece to the rotation without giving anything up.
And how will the new pieces fit in. A strong bench can make a difference between a good team and a great team in the NBA. The losses of Lin and Lee as well as veteran Al Jefferson will definitely be a loss for this team.
But if the new additions such as Belinelli, Sessions and Hibbert can find their roles the hope is that it will be a smooth transition.
So now that the season is behind them, as well as the draft and free agency, it’s time for the Hornets to get a little rest and then begin preparing for next year.
The experience gained from last seasons playoffs is sure to help them. Unfortunately we’ll have to wait until next fall to really see how much.