Everyone has been guilty of being an armchair General Manager at least once or twice per year. Carefully over-analyzing and criticizing acquisitions, trades and GM effectiveness. But what would you do if you were the Hornet’s GM for the day.
Rich Cho, the Charlotte Hornets general manager, is widely known throughout the Charlotte fan base. The fortunate and unfortunate face and scapegoat of the front office, Cho has made both smart and questionable calls throughout his tenure in uptown Charlotte. Yet, he always finds a way to fill a roster with some kind of talent potential ratio. But today, in my mind at least, Cho has been temporarily relieved of duties as we will attempt to tear down and build a roster from the current group of players.
But first things first, any smart GM has to know the current roster…
The guard group is led by Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum. Walker, who is the leader and focal point of the offense is the face of the franchise while Batum is the glue that spreads to the offense. Rounded out with Lamb, Monk, MCW and Weber. However, after Walker there really isn’t much of a scoring punch. Monk, the recent first round draft pick was drafted for that reason, but hasn’t played at the NBA level yet. The potential is there though. MCW was brought in to man the backup point position. That sounds about right. The former RoY has defensive prowess, but needs to focus on his offensive talents a bit to truly shine. Still value there. Lamb has potential, but lacks on defense/effort and has had problems with consistency. Possibly trade value or value as a rope player.
The forwards are led by MKG and Marvin Williams. Though this group may need the most attention, the team has invested a great deal of money to address the team’s needs. This group also consists of Frank Kaminsky, Treveon Graham, Johnny O’Bryant and second round draft choice Dwayne Bacon. Kaminsky has potential, but has had a roller coaster of a career so far. Looks like he’s definitely improving slowly, but not sold that he deserves to be in the starting lineup as of yet. Tre Graham and J.O.B. were both pleasant surprises for the team last year and continue to be nice projects. Worth at least end of bench or two-way contracts. Dwayne “Wade” Bacon seems to have a high ceiling. Diamond in the rough type of talent that looks like he can contribute to a team in the near future. Still needs to continue to develop, but definitely an asset.
The center position begins and ends with Dwight Howard and Cody Zeller. Possibly the strongest position so far, the damage these two could do on first and second string squads seem ideal. A combination of energy, defense, strength and speed between these two will challenge every team to pay more attention to this position than in past years.
Second step, don’t let MJ influence your decisions.
Third, identify who are the untouchables, keepers and who’s available. In my case:
Fourth, wheelin’ and dealin’… Though it seems erratic, trading for a player has many factors. Position, fit, usually his worth and multiple other things. (*Note that I am not considering the salary cap or salary matching*)
Trade & Signings:
Trade F Michael Kidd-Gilchrist F, Johnny O’Bryant and 2018 2nd round for F Kenneth Faried
Sign F JaMychal Green
Sign G Anthony “Cat” Barber
Sign C Jordan Hill
Trade F Marvin Williams for G Sean Kirkpatrick
PG – Walker, Carter-Williams, Barber
SG – Kirkpatrick, Monk
SF – Batum, Lamb, Bacon, Graham
PF – Faried, Green, Kaminsky
C – Howard, Zeller, Hill
Fifth, explanation of acquisitions…
The decision to move on from Williams and MKG is bittersweet, though more sweet than bitter. The lack of production cannot continue to happen. Though both players have time to rebound from rough seasons, the talent that they respectively possess can definitely help teams in need of those specific talents. Acquiring Kirkpatrick and Faried are huge improvements on both sides of the floor. A nice player like an Evan Fournier would’ve been great, but it leaves questions. Trading for a foundational player like Fournier would be great for Charlotte, but Monk’s potential is too great to not give him a fair shot to compete right now instead of 3-4 years down the line. We believe in Monk enough to give him the chance to start and battle another player that’s continuing to grow. Kirkpatrick is a nice target and consolation in the time it takes Monk to mature and develop a rhythm. If he doesn’t, Kirkpatrick has the ability to be better in an environment that is more stable and able to compete. Though Kirkpatrick is still developing his game, the attention he requires on offense stretches the floor so much better than what MKG can offer after five seasons in Charlotte. Faried is also an athletic two-way player who is more of a known commodity. A rim stiffer who can more than hold his own on the offensive end, Faried can take over a game if given the opportunity. Whether shooting or rim running, this player can fill up a stat sheet. Acquiring him and reducing his workload would also improve his effectiveness, and losing MKG’s rebounding prowess is minimized by the arrival of Faried with Howard at the four and five spots. Additionally, it doesn’t designate one person as the primary rebounding Next, bringing in Restricted Free Agent JaMychal Green and Unrestricted Free Agents Cat Barber and Jordan Hill seem to natural as well. Barber, who played for the Greensboro Swarm would know the Hornets system and could continue to grow and develop in the same system, minimizing the time it took a free agent to learn said system and become comfortable. Green, the RFA, seems to have been left out to dry by his former Memphis squad. However, their logjam is our gain. The young powerful forward has potential to be an above average player. Given the chance, he could mature into a nice player for the right team. Lastly, Hill is a nice big bodied player who could fill in as the emergency center or energy big off the bench. Hill enjoyed good memories and moments as a Laker, but after that wasn’t much heard from. Also, keeping MCW will be seen with curious faces, but the 6’6 combo guard has more than manageable defensive skills That Head Coach Steve Clifford covets. Will need to improve offensively, but the potential to be a moderate to above average reserve guard makes him worth exploring. With all said and done, each player offers more than skill at their respected positions. Each player has a will to win and a team first mentality that this Hornet team needs and appreciates.
Sixth, monitor chemistry and cohesion.
After dealing with so much roster movement, seeing the team perform and practice together seems like the most important part of roster building. You’d have to make sure that players don’t crowd each other, nullify one another, can benefit from each other and can be somewhat malleable to each other’s skill and individual talents. There can’t be a huge dropoff of talent from the first and second squads this year, and team practices will be closely monitored in training camp and preseason. Seeing if Faried and Howard can form a dynamic pair while slotting Kirkpatrick between Kemba and Batum could prove to be a playoff pushing charlotte franchise.
What do you think? Seem legit? If not, moves would you make as the GM of the Hornets?