The Orlando Magic are at an interesting point of their rebuild. A similar place the Charlotte Hornets were as they try to build from the middle.
When the Orlando Magic (finally) decided to trade Dwight Howard in the summer of 2012, they faced a daunting task and a few roads to go down. Do they try to get a star in return and remain relevant — although outside the championship picture? Or do they tear everything down and rebuild from scratch?
Throughout Magic history, they have always gone for the quick fix. Their decision to do a complete rebuild and rely directly on the draft was a daring and bold decision.
The last four years have shown the difficulties of this mode. The Magic never hit on the draft pick they needed and slowly progressed before getting to 35 wins. That is when the Magic put their chips in and reshaped the roster to try to compete immediately.
Not all rebuilds go in smooth lines or according to plan. All teams have to do is seek their opportunity to improve and take it when it comes.
Their star, Kemba Walker, was taken ninth overall in the 2011 NBA Draft. That was the year Charlotte hit rock bottom. The then-Bobcats had the worst win percentage in league history during that lockout-shortened year. But they too did not strike Lottery gold. They drafted Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who became more of a role player.
Charlotte was lost trying to collect talent, much the same way Orlando was, slowly improving.
Through some shrewd free agent moves and the hiring of a coach that would set the franchise’s culture, the Bobcats made the Playoffs and seemed to be on the rise. A hiccup in 2015 led the team to cash some chips and push to become something more.
The risk paid off with a 48-win season last year and the now-Hornets appear well on their way to a consecutive Playoff berth and perhaps fighting to reach the Eastern Conference’s upper echelon.
Consider the Magic are now in this weird phase of their rebuild as they try to grow from the middle — one of the harder rebuilding modes — I sat down with Doug Brandon of Locked On Hornets and Hive Talk Live to discuss Charlotte’s rebuild, to discuss their culture and to preview tonight’s game at the Amway Center.
On This Episode
Steve Clifford has the Charlotte Hornets in the thick of the Eastern Conference race and maybe more
How the Charlotte Hornets made themselves a Playoff team again
The Steve Clifford mantra for the Hornets
The “honorable” rebuild for the Hornets
The importance of veterans to anchor the Charlotte Hornets’ rebuild
How this year’s Hornets compare to last year’s Hornets
The Orlando Magic’s weird rotation decisions and how they make their lineup
Be sure to check out the great work Doug Branson, David Walker and Justin Thomas do on Locked On Hornets every day by checking them out on iTunes and AudioBoom. You can also watch their live show every Tuesday on their YouTube channel. And be sure to follow the podcast @lockedonhornets and Doug @dougbransonnba.