The Charlotte Hornets have problems that won’t easily be fixed but Steve Clifford and company are still struggling to find short-term answers.
After a fairly strong start to the 2016-17 season, the Charlotte Hornets have completely fallen off. They have lost nine of their last 10 and 16 of their last 21 games in total. There are no signs of anything turning around and as the losses pile up, the team continues to fall in the Eastern Conference playoff picture with more questions than answers arising with each passing day.
The Hornets were in contention for a top-four seed in the postseason this year until the wheels completely fell off. While many experts didn’t predict another 48-win season, no one thought this team would have trouble making the playoffs. More than halfway through the season, it looks more and more like this squad will not only miss the playoffs but also have trouble long-term.
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In the meantime, Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum and the rest of the organization is searching for answers on how to right the ship this season. There is still plenty of time for them to turn things around. Charlotte’s a team loaded with decent enough talent and a head coach who has proven to get the most out of these players.
The Hornets’ struggles go much deeper than just on the surface level of their record. Bench scoring, a consistent second option and injuries have all plagued the team this season. Most thought their problems would right themselves after some time but the “rough stretch” has lasted a lot longer than expected. At some point, their poor record reflects their actual play.
The All-Star break may be a blessing in disguise for them. Charlotte needs to somehow break out of their current funk. Cody Zeller finally getting healthy will help but they can’t count on reinforcements coming along. Rich Cho has done a great job and bringing in talent via trade at especially the trade deadline but this team is more than a move or two away from solving their issues.
Steve Clifford’s trying to fix things by playing Kemba more minutes and changing the rotations a bit but nothing has worked thus far. Walker looks tired and he is in need of rest. Charlotte’s problems are on both sides of the ball.
The fact of the matter is, this team is just not that good right now. The framework for a successful season is still there. This is largely the same team that won 48 games. Although, they are in need of a major shakeup.
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If improvement doesn’t come, the Hornets may be sellers instead of buyers at the trade deadline. that would be a tough pill to swallow for everyone after the promise that was surrounding this team before the season began.
For the time being, the problems continue to stack up. Kemba is slowing down and there isn’t a whole lot of positive things coming out of Charlotte. Luckily, it is a long season and things can turn around at any moment. They have been desperately searching for answers for some time but their issues may take longer to solve than just a trade or two at the deadline with the way they are currently playing.
This losing streak can’t continue much longer if this team wants to meet the expectations and goals they had of reaching the second round of the playoffs this season. The Charlotte Hornets have a long way to go before they turn things around and there is still a small light at the end of the tunnel that they still might be able to secure a good seed in the postseason but as the losses mount, those chances get slimmer.