Author Archives: Scotty & Evan

THE BUZZ IS MOST DEFINITELY BACK!!!

 

Written by David W. Walters

 

To say the atmosphere felt different would be an extreme understatement; the fans were all over downtown Charlotte, decked out in fresh, new Hornets gear as well as the old and faded, vintage threads.  The lines to get in the door were as long as they’ve ever been and the entire staff was dressed in tuxedos.  The fans inside were decked out in tuxedo t-shirts, a nod to the Hornets original opening night at the Charlotte Coliseum in 1988.  The atmosphere was electric.  It felt like history was about to happen and it felt different than anything Charlotte basketball had seen in a very long time.  To put it simply, it just felt right.

Kemba Walker

The Charlotte Hornets wasted absolutely no time endearing themselves to a raucous hometown crowd on Wednesday night, as they completed the biggest comeback in team history to come away with a 108-106 victory at the Hive.  The Hornets trailed by as much as 24 points in the third quarter, drawing boos from the sold out crowd before Lance Stephenson threw down a thunderous dunk that made the Hive explode and helped spark the lethargic Hornets offense.

 

 

 

Yesterday, Kemba Walker signed a four-year, $48 million extension.  Today, he showed fans why he was worthy of such a deal.  Walker started off slow, but showed exactly why the Hornets have put their faith in him as the teams point guard of the future.  He shot 9-26 from the field, but came up big when the team needed him most, hitting a three pointer in the closing seconds of regulation to send the game into overtime, and then knocking down a clutch fadeaway to give Charlotte the win.  Walker finished with a game high 26 points to go with six rebounds and five assists.

 

The Bucks were quite effective using a double team on Al Jefferson most of the game, but the Hornets big man finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds to go with four (yes, four!) blocks as he fought through the defense in the second half.

Marvin Goggles

Marvin Williams was solid for Charlotte the entire game, shooting 8-12 for 19 points to go with four rebounds and three assists.  He also went 3-6 from three-point range, including a clutch three pointer to help the Hornets keep the game close.

Lance Dunk

 

 

Stephenson struggled with his shot early but finished with seven points, a team-high 13 rebounds and eight assists as he showed off the all around game that brought him to Charlotte.  He struggled with leg cramps as the game wore on but it was clear that nothing was going to stop him from finishing the game, which helped him garner even more respect from the crowd.

 

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had a very solid game for the Hornets with 17 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three blocks.  MKG had only gotten better as the preseason wore on, and now it seems that he may finally be making a leap in taking his game to another level.  Granted, its only one regular season game, but it’s encouraging nonetheless.

 

Gerald Henderson saw his first game action, coming off a hamstring injury and showed understandable signs of rust.  Cody Zeller led the reserves for the Hornets with 11 points and Gary Neal struggled, shooting 2-11 from the field for six points, although at one point he hit a runner to help tie the game.

 

The Bucks got strong effort out of starting point guard Brandon Knight who led the Bucks with 22 points and 13 assists and forward Khris Middleton contributed 17 points and six rebounds.  Spark plug O.J. Mayo came off the bench to pour in 17 points and rookie Jabari Parker had eight points and four rebounds.

 

The Hornets are back in action on Saturday against the Memphis Grizzlies.  The team will again raise the #13 jersey of former Hornet swingman Bobby Phills to the rafters in a retirement ceremony.

 

In closing, I guess you could say that this event was a raging success, beyond our wildest dreams even.  The night couldn’t have had any more drama; first the Hive was electric, then the energy got sucked out, then the team goes on the most amazing run in franchise history, and then the crowd erupts in ecstatic celebration that has been 12 years coming…. congratulations everybody, the Charlotte Hornets are home.

 

 

 

 

you can follow David W. Walters @Original_DWade.

 

 

 

Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images)

OPENING NIGHT PREVIEW: CHARLOTTE HORNETS VS MILWAUKEE BUCKS

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Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, N.C., 7:00

 

It’s finally here Hornets fans, IT’S OPENING NIGHT AT THE HIVE!!!  The team has a day packed full of activities leading up to the game and it all culminates as the Charlotte Hornets take on the Milwaukee Bucks in what is sure to be a frenzied atmosphere at Time Warner Cable Arena.

 

This will be the first regular season game for the new look Hornets as they look to build off of last seasons unexpected playoff berth.  Look for a heavy dose of Al Jefferson against the Bucks; center Larry Sanders said he wants play in the opener but he has missed the last four games with an injury.  Behind him the Bucks have the lanky F/C John Henson, who is a capable defender, but Jefferson presents a matchup nightmare for most any opposing big man.

 

A matchup to keep an eye on in this game will be between Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Jabari Parker.  Kidd-Gilchrist had an encouraging preseason, as it seems that his confidence in his game has returned.  He has been more aggressive going to the basket and has shown a significant improvement in his shooting stroke.  MKG will most likely draw the defensive assignment against the Bucks’ rookie, who will be playing in his first regular season game as a professional.

 

Parker, the talented forward out of Duke, was the Bucks’ first round pick and was drafted to be the future of their franchise.  Widely regarded as the most NBA ready prospect in the draft, Parker was by far the Bucks most consistent player throughout the preseason, scoring in double figures in every game and flashing glimpses of his all around game that made him a double-double machine at Duke.  He will no doubt be the focal point of the Bucks offense, which makes the defensive matchup a pivotal point in this game.

 

Another intriguing matchup will be between starting guards Lance Stephenson and the “Greek Freak” Giannis Antetokounmpo.  Stephenson has been dealing with a lingering groin issue but insists that nothing will keep him from playing in the opener, and his participation in Tuesday’s practice is an encouraging sign.  He will be making his regular season debut for the Hornets and he will surely be looking to put his stamp on this game to set the tone for the season.  If he is limited, look for backup combo guard Gary Neal, who has played well in the preseason, to fill in for Stephenson.

 

Antetokounmpo is the Bucks’ freakishly talented second year swingman.  Milwaukee experimented with using him as their point guard in this preseason to take advantage of his length and raw and versatile talent.  His wingspan is over 7’3” but his hands are incredibly long which helps him considerably as a passer and ball handler.  His length and all-around game will make Stephenson work hard for everything he gets, ensuring that this will be an exciting matchup to watch.

 

Charlotte and Milwaukee have struggled with injuries, preventing them from being able to build cohesion throughout the preseason.  Both teams are built on youth and athleticism so expect this to be a scrappy game.  Neither team shot particularly well last season and that has carried over into the exhibition season for both squads, so I wouldn’t expect this game to turn into a shootout.  Gerald Henderson has been cleared to play but his role in this game is unclear after he missed the preseason with a hamstring injury.

 

No matter what, tonight will surely be an exciting event for the Hornets franchise and their fans; I’ll be in attendance and I encourage all you fans to come out and participate or at least tune in for this historic night.  Happy Opening Night Hornets fans, KEEP BUZZING!!!

 

  • Good news for the Hornets; point guard Kemba Walker has re-signed with the team on a four-year $48 million dollar contract.

 

  • The last game the Charlotte Hornets played was against the Bucks on April 14, 2002, at the Bradley Center, when Ray Allen scored a game-high 47 points (including a team-record 10 3-point field goals) in a 98-91 win.

 

  • Bucks forward John Henson (junior) and guard Kendall Marshall (sophomore) were both teammates of Hornets forward P.J. Hairston (freshman) at the University of North Carolina in 2011-12.

 

 

 

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS:

            CHA                            MIL

PG       Walker                        Knight

SG        Stephenson                Antetokounmpo

SF        Kidd-Gilchrist             Parker

PF       Williams                     Middleton

C          Jefferson                    Henson

 

 

 

follow David W. Walters on Twitter @Original_DWade.

 

 

Photo credit: (NBAE/Getty Images)

It is Hornets Eve…you did it!

Tie

 

It’s been picked up, tried on…it fits and it’s almost showtime!

I know We Beelieve: Charlotte…take back your Hornets! Is ready in his white suit!

Now Charlotte…it’s Hornets Eve, get a good night sleep, make sure your tickets are printed and be ready to flex those golden pipes in the Hive tomorrow!

Oh yea, we love each and every last one of you for helping Buzz City accomplish something that has never been done by any other city in the history of sports.

Now….Good Night!

Bring Back the Buzz 2014-15 Hornets Season Preview

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(Written By David W. Walters)

Well now that the exhibition season is over and the regular season opener is only days away, let’s take a look at what we can expect from this years new look Charlotte Hornets based on what we’ve seen so far.

New Additions

The Hornets brought in a few new players during the offseason that are sure to make a significant impact on how the season goes.  The Hornets got a steal when they landed Lance Stephenson, one of the better two-way guards in the league, after they struck out on Gordon Hayward.  His all-around play and tenacious defense could help bolster the backcourt for years to come as long as his contributions outweigh his off-court antics.

Stephenson missed a few games in the exhibition season so we only got to see a small sample of what the team looks like with him on the court.  He was given freedom to handle the ball as the Hornets experimented with their new backcourt tandem and, at times, he showed flashes of what he can bring to the table.  His playmaking ability will help to make up for the role departed forward Josh McRoberts played last season.

Speaking of McRoberts, the Hornets signed Marvin Williams away to occupy the stretch four spot in their starting lineup.  Williams has also struggled to fit in at times but seemed more at ease as the preseason wore on.  While he lacks the court vision of McRoberts, he helps stretch the floor for Jefferson, and he brings a suitable skill set to help out the team in other areas.

Brian Roberts had somewhat of a breakout season last year for the New Orleans Pelicans as he filled in as a part time starter.  Roberts is a steady hand and will make his contributions off the bench with his playmaking and three point range; he averaged 9.4 and 3.3 assists last season while leading the league in free throw percentage and shooting 37% from beyond the arc.  Roberts got more acclimated to his team as the preseason moved along and it seems like the Hornets have landed a strong backup option to spell minutes for Walker.

One of the overlooked acquisitions the Hornets made came at the beginning of training camp when Charlotte signed journeyman center/forward Jason Maxiell to bolster their frontcourt.  Maxiell has averaged 5.9 points and 4.3 rebounds over his career and, although his best years are behind him, he will provide a veteran presence and another big body to help the young Hornets this season.

lance

The Rookies

The Hornets brought in two talented rookies in Noah Vonleh and P.J. Hairston.  We only saw a small glimpse of Vonleh in action this preseason, and it came in the form of four points, four rebounds and two steals in 19 minutes of work against the Atlanta Hawks.  Vonleh had surgery to correct a sports hernia injury and coach Clifford has said that he will slowly work the rookie back into the rotation.

We’ve gotten a much better look at Hairston, the rookie drafted out of the NBDL.

Hairston has been solid all preseason, and has gotten a glut of minutes while Henderson has been sidelined.  He has provided steady scoring off the bench while also shooting a very respectable 42% from long range.  Hairston can provide instant offense of the bench with his scoring ability and it showed as the preseason wore on and as he settled in to the Hornets system.  Hairston averaged 21.8 points per game playing for the Texas Legends last season and that kind of experience can only help his adjustment to the speed of an NBA game.  I feel like Vonleh has a higher ceiling and the most potential out of the two, but Hairston is probably more poised to be a contributor this season than his rookie counterpart.

Big Al’s Foot

Al Jefferson’s signing before last year was laughable in some NBA circles, with the feeling being that he doesn’t really do anything to move the needle for a team that was one of the leagues worst the previous year.  Quite the opposite was true, actually, as the Mississippi Monster was the focal point of a surprising team that made the playoffs.  Unfortunately, just minutes into the first game of the series against the Heat, Jefferson suffered plantar fasciitis that made him ineffective for the remainder of the series and ultimately spelling the end of their postseason run.

This type of injury only gets better with rest and time and, thankfully, Jefferson has come into this preseason with no lingering effects.  That’s great news for the Hornets, as Jefferson really hit his stride after the All-Star break, ending up as a third-team All-NBA selection.  Hopefully he can stay healthy and build off last seasons strong showing as he continues to be an integral part of this team going forward.

MKG’s Jump Shot

Much was made this offseason about the work that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and assistant coach Mark Price had put into MKG’s jump shot.  Last season, teams would back off and dare the second year forward to shoot away.  Kidd-Gilchrist’s confidence in his shot was at an all time low and it showed in his hesitation on the offensive side of the ball.  While he is unquestionably the teams best wing defender, often garnering the assignment on the opponents top offensive threat, he has been a non-factor on the other end of the court, leaving some to question whether he’ll ever be enough of a two-way threat to have a lasting NBA career.

MGK and Price completely broke down his jump shot and rebuilt it from scratch, as the awkward hitch in his shot only got worse as he worked on it during last season.  Early on during training camp, a video surfaced showing off MKG’s new shooting stroke, and it was night and day.  While it hasn’t necessarily translated to a glut of scoring for Kidd-Gilchrist, it has obviously restored his confidence on the offensive end of the court, and it seems that confidence is helping him with other parts of his game.  He has been more aggressive this season going to the rim and drawing contact but, more importantly, he has been able to convert a good percentage of his free throws.  At times you can see the weird hitch try to break through, but this preseason, we’ve seen him shoot fadeaways over multiple defenders and we’ve seen him put up 15! shots in one game (albeit he only hit five of them).  This will be an important year for the third-year forward as the Hornets will be evaluating whether or not he can be the long-term solution at small forward.

Gerald Henderson the Sixth Man?

After the Hornets signed Stephenson away from the Pacers it was assumed that Gerald Henderson, one of the teams captains the past few seasons, was destined to a role as the teams sixth man.  I was interested to see how this would work out, I had always thought that Hendo’s game was well suited for a sixth man type of role; his leadership would be key on a reserve unit, his defense and athleticism would give him a primary role as the top player off the bench and he can add a scoring punch on a second string that will be in need of points.

Unfortunately, due to a hamstring injury, we weren’t able to get a look at how he fits in on the second unit, so we’ll see how he works his way into the rotation as the season progresses, but I really think that he still plays an important part if he is able to settle into his new role.

Other Role Players

The depth of this Hornets team is much improved, but it will take the contributions of other role players for this year’s team to be successful.  Cody Zeller, a second-year forward from Indiana, had a rough season last year as he struggled to adjust to the NBA game.  Zeller looked much improved in the summer league, as his shooting and aggressiveness improved and it seems he is more confident in his ability this season.  Coach Clifford has stated that Zeller will see minutes as the team’s backup center this season so we will see how he holds up against the competition.  The Hornets will look for more consistency out of Zeller this season; his preseason had its moments, in particular an 18-point, eight rebound and five assists outing against the Hawks last week.

Gary Neal enters his first full season in Charlotte and his scoring touch will be needed off the bench for the Hornets.  After spending the summer getting slimmer and quicker, Neal led the Hornets in scoring in almost half the team’s exhibitions this preseason.  His offseason work also showed up in other parts of his game as he was more effective as both a playmaker and as a rebounder, look for Clifford to find ways to use his ability this season despite the glut of players at the wing position.

And then there’s Bismack Biyombo, who was drafted largely based on his athleticism and potential.  While he has made strides in becoming a more efficient player in his brief career, he has yet to expand his game to the point where his defensive effectiveness outweighs his limitations on offense.  Not to say he hasn’t improved on that side of the ball but when he is on the floor, Charlotte is basically playing four on five.  This will be a huge season for Biyombo’s career, one that will ultimately not only decide his future with the Hornets, but also the future of his NBA career going forward as his rookie contract ends after this year.  I loved this guy during his rookie season, his youthful exuberance and excitement for the game was unmatched, and the kid soaks up coaching like a sponge.  Here’s hoping that he develops this season to the point where he can be a meaningful contributor going forward.

Predictions For the 2014-15 Season

Last season went much better than expected for Charlotte as they went 43-39 and snatched a playoff berth.  Hopefully the Hornets can build on last season’s success, but whether or not that happens hinges largely on how this team gels together as a third of this roster is new to the team.  With the free agent addition of Stephenson, the Hornets boast one of the most exciting backcourts in the league.  The depth on the team is much improved and it will be interesting to see how head coach Steve Clifford sorts out his rotations as the season progresses.

If all goes well, and the newcomers mesh with the incumbents, then the Hornets are most certainly looking at another playoff berth this season.  The southeast division is up for grabs now that LeBron has left Miami and, while the talent is spread out amongst the division rivals, Charlotte has as good a chance as any team to make noise and come out on top.

However things end up this year, it will surely be an exciting season for the Charlotte Hornets and their fans.  The team has really put a lot of effort into planning for the opening week of games at Time Warner Cable Arena, complete with commemorative tickets and tuxedo shirt giveaways; a throwback to opening night in 1988 when fans dressed to the nines.  After careful consideration (particularly about the ticket prices), I decided that it was an event that I simply could not miss.  It’s a historic night for the franchise and being there and hearing the buzz in person is the only way to go.

On Saturday night, the Hornets will once again raise Bobby Phills’ #13 jersey to the rafters in a retirement ceremony.  Phills played for the Hornets for three years before tragically losing his life in a car accident near the old Charlotte Coliseum.  Phills was a fan favorite in his short time here, and raising his #13 to the rafters is a very classy move by the organization to honor him and the history of the Hornets.

bobby

The Buzz is Back!

But enough talk already, lets get onto the season and see for ourselves what we have in our 2014-15 version of the Charlotte Hornets.  It’s been a long time coming but the Buzz is Back!  Stay tuned to Bring Back the Buzz for all your Hornets needs during the season and KEEP BUZZING!!!

 

you can follow David W. Walters on Twitter @Original_DWade.

 

Photo credit: (NBAE/Getty Images)

4th & Growl: Week 8 Preview: Seahawks at Panthers

(Written by Austin Stallings)

luke

[Via seahawks.com] – Luke Kuechly (59) eyes down Seahawks QB Russell Wilson

Almost halfway through the regular season, and the NFC’s top 2 seeds from a year ago are set to clash, in what can only be for Home Field Advantage this January.*

*If you needed any more proof that the NFL reinvents itself every year, here it is.

Last season, the Seahawks and Panthers dominated the conference – posting 13-3 and 12-4 records on their way to securing division titles and home playoff games. This year, they meet for the third straight season – although not where they intended to be.

Instead of battling for the NFC’s top seed, the teams will be scrapping to keep their head above water this week – both with .500 records. While the Seahawks find themselves in third place in the NFC West, behind the Cardinals and 49ers — The Panthers, strangely enough, still sit atop their division and control their own destiny at 3-3-1.

Carolina has hosted Seattle the past two seasons as well, each resulting in narrow losses in which the Panthers failed to take late leads in goal-to-go situations. This year’s edition doesn’t appear to be the defensive struggle the prior two have been, but rather two struggling defenses looking to regain the league’s respect.

The two best defenses from a year ago have not been the same this season, as Carolina has already allowed more touchdowns through 8 weeks (24) than it did all of last season (21). A message was sent earlier this week when Panthers veteran Charles Godfrey was released, a player who had started 72 games for Carolina. His unsuccessful move from Safety to Nickel Corner has contributed to the defense’s lackluster performance thus far, but was only one of many issues.

Inconsistent pass-rush, poor pursuit angles and tackling, and a lack of overall discipline top the list for this year’s unit – who need to get things shored up fast if they hope to beat out New Orleans down the backstretch. It was made apparent very early how much Greg Hardy’s absence would affect this defense, but correctible issues such as untimely penalties have hurt even more — as displayed on Green Bay’s opening drive last week:

With the Packers facing a 3rd and 12 in their own territory – Not one, but two consecutive offsides penalties quickly made it 3rd and 2. Aaron Rodgers scrambled freely for the first down, and on the next play threw a long touchdown to Jordy Nelson – one that should’ve been stopped short if not for a bad angle by Roman Harper.

This Defense has the talent in place to be top-10 again, but must employ more discipline and better technique to do so. Against a Seattle team that has had struggles of it’s own this season, they have a chance to do just that.

Offensively, Carolina has far exceeded it’s preseason expectations thus far. Limited by injuries and inconsistent line-play, Cam Newton is playing the best football of his career – spreading the ball to 8 different receivers he had never thrown to before this season. He is on pace for career high’s in passer rating and completion percentage, but most importantly is showing his maturation through his leadership of the newly-assembled group. Along with Greg Olsen having yet another career year, the Offense has shown much promise and has a chance to carry the team if the banged up line can protect Newton. If the offense had the capacity to put up 31 and 37 in back-to-back weeks last season, the divisional playoff loss to San Francisco would have played out much differently.

 

kelvin

[Via panthers.com] Kelvin Benjamin leads all rookies with 477 rec yards and 5 tds.

KEY MATCHUP: Offensive Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Kelvin Benjamin will see the toughest matchup of his career this week, lining up against All Pro cornerback Richard Sherman. While he still remains among the elites, Sherman has been tested much more this season, and has shown vulnerability against the Chargers and Cowboys. If any receiver in the league has the physical skill set to slug it out with Sherman, it’s Benjamin. Look for this matchup often as a welcome-to-the-league acid test for the Panthers rookie.

INJURIES: The Panthers won’t have many game-time decisions this week, as most of the players on the injury report have already been declared inactive or cleared. Franchise-leading rusher DeAngelo Williams will miss his 4th straight game after suffering an ankle injury against Baltimore, but continues his pace to return for Thursday Night’s matchup against New Orleans. Starting nickel corner Bene Benwikere will miss another week with an ankle injury, giving practice squad call-up James Dockery the start after Godfrey’s release. The offensive line continues to face adversity, as 3 starters will be replaced by undrafted free agents this week. Here’s a look at the full injury report:

 

Player Injury Status
Byron Bell Elbow Probable
Bene Benwikere Ankle Out
Chase Blackburn Knee Out
Philly Brown Concussion Out
Nate Chandler Thigh Probable
Amini Silatolu Calf Out
Trai Turner Knee Out
Fozzy Whitaker Thigh Out
DenAngelo Williams Ankle Out
Jason Williams Hip Questionable

 

 

THE GAME: Quarterbacks Cam Newton and Russell Wilson will go head-to-head for the third consecutive year. The Seahawks lead the all-time series 5-2, including an NFC Championship game in 2005. This year, the Panthers have sole-possession of 1st place in the NFC South on the line, while Seattle looks to gain ground in their own division race.

Sunday at 1:00 pm, don’t look for the game on the usual FOX, it’s been picked up by CBS as a function of the NFL’s Flex scheduling program. The network typically broadcasts the AFC package but secured this game to increase it’s national coverage, while allowing FOX to broadcast London’s Atlanta-Detroit matchup at 9:30 a.m.

The Panthers are done with the White uniforms at Home, and will wear Black for the rest of the season; this Sunday with the classic Silver pants. As always – if you can’t catch the game, here is where you can find radio coverage throughout the Carolinas:

http://www.panthers.com/news/radio.html

Follow Austin on Twitter @Austallings for Breaking News, Injury Updates, and General Football-oriented Rants.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hornets Hardball: Grading The Hornets Bench By Position

(Written by Chris Parette)

For those who haven’t been watching closely, there are a lot of new faces to the 2014-15 Charlotte Hornets. Lance Stephenson, Marvin Williams, Brian Roberts, Noah Vonleh, PJ Hairston, and Jason Maxiell (potentially). That is two starters (Stephenson and Williams) and up to four bench players. Adding that to the rest of the already playoff experienced roster, the Hornets added some serious depth this offseason. Position by position, here are the grades for each group on the bench:

Point Guards: Brian Roberts, Jannero Pargo

BrianRobertsPargo

Many Hornets preseason viewers proceeded to freak out after Pargo outplayed Roberts in the first few preseason games. As the great Aaron Rodgers said ¨Everyone needs to R-E-L-A-X¨. Roberts is a better player. He is younger and has a lot of room to grow. He also has less than a month in Coach Clifford’s system and needs to get used to playing with all of his new teammates and getting them the ball in the right spots. Pargo is still solid, but he is 34 and is really only there for locker room leadership. Charlotte could’ve easily pursued another younger backup point guard with more potential, but they wanted a veteran who is a locker room leader for the younger guys. These two guys are good, but not great.

Grade: B-

Shooting Guards: Gerald Henderson, Gary Neal, PJ Hairston

 garyNeal

This group has the potential to tear other second units apart. Now there are only so many minutes to go around, but with the lack of depth at small forward, there should be minutes for all of them to play. Many people think it would be smart to shop Henderson on the trading block, and I don’t disagree. If there is a potential to get some young talent or another true small forward, I think it is something that GM Rich Cho would have to consider. Being 26 years old and entering his 6th year in the NBA, we pretty much know what type of player Henderson is at this point. Neal has arguably been the most impressive Hornet of the preseason. Coach Clifford constantly talks about how important his shooting and offensive ability is to the team. The jump in the Hornets offensive efficiency after his acquisition last season back it up. Hairston has been getting a lot of preseason run as well, and he is another weapon from behind the arc. I don’t think he will get a ton of minutes at the beginning of the season, mostly because of his underwhelming defense. Anybody who knows Coach Clifford knows if you don’t play defense, you don’t play at all.

Grade: A-

Small Forwards: ????

 PJ Hairston

With Jeff Taylor’s domestic violence issue looming and his current ban from the team, there is no true backup small forward on the roster. Fortunately there are the wing players previously discussed, and there are many different players Coach Clifford can use to fill this hole. Lance Stephenson, Henderson, Hairston can all move to small forward, depending on the situation. You can move Lance to small forward and Neal to shooting guard if you need a scoring lineup and keep Lance and MKG if you need a stop on defense. There is also potential for Marvin Williams to play small forward if Coach Clifford wants to use a bigger lineup.

Grade: Incomplete

Power Forwards: Cody Zeller, Noah Vonleh

cody

There is a lot of potential talent here. Zeller has a poor start to his rookie year but was a very good bench player by the end of the year.  Before the All-Star break, he shot 38 percent from the field. After the break, Zeller improved to 50.7 percent. If his post All-Star break play can carry over to this season, he can be a real solid player coming off the bench as long as he can keep his fouling to a minimum. Vonleh also has a fouling issue like Zeller, and Coach Clifford said earlier this week that Vonleh won’t be in the rotation ¨anytime soon¨.

Grade: B

Centers: Bismack Biyombo, Jason Maxiell

 biz

If Al Jefferson was to go down for even a few weeks during the season, this backup rotation is a BIG problem. Biyombo has hardly developed at all. He isn’t a factor offensively, and all he can really provide is shot blocking and rebounding. He can be good in situational play, but if he is required to play heavy minutes during the season, look out. Maxiell is a veteran who is also a good defender, but he really was only brought in as another big body for practice. He will probably make the team, but if he is relied upon for heavy minutes, that won’t be good either. Coach Clifford has made it clear that Zeller will probably see minutes this year at backup center and can be a good change of pace guy for Jefferson. He probably isn’t quite strong enough to bang with your Dwight Howard’s and Demarcus Cousins’ of the NBA, but he is a little bit quicker and has the height to play the five.

Grade: D

At the beginning of the year, I believe that Clifford will set a nine man rotation that he uses in most situations. After watching preseason games, I think it will be Kemba, Lance, MKG, Williams, Al, Henderson, Neal, Roberts, and Zeller. This is obviously barring injuries, which have been plenty this preseason. I think it will take a while for Hairston and Vonleh to really see some major minutes, and it will take some trust for Clifford in order to do so. This nine man rotation is very deep, and each player brings a different set of skills to the table. If healthy, I see this bench taking advantage of many other teams’ second units.

Overall Bench Grade: B

 

You can follow Chris Parette on Twitter @ExtraChrisP_

 

Photo Credits

Roberts/Pargo: ELIOT KAMENITZ

Hairston/MKG: AP Chuch Burton

Biyombo: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

 

We Are Charlotte Hornets: A Story Hornets Fans Can Relate To

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Left to Right: Greg (Papa Buzz), Tricia (Mama Buzz), Evan & Scotty (The Buzz Brothers) “THE KENTS”

Periodically I have done emotional posts that have come at different stages in the Hornets return. I did one for the Buzz City Open House when they announced the board approved the name change. I did one for the day they officially changed their name to the Hornets but honestly it has not hit me till this post… I am 7 days away from going to a CHARLOTTE Hornets game. Wow.

People either say Bring Back the Buzz is the sole reason why the Hornets name is back or say we had nothing to do with it at all. At this moment I can honestly say we don’t care what end of the spectrum you put us at. Either way Scotty and I gave it everything we’ve had for almost 4 years and that is what matters to me. We fought like we were making a difference.

Tho I am young and I cant tell you what stats players had in a game in 1992 or recall specific plays from before 1997 like my brother BUT I can say the emotional memories I have concerning the Hornets are as vivid as ever. The impact it had on me was real. I can remember my family going to a game every Thanksgiving, Birthday or whenever Dad decided to surprise us. I remember laying on the floor in front of the TV and Scotty explaining to me what was and going on. I remember sneaking back downstairs when mom and dad fell asleep to watch games. I remember when they left. I remember crying because those experiences were my fondest memories with my family and I felt like we could never relive them together again. It was literally the first thing Scotty, my best friend/brother, and I ever connected on. The Hornets weren’t just a basketball team. They were my city, my heritage, my history and they were as cheesy as it sounds, my family.

With a mother so into History (She was a docent at the Hezekiah Alexander house, the oldest house in Mecklenburg County and was home to one of the signers of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence) we quickly learned the historical significance of the name. That combined with our city pride, obsessive/bullheaded nature, and love for sports is what spawned our site.

Bring Back The Buzz has meant so much to both of us. Ive worked harder on this than anything in my entire life besides my soccer career. Yes, harder than school (don’t tell  MaMa Buzz) and harder than my Eagle Scout Award (don’t laugh, that thing was hard lol). When I got hurt and quit playing soccer for Appalachian State it literally saved me from losing my mind. It helped me fill up all that free time I had previously devoted to soccer. It helped me find my passion in life and steered me towards my career path. Above all else it helped bring our family together.

I know I’ve annoyed EVERY SINGLE ONE of my friends with my obsession over the years and I know this sounds dramatic but BBTB and yall’s support literally saved my life. THANK YOU! We have met so many great people (people who will undoubtedly be life long friends) who feel the same way we do and have gotten to do so many incredible things. The opportunity to stand next to people you have never met and fight for what you believe in is something that I hope everyone has the chance to experience in their life. There were “haters” big and small but the fans persevered.  You guys made the journey together just as  historical and unforgettable as the destination.

As unBEElievable as it sounds….. the Kents will be going to a Hornets game as a family again! That means more to me than I can ever explain.

GO HORNETS!!!

The Top 10 Must Have Shoes For Hornets Fans

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Back in 1988 when the Charlotte Hornets franchise was first established not even Alexander Julian could fathom the impact his color scheme would have on Charlotte, the NBA, sports, and pop culture. It truly revolutionized what colors people viewed were appropriate or acceptable for a sports franchises to use. It transcended the basketball court and created a style that became synonymous with an entire generation. Therefore, we thought it was only appropriate to take a look back and choose what we viewed to be the top 10 Charlotte Hornets themed shoes since their inception.

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10. The Adidas EQT Elevation “Draft Day Hornets”

In 1997 the Charlotte Hornets drafted Kobe Bryant 13th overall. Prior to Kobe being drafted by the Hornets he had reached two agreements, one was that he would end up a Laker and the other one was a massive shoe deal with Adidas. While Kobe’s first shoe ended up being in Lakers’ colors its nice wonder what it would have looked like in the glorious Hornets colors……. had he not told Charlotte he was too big for our small market.

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9. Nike Air Force III “Hornets”

While I’m not a fan at all of the design of the Air Force III, it does incorporate the original pinstripes from the original Charlotte Hornets jersey,which means it pays enough respect to be in the top 10.

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8. Air Jordan 6-17-23 Aqua

This sneaker was released by Jordan on March 12,2011 and it throws aspects of both the Jordan 6 and 17 into the same shoe. Its a nice nod to the Air Jordan 8 Aquas which we will be appearing later on in this list. While this shoes design was released  again this year, the Aqua/Charlotte Hornets colorway appears to be a one time thing.

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7. Ewing Athletics Wrap (Charlotte Hornets)

While Ewing’s line of shoes is most famous for it’s 33 Hi, the famous Knick decided to pay homage to the team that currently cuts his checks and the greatest colorway in the history of the NBA. The shoe has a very classic late 80s/early 90s feel to it that matches  the era in which the Hornets erupted into the mainstream.

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6. Nike Lebron 9 “Summit Lake Hornets”

Lebron played for the Hornets, not the Charlotte Hornets but his Youth League team called the “Summit Lake Hornets”. Lebron has decided to capitalize on the popularity of the team’s colors be releasing a series of “Summit Lake Hornets” shoes. However, the 9s hit at a time when the idea of Bringing Back the Buzz was really beginning to hit mainstream and thus shooting the popularity of these shoes through the roof.

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5. Nike Zoom Kobe IV “Draft Day”

Once again nobody trolls like Kobe, his gift for revising the incidents that occurred leading up to that draft night in 1997 tend to rub Hornets fans the wrong way. Never the less he was technically a Charlotte Hornet on draft night and since we know what his shoes would have looked like with his initial Adidas contract, its only right that we get a version of the Black Mamba’s shoe had he stayed with the Hornets all the way to his Nike days.

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4. Air Jordan 8 Aqua

This shoe was originally released in 1993 during the Charlotte Hornets prime and it is just a unique shoe with a phenomenal use of the Hornets colors while not being too overpowering. It uses a black base and places the majority of the color towards the bottom of the shoe.

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3. Air Jordan 1 Mid Court Purple/Gamma Blue

You are looking at the owner of the Charlotte Hornets very first shoe in the colors of the team in which he currently owns. Now while this shoe may never have the title of “Air Jordan 1 Mid Charlotte Hornets”, it very obvious which team inspired the color choices.

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2. Air Jordan 5 Grape

Now….this shoe will forever hold a special place in our hearts and remind us of how Jordan played with Charlotte’s emotions. It lead to so much speculation and  forced us into attempting to crack the Jordan Code on whether or not our NBA team in Charlotte would once again adorn the title of Charlotte Hornets ( http://bringbackthebuzz.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/cracking-the-jordan-code-the-last-clues-are-falling-into-place/ ). It was re-released in April of 2013 with an entire line of teal and purple clothes/shoes to accompany it…..just a month before the franchise announced they were changing back the Hornets (coincidence, I think not).

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1. Converse Aero Jam OG

This is it, these are the ones, when you see these you have no choice but to think CHARLOTTE HORNETS!! Larry Johnson strapped these on, turned into Grandmama, and then helped turned Hornets hysteria into a reality. Until the next generation of Charlotte Hornets players helps catapult the brand back to where it once was with their own shoes….these will forever be it!

Buzz Weekly: Hornets Drop the Ball in Overtime

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(Written by David W. Walters)

The Charlotte Hornets (3-4) battled back from a 15-point halftime deficit and ultimately lost a close one in overtime last night against the Atlanta Hawks (3-3), 114-117, but perhaps there were a few positives that came out of the game. One positive could be that the missing starters afforded an opportunity for the reserveBuzzs to get more minutes and develop more consistency, something that was clearly missing in the last matchup with Chicago the previous night.

Only two starters played for the Hornets, as center Al Jefferson sat out the second game in as many days for the Hornets. Marvin Williams and Lance Stephenson both sat out as they nursed minor injuries from Sunday night’s game. The positive that comes from this is the amount of minutes afforded to a few of the Hornets key reserves, who looked out of place at times in Charlotte’s loss to the Bulls on Sunday.

Gary Neal recovered from his early game shooting struggles to hit some key baskets down the stretch as he flirted with a triple-double, putting up a line of 21 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Backup center Cody Zeller had a strong game as well with 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists before fouling out in the overtime period and Kemba Walker stuffed the stat sheet himself with a line of 17 points, four rebounds, eight assists, two steals and two blocks.

Bismack Biyombo started the game and responded with five points but led the team with 10 rebounds and three blocks and MKG wasn’t scared to shoot as he went 5-15 from the field and finished with 10 points. Reserve point guard Brian Williams had his best game of the exhibition season so far as he put up 14 to go with three steals and rookie P.J. Hairston had 11 points and three rebounds.

Another positive for Charlotte was top pick Noah Vonleh finally seeing his first action of the preseason after missing the past few weeks with a sports hernia injury. Vonleh played 19 minutes, scoring four points, grabbing four rebounds and getting two steals. The rookie looked out of place at times as he struggled to get up to game speed, but that should be expected, as this was his first game action with his Hornets teammates.

At one point, the Hawks went on a 20-0 tear that spanned across the first and second quarters, allowing them to take a big lead into the locker room. Paul Millsap led the Hawks with a well rounded game of 21 points, six rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks while sharp shooting guard Kyle Korver poured in 17 points to go with four assists of his own. Mike Scott had 16 points off 4-6 shooting from long range while Dennis Schroder and Thabo Sefolosha scored 12 points a piece for Atlanta.

Gerald Henderson sat out his seventh straight game as he continues to rehab a hamstring issue.

The Hornets look to get back on track when they come home to The Hive on Thursday night to face off against Roy Hibbert and the Indiana Pacers.

you can follow David W. Walters @Original_DWade.

Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images)

If The Hive Is NOT Sold Out

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REALITY CHECK:
Two things can be taken from opening night if the game is not sold out.

1) the Hornets are charging too much when it is $50 for the back corner. Remember where you came from. You haven’t done anything yet. Yes, you changed the name and people will pay for that but you haven’t done enough on the court yet for that to be the price.

2) the fan base has been going nuts for months and made us second in the league in new season ticket sales only behind cleveland BUT more people need to put their money where their mouth is. If you have been a huge supporter of the name coming back then $50 should not be why you don’t help fill up the hive for the first night. Especially when we have people contacting us and telling us they are flying in from Belgium and need help finding a hotel.

The Hive will only bee as great as we make it. We brought back the Hive NOW let’s Get The Hive Alive! The people of Charlotte getting off their butt and taking action is what brought the name back. We can’t lose sight of that so close to what could be the birth of a new era for not just basketball in Charlotte but for our great city’s culture.

BEE THE CHANGE.

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