My Interview With Glen Rice; A Hornets Legend

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Image by Joe Shomaker

 

(Interviewed/Written by Tyler Ball)

What makes the difference between an athlete and a legend? Is it their ability to score, pass, and dunk? Maybe, or is it something a little deeper that is ingrained in their personality? Every athlete worth anything has a set of morals and values that makes them the person on and off of the court, and every true fan will see it. Many things influence them, friends, family, environment.

As a kid in the 90’s, I watched my Charlotte Hornets loyally, passionately, and religiously. For me personally, their was one player who set my foundation as a Hornet fan. We all have one, every fan does. That player who you admire and love to watch, the player who you defend to the very end after a rough loss to your friends. A player who you scream and cheer your lungs out for every time they take the court and put up a shot.

For me, their was one. His name is Glen Rice. Rice always took the court and left everything on it. when I would watch him, it was like some kind of x-factor stepped on the court with him like a shadow that made the team better, like a glow. The best part was it was infectious in his teammates, and when Rice was down, vice versa. He was a role model for me personally on and off the court, and it was because of him, and other players to come that I became so passionate about basketball and the team itself.

I was lucky enough to interview the Charlotte Hornet Legend about his time with the team, as well as advice for the current generation of Charlotte players and fans.


  1. Did you have a favorite NBA player or athlete you idolized as a kid growing up? “Julius Erving “Dr. J” and Larry Bird. When I first got into basketball, as far as shooters, Bird was the guy to me and one of the guys that I wanted to shoot like and try to be like when emulating the jump-shot. When it came to Dr. J, not that bird didn’t have it, but Julius Erving was a show. His [Erving] dunks, his charisma on and off the court just blew me away. As soon as they both stepped on the court you knew something great was about to happen, they are two true hall of famers’ right there.”
  2. Did you always know you wanted to play in the NBA or did you have another dream career? “When I was about 12-13 I liked football and liked playing receiver, but one day I broke my leg and that quickly changed my mind. At the time I was still playing basketball, mainly in the parks, up to that point I hadn’t played organized basketball. After I broke my leg I said let me think about this basketball thing. Thinking back if I didn’t break my leg, I probably would have been hard headed and tried to play both and would not have excelled as much as I wanted to in the sport I should have been in, it was a blessing in disguise.”
  3. Who was the most influential person during your career, both at Michigan and in the NBA? “When I arrived in Michigan in 1985 we had some great seniors on my team and some really good leaders, RIP, Roy Tarpley was mentor at the time and guys like Antione Joubert at the University of Michigan. As far as the NBA, where I was in Michigan and Detroit was just down the road guys like Isaiah Thomas and a lot of the Detroit Pistons players would come down and play with us. They really taught us how the game would be played once/if we made it to that next level. They really mentored us. As far as my life, my mom has always encouraged me and reminded me to always be respectful on and off the court to everyone of all colors and faiths. I really had good guidance.”
  4. What does it mean to you to know you still hold some amazing records at Michigan? “People always had to remind me of the records I that I do have because I never just dwelled on them, people would say did you know you set a record tonight? And I would say things like oh really? Well that’s cool. I honestly never dwelled on it and just kept moving because I guess when you look at it, it is important to have those achievements about how talented you were, but I never put a high premium on it. My thing was more accomplishing things as a team, I always put that first and when records were made and broken I was always like ok thank you, but just kept going.”
  5. Is there one moment in your NBA career in charlotte that is your favorite and stands out to you this day? “I really can’t say just one moment; we had so many great moments there at the hive. At the time it was me and LJ, Larry Johnson, leading the way and transition to Valda Divac and Anthony Mason, may he RIP, that crew all of those times they made the playoffs at the hive were electric. I can’t just say one moment; I would have to ball all of them up into one and say that was my greatest moment there. That team there had more than any team I ever played on, we really fought together, had our sad time together, we really liked one another and was full of really good people, not just players, but just really good people including the coaches and that is what really made us so successful. In a lot of ways it is different than how basketball is being played today. You see it in the San Antonio Spurs, they don’t care who the star is, they operate as one unit and that is why they have been so successful. When they have older guys who have been banged up through their careers they are still successful because they believe what their coach has instilled in them and they are great as a people.”
  6. Do you ever get to come back to charlotte to see games? “I have not recently, I have been watching them from afar, but I am so glad the MJ has brought the Hornets back. I need to come back, always wished they could get the Hornets name back because now it’s a relief and now we can be THE CHARLOTTE HORNETS again. Basketball was the pulse of Charlotte in the beginning and it is good to see it back again. I give MJ and all the fans credit for being so patient, and that is what true basketball fans are about, hanging in there behind your team no matter what. I hope that now that the Hornets are back that they can rebuild and get to more playoffs. I can tell you this, the Hornets players, coaches, fans, and city deserve to have a championship there.”
  7. Who is your all-time favorite teammate you had on the Hornets? “Each player is my all-time favorite; you had a different personality from each guy. You loved that about that person and there was not one person on the team ever that I did not like, even the guys who would come and try out and didn’t make the team. We always had friendships, it was all the guys, even when I see Dell Curry and reflect and think wow I remember when his son would come in the gym and shoot with us and think wow I am so happy for him. We did our best to represent the Charlotte Hornets the best way we could, everyone on the team was equal. We would not have been as good as we were if it wasn’t for the fans. If you had the hive buzzing as loud as they did for us you had no choice but to go out there and give everything you had. It was easy to play well because always knew that our fans always had our backs, from the bad games to the good games they always had our backs.”
  8. Who would you say top 3 greatest charlotte hornets? Who and why? “I would say in terms of being a leader and getting the Hornets going I would have to say Muggsy Bogues. You can’t say Charlotte Hornets and not think of Muggsy Bogues, he was diffidently a great personality, our spark plug for not only our team, but the community. Of course LJ “grandmamma”, he brought that charisma that he had and that likeable personality with that smile, even before I got there I was a Hornets fan because they had players like LJ and Muggsy. In terms of the early stages of the Charlotte Hornets you have to talk about Alonzo Mourning, he was their fierce backbone shot blocking player that held the team the down on defense.”
  9. What did it mean to you personally to get to play for the Charlotte Hornets? “Personally, it was probably the greatest thing to ever happen to me and my career? Gave me an opportunity to be the best player I could be as well as a person, lifted up my career. My career was doing ok at the time, but for some reason when I got to Charlotte and had the hive behind me my spirit was so uplifted it was really one of the most enjoyable times of my career. The Charlotte Hornets were diffidently the real deal for me.”
  10. What was it like to be breaking all-star game records past huge NBA greats like Hal Greer, Wilt Chamberlin, and Tom Chambers? “At the time I didn’t know what I was doing, I got hot, but I had no idea I was breaking someone’s record. Coach would tell me to get back in the game and I would be like “um, okay?” but I wasn’t thinking about it I just have to knock down these two free throws, if you break records great, if ya don’t oh well. What gave me the greatest feeling really, better than breaking records, through out that day was honestly being able to play as good as I did in front of the top 50 greatest players to play the game. To be able to have a great game like that in front of all of those guys and your peers that was an unbelievable feeling. I was like oh my god I played that well in front of all of these great players and here it is, I guess I did pretty well. It is hard for me to want to brag about anything, but there is something special about that, playing like that in front of them like I did.”
  11. Do you think that the game has changed too much as far as how strictly the rules are regulated, i.e. traveling, too many steps, fouls, etc.? “Yes, they don’t call traveling now, players can run with the basketball and that is the basic fundamentals of the game. When you look at the European players of the game verse the American players as far as fundamentals, the European players are the ones being taught the right fundamentals now. The American players might be more athletic, but there is so much more than that. The NBA needs to get back to the basics, and when we talked about the Spurs Tim Duncan, if you want to talk about fundamentals, that is exactly why he got the nickname “the big fundamental” because of his footwork and everything is excellent. When we played in the 80’s and 90’s basketball was a more physical game but people liked that when people would get into the paint and post it up, now it is like players only do fancy moves, dunk, or shoot 3’s. It takes an element out of the game and has taken a step backwards, Since the 90’s I think we (the NBA) lost fans because of it. Travels aren’t being called, ticky-tack fouls are being called instead.”
  12. What do you think about the idea of having your jersey number retired as a charlotte hornet at the new hive? Would you ever consider the idea? Are you kidding me, that would be unbelievable, now that’s a buzz right there. It speaks volumes of you influence and what the people and the community of how they felt your impact there and how it was after you left it. It would be amazing and it would be a huge honor. “
  13. What do you think about MJ bringing back the Hornets franchise back to Charlotte? “It’s fantastic, I am so glad they brought the Hornets name back to Charlotte. Even back in the day the first time around, the Hornets color, name, and logo were it.”
  14. Do you have any advice for the current Hornets? Especially for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist “MKG” and Gerald Henderson, who both play your position (Small Forward)? “Even when I came in with the Miami Heat we won like 17- 20m games, which wasn’t even close to playoffs. My advice to them is to just keep working hard and be positive, if they do that it will all come together. They need to keep fighting together because it won’t work if you only have clicks. It won’t change unless everyone has the same goal in common or if they play for themselves.”
  15. Do you think that there is a current Hornet that has potential to be an All-Star? “Everyone has the potential to be an all-star, I never thought I would it was never in my mindset. If you work hard and do everything you can to bring wins to the team then the potential is there for everyone. Right now don’t worry about being an all-star now and just try to do anything and everything you can to help the team improve. If you do that, then you can get wins, if you do that then you have the potential to be an All-Star.”
  16. What do you think the hornets need most in the draft and offseason? “It doesn’t need to be a guy that can score a lot of points, what they really need is more leadership. I am not saying that they don’t already have leadership, but leadership comes in many different ways and you can always use more. It could be someone who understands how to be vocal, but doesn’t score a lot. You can always use someone who can score, someone who can play defense, but I will tell you this I believe MJ knows this and will get the Hornets who they need. Hopefully whoever they pick will suit the needs of the team. When you look at the draft I don’t think there’s one player that can come in and take over, I think what they have now is a good core, but there is always room for another piece to the puzzle who can help out. They have a young team that is growing together and that is important. When you look at the draft over the past couple of years there has not been a whole lot impact all at once to change a program. The Hornets have all the right pieces, they just need to go into the offseason and train and it will come together.”
  17. Do you have a favorite NBA player you enjoy to watch now? “Kevin Durrant, because as tall as he is and does what he does, how he is handling the basketball and his shooting. He has been missed this year and I have liked watching him from day 1 that he has been in the league. When you talk about a humble player, he is it. Durrant is so modest, he is a great player but when he talked about his mom being the real MVP, he was so genuine. I always knew he was a good player and good person, but that just stamped it for me. He is just incredible, the real deal, a real MVP.”
  18. Is there anything you want to tell all Hornet Fans? “I want them to know that from day 1 to the day I left I appreciate every second I was there; they made me the player I was at that time because of their support. I think that if their support were any different, then the outcome would have been different. The fans made me want to work my butt off for them. I am so glad I had the opportunity to represent both the Charlotte Hornets and the fans.”

 

I will never forget going to my first game wanting to watch you play. To a 90’s kid, the NBA was life. There was no higher praise than playing as your favorite player in a video game or having their trading card at the top of the stack so all your friends could see it, or playing as them in a backyard pick-up game. Glen Rice was that for me, I know I was just a kid and it doesn’t seem like much, but if it wasn’t for Rice, Muggsy, Dell, Barron Davis, Alonzo, and Anthony Mason. I know for a fact I would not be the athlete, sports writer, fan, and man that I am today. Thank You for that.

The Charlotte Hornets Off-season

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The Charlotte Hornets Off-season by Brad Kirby

The first year return of the Charlotte Hornets ended in disappointment and many questions needing to be answered regarding the future of our team. At the beginning of the year, there were thoughts from our whole entire fan base that the Hornets were ready and set to explode into the spotlight. With the additions of Lance Stephenson, Marvin Williams, Brian Roberts, Jason Maxiell, our two draft picks Noah Vonleh and P.J. Hairston, and Mo Williams and Troy Daniels during the season, our confidence level as fans jumped very high going into opening night and throughout the whole entire season. From Opening night to the last home game, the fan base supported the Hornets the whole way to the finish line through the good times and the bad times. But now, the good times are approaching as the NBA draft and free agency signing period are coming up quickly.

The Hornets Players Contracts Heading into Next Year

As the Hornets have 67 million dollars overall, but 60 million dollars will be tied up in all of our players if Al Jefferson opts in. It would put the Hornets in a situation where the Hornets wouldn’t have a lot of money to spend in the offseason. Al Jefferson has recently stated to media that he has unfinished business here, so it looks as if he will be opting in his contract this summer. As the Hornets approach this offseason, the organization should look to cut, amnesty or trade players on the roster to free up cap space for this upcoming free agency period.The Hornets should look into many trades that consist of Al Jefferson, Cody Zeller, Marvin Williams, or Gerald Henderson for trading away their contracts. I know people are wondering why Lance Stephenson isn’t on this list but I would give him one more chance to shine and if he can’t develop this next year at least you know you tried to make it work with a very skilled player. A draft night trade is what the Charlotte Hornets truly need to consider. Once the NBA lottery results come out, which hopefully will give us luck, the Hornets need to make a game plan on the draft right away and make a bold move on draft night. During the free agency, they also need to sign one big time player that will contribute any given night. 

The Scenarios on Draft Night from most likely to happen to least likely to happen

1. It’s the day of NBA draft and the Hornets are sitting with the 9th overall pick in the NBA draft. The Hornets are on the clock and they select Stanley Johnson, freshmen small forward from the University of Arizona. Johnson has one of the highest ceilings in the NBA draft class as he is 6-7 and 237 pounds with a fast moving motor. He is a very athletic prospect who can shoot the 3 ball and finish strong around the rim. If they don’t select Stanley Johnson then they will go with Willie Cauley-Stein, junior from the University of Kentucky. He is a 7-0 and 240 pounds with top notch shot blocking ability and very high elevation of the floor which makes him an alley-oop machine. If Cauley-Stein can develop better post game presence then the sky is the limit for him. Patrick Ewing could help him in this area very well over the summer. Cauley-Stein could definitely be Al Jeffersons replacement in the future.

2. It’s the day of the NBA draft and the Hornets are sitting with the 9th overall pick. The Hornets organization are eyeing down Justice Winslow, a 6-6 and 222 pound freshmen from Duke University, who has fallen past the fourth pick of the NBA draft. The team who has the 5th overall pick are about to receive a call from the Hornets that states that they will give up Cody Zeller, Gerald Henderson, our first round pick this year, and a future first round pick that is lottery protected for your 5th overall pick. The team accepts the deal and Justice Winslow becomes a Charlotte Hornet. The Hornets needed to draft a proven prospect that has all-star capability, that can finish around the rim, that can expand his jump shot and that has a motor that would pair well with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s. The Hornets are giving up many pieces but in the end it would be well worth it to draft Winslow.

3. It’s the day of the NBA draft and the Hornets are sitting with the 9th overall pick. The Hornets organization are eyeing down Karl Anthony-Towns, a 6-11 and 250 pound freshmen from the University of Kentucky and Jahil Okafor, a 6-11 and 275 pound freshmen from Duke University. The Hornets are in big need of a replacement at the center position for the future. The trade the Hornets would propose would have to include Cody Zeller, Gerald Henderson, Al Jefferson, our first round pick, and a future first round pick for their first or second overall pick. The team the Hornets would propose this too would maybe not accept the deal but the Hornets need to at least give the trade a chance. If the Hornets draft Towns, the Hornets would be getting a player with major upside who dominated college basketball with his scoring, rebounding, and shot blocking at Kentucky. With Okafor, the Hornets would be getting a player who is drawing comparisons with our big man Al Jefferson. Okafor could come in with very polished skills and post moves that are hard to guard down low in the post. His defense would need some work but everyone has one flaw when you get to the next level.

Now to Free Agency where the Hornets solidify a team

The Charlotte Hornets last summer made a big splash in free agency for Lance Stephenson which hasn’t panned out too well so far. So what’s the Charlotte Hornets plan this year? The Hornets will not have too much cash to spend out of their pockets this year as they spent much money last summer. The Hornets will need to shed some of their contracts or it will be a very quiet free agency period in Charlotte. A very good fit for the Charlotte Hornets would be sharpshooter Danny Green who is currently playing for San Antonio Spurs. Green can spread the floor and hit any shot which is a very big weakness on this Hornets team. An intriguing option would be all-star Jimmy Butler but he will require a max deal this offseason so the Hornets would need to lessen the contracts of the players to make this work out. The Hornets also need to add a big man into the rotation. Bismack Biyombo needs to resigned immediately this summer once free agency begins. Other than Bismack, the Hornets need to look at guys in their affordable price range. The Hornets would for sure love a Paul Millsap or a Greg Monroe but that would be  a hard add with the amount of money tied up in our organization right now. I’m looking at Tyler Hansbrough, a proven pro and hard worker or Thomas Robinson, a young player that has very high potential. All the Hornets need are players to help this team so they can reach the next level. All of us as a fan base need to truly believe in the Hornets this offseason and get Charlotte buzzing for next year when we make a run to the playoffs and beyond.

The 4 BIGGEST reasons why the Hornets missed the Playoffs

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The Four Biggest Reasons the Hornets Missed the Playoffs by Chris Parette

Are you disappointed? Are you confused? Have you drank yourself into a spiral of depression? Are you wondering what went wrong with this roller coaster of a Hornets season? Me too. We all are. Here is what went wrong:

Lance Stephenson’s Disappointment

When the Hornets signed Lance Stephenson to a 3-year $27 million contract on July 18, 2014, many people looked at the deal as a steal for the Hornets. Sure Lance had some attitude issues, but the talent was clearly there. It was worth taking a risk to sign a player with the talent Lance showed in his time in Indiana. Funny how things change in less than a year. That deal is now looked at as a horrible overpay for a guy who was disappointing in his first year in Charlotte, to put it nicely. From Indiana to Charlotte, his field goal percentage dropped by 12%, 3-point percentage by 18%, and free throw percentage by 9%. At the beginning of the year, it seemed like he just needed to get acclimated to his new Hornets teammates; but as the season wore on, it became obvious he just didn’t fit in. Coach Clifford made it clear during Stephenson’s DNP’s towards the end of the year that he just couldn’t find lineups that played well with Lance on the floor. That literally might be the worst thing that could be said about you when it comes to basketball.

I certainly hope that this isn’t a case where a player finally gets a nice paycheck and no longer puts the time in to improve as a player. I certainly understand a player who doesn’t fit into a certain system or on a certain team, but the fact that you shoot 17% from 3 (very often unguarded) after shooting a league average 35% the year before, is a VERY alarming stat. According to Basketball Reference, Lance’s 17.1% from 3 is the worst in NBA history with at least 100 attempts. There have been some arguments that it is the players on the court that surround Lance. To compare apples to apples, the lineup of Kemba, MKG, Marvin, Al and Gerald scored 12 points more and allowed 16 points less per 100 possessions than the same lineup without Gerald and with Lance. That is downright awful. Not only was he a liability offensively, but to many peoples surprise, he was equally as bad on defense.

I would expect the Hornets to try to move Lance this summer but be unable to do so since his stock is so low. Luckily, the team has a team option after next season and may be able to move him as a more valuable expiring contract.

Injuries

Look, I understand that every team in the league has to deal with injuries, and I hate to use this as an excuse, but the Hornets were particularly stricken by the injury bug. Here are the number of games missed by player due to injury:

Kemba Walker: 21

Al Jefferson: 17

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: 27

Cody Zeller: 20

Bismack Biyombo: 14

These are five of the nine players with the most minutes on the team, despite the number of games missed. Injuries to players that play as often as these guys do really mess up rotations and chemistry, especially when four of these five are the teams usual starters. With no Kemba or Al you really take a hit offensively. With no MKG or Biz, you take a big hit defensively.

Lack of Talent/Bad Decision Making

Would you like to hear an interesting stat? The Hornets are paying Tyrus Thomas $9 million this season!

I know many Hornets fans are quick to blame Coach Clifford for this teams lack of success this year. While I would agree that he hasn’t been great this season, I don’t really think he is to blame. This team flat out doesn’t have the talent to be a legitimate playoff threat. The Hornets are the worst three-point shooting team in the NBA this season. Also, they had the second worst overall shooting percentage in the league. This team plays basketball like it is 1970 and there is no three-point line. Pick and rolls. Low post feeds. Mid-range jumpers (I’m looking at you Gerald Henderson). The offense is so vanilla and basic that the Hornets had the least amount of turnovers in the league this season.

Depending on who you ask, Kemba Walker is somewhere between the 10th and 15th best point guards in the NBA, but he is arguably the best player on this team (I disagree, but even Clifford has said this). He can score but he is often inefficient and takes shots that he shouldn’t. Coach Clifford said in his exit press conference on Thursday that on an ideal team, Kemba would be your 3rd or 4th best scoring potion.

This teams best offensive weapon is a declining low post center who is an absolute liability on defense. Even though he had a hard time staying on the court this season, he still however was one of the most efficient low post scorers in the NBA according to Synergy Sports:

Synergy

So as you can see, he still is quite efficient, but he is having a hard problem staying healthy. He mentioned in his exit press conference on Thursday that he will most likely opt in to the final year of his contract, and would like to try to lose 25 pounds, because his weight is beginning to catch up with him as he gets more miles on his legs.

MKG still isn’t ready to be a serious offensive weapon despite his defensive excellence; and Cody Zeller is inconsistent game to game scoring and still commits frustrating fouls. Believe it or not, Gerald may be the most consistent player on the team, and that is a problem. He is a competent NBA scorer and defender, but that is about it. If you are relying on him to make a lot of plays, it probably won’t go well for your team offensively.

Coming off the bench, I think the addition of Mo Williams was a good one. He can often be a shoot first point guard, but on a team that struggles to score that isn’t the worst thing in the world. The offseason addition of Marvin Williams was decent. He shot 35% from 3 this year, which is alright for a “stretch 4″, but personally I would rather have the $7 million he is making per year back and give Noah Vonleh more minutes. Lance is what Lance is (no bueno). Biz can protect the rim but has a hard time catching a ball or doing anything on offensive for that matter.

I hear a lot of Hornets fans screaming at the top of their lungs for PJ Hairston to play more, but he isn’t ready for real NBA minutes. Yes, he is a three-point specialist. Problem is he shot 30% from 3 this year, and 60% of his shots while on the floor came from downtown. If he isn’t hitting his shots, he literally does nothing else on offense and often looks lost on defense.

I attribute a lot of these problems to bad drafting. in the last five seasons. For example, here is a list of notable players drafted after Biz at number seven in the 2011 draft: Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, Kenneth Faried, Reggie Jackson, Jimmy Butler, Chandler Parsons. I do understand you won’t hit a homerun every draft, but there are a countless number of players that the Hornets missed out on in the last half decade. Rich Cho & Co. need to do a better job this year with their projected 9th overall pick.

Lastly, the thing that everybody seems to forget about is the loss of Josh McRoberts. He made plays for everyone last season. A lot of the offense ran through him, and he made great passes to set up other players. He brought much more playmaking to the table than Cody/Marvin have, and he is a big reason for the offensive drop off this year.

Late Game Failures

Here is where you can start to blame Coach Clifford. There were far too many blown leads in the fourth quarter this year that a better coached team wouldn’t allow to happen. I specifically remember a game earlier in the season against Orlando where the Hornets blew a 20 point fourth quarter lead to lose. This was one of the few games where I remember where I was when I found out the lead was blown. I was leaving work and I looked at the score of the game. In the third quarter Charlotte was up by 23. I thought to myself “This one is over”. Well, it wasn’t. I pulled into the driveway, looked at my ESPN ScoreCenter App and gave out a “WHAT THE HELL”. We lost….but how?

For as good as a defensive coach that Steve Clifford is, he isn’t the greatest offensively. This team becomes extremely difficult. So often, the play is Pick and Roll with Kemba and Al. This may sound like a decent idea to run with your two best offensive players; but when you have MKG, Cody, and Gerald/Lance, you have no floor spacing and it becomes easier to stop. A Kyrie Irving/Timofey Mozgov P&R works better when you have Kevin Love, JR Smith and Lebron on the floor. This is where the awful three-point shooting comes back into play.

The other common late game play that gets drawn up is the Big Al on the left block. When you know an Al Jefferson post up is coming, it also becomes easy to stop. You can double team him and be less concerned about him hitting someone for an open three when you don’t have weapons to do so.

All of this basically means that the Hornets become too easy to stop. When you can’t consistently score, good luck holding late game leads.

So there it is. It sure is going to be an interesting offseason for the Hornets. Big Al has a $13.5 million player option. They also likely have a top 10 pick, Mo Williams will be a free agent, and we will see if the front office decides to give Biz a qualifying offer. Hopefully Rich Cho makes some good decisions this offseason because if he doesn’t, it may be his last offseason in Charlotte.

Hornets Get Back To BIZ-Ness Against The Brooklyn Nets

After a hard loss on the road to the Chicago Bulls, it is time for the Hornets to get focused and re-evaluate their game plan against their next game, against the Brooklyn Nets, to keep a shot at their playoff hopes.

With Big Al out and Zeller day to day, the Hornets look to Bismack Biyombo to help defend the hive tonight against the Nets.

Bis has had a solid season with

  GP MPG FG% RPG APG BLKPG STPG PFPG PPG
vs. Brooklyn 2 21.5 .667 9.0 0.5 1.0 0.0 3.5 5.5

Biz needs to be aware that the Nets are most likely going to target him and try harder to draw fouls off of him when attacking the rim, to avoid this he needs to make sure to play aggressive defense but to play feet planted-hands up defense and be more worried about making sure they are un-successful at drawing easy points from fouls then tough trick shot baskets.

Rebounds are also an important factor that Biz needs to contribute big time in, with Big Al out it is up to him to give the Hornets big time second chances as well as preventing the Nets from getting easy second chances for points.

This game is  still big for playoff hopes for Charlotte, tonight all Hornets fans should chant “In Biz We Trust.”

Joe Shomaker is young at only 15 but he is one of the most talented editors we have come across in our years of doing this. So naturally when he approached us we had to scoop him up and throw him on the Bring Back the Buzz Blog Team. We just hope the young Padawan takes his talent… not to South Beach BUT to college and we can some day bee blessed to see his work being used by either the Panthers or Hornets!

Here is some of his work for Bring Back the Buzz…


 


 

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My name is Joe Shomaker and I am a graphic artist for Bring Back The Buzz. I’ve been working with Photoshop for a year and a half and I’m glad to be a part of the page! I am from Northern Virginia but I am a die hard Hornets and Panthers fan!

Follow me on Twitter @J3_Digital

GO HORNETS & PANTHERS!

Joe Shomaker Edits

Charlotte Hornets All-Time Starting Lineup

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Despite being one of the newer teams to the NBA, the Charlotte Hornets have had some outstanding players come through their franchise. In a fantasy scenario, it would certainly be something to see this group play together in their prime for just one game. Here is a look at the all-time starting 5 for the Charlotte Hornets. Please note that the NBA considers the Charlotte Bobcats from 2004-2014 as part of the franchise history, not the New Orleans Hornets.


 

Baron Davis

When Baron Davis 1st arrived in Charlotte as a young lottery pick, people saw him as a very inefficient point guard who took bad shots. He only shot 42% from the field his rookie year, and his 23% shooting from beyond the arc was troublesome. However, he would have to very solid years after that with the franchise, including an All-Star appearance in the 2001-2002 year. In franchise history, he is the only point guard to be named an All-Star.

Injuries plagued him throughout his career, but he never missed a game in Charlotte. He had one of the most efficient years in Hornets history in 2001-2002, as he finished with averages of 18.1 points, 8.5 assists and 2.1 steals per contest.


 

Gerald Wallace

During the rebirth of NBA basketball in Charlotte, Gerald Wallace was the most accomplished player. He was stuck on a lot of bad teams, but he played hard during his tenure with the franchise. He was the only person to make an All-Star team during the Bobcats era, as he had a pretty special 2009-2010 year. Longevity gives him the slight edge over Eddie Jones.


 

Glen Rice

No player for the Charlotte Hornets could score with the same ease as Glen Rice. He is one of the most underrated players in NBA history, but fans in Charlotte certainly don’t forget his three year run with the team. He made the All-Star team in all 3 of those years, and he averaged 23.5 points per game during that stretch.


 

Larry Johnson

Much like Davis, Larry Johnson would go through quite a few injuries after leaving Charlotte. However, during his tenure with the team, they were one of the most exciting franchises in the NBA. He would team up with the center below to form a pretty strong frontcourt. Despite being undersized, he averaged 9.2 rebounds per game with Charlotte while also averaging 19.6 points.


 

Alonzo Mourning

Two Hall of Famers have suited up for Charlotte at some point during their career, and with all due respect to Robert Parish, few remember his two-year stint at the very end for him. Alonzo Mourning had three outstanding years with the Hornets to begin his career, and he later developed into one of the best centers in the league.

No player in Charlotte history has averaged even close to his 3.2 blocks per game. He was a defensive anchor for one of the youngest and most exciting teams around. He is second all-time in points and rebounds per game, as the developing superstar found a way to consistently be a 20 and 10 guy. Many wonder how good the team could have been with him sticking around, but it is hard to forget the three years he did play.

 

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BUZZ WEEKLY: MONEY MO WILLIAMS, THE PLAYOFF PICTURE AND THE RETURN OF KEMBA WALKER

Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images)

Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images)

Written by David W. Walters

WHAT TO MAKE OF THE PAST FEW WEEKS…

Your Charlotte Hornets (28-34) have certainly had a dramatic season full of ups and downs but, over the last few weeks, this team has begun to develop an identity as the position themselves in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

The Hornets have gone 7-4 since the All-Star break, including a five-game win streak as Charlotte played six games in the span of nine days.

While the entire team has stepped up their play recently, It’s not a stretch to say that the trade for Mo Williams may have saved the Hornets season.  Charlotte was desperate for a scoring punch, and while Brian Roberts filled in admirably for the injured Walker, he wasn’t the floor general that this team was sorely lacking.

Shot happy Gary Neal was traded in exchange for Williams and D-league sharp-shooter Troy Daniels and the pair had to wait until after the week long All-Star break to make their debut in Charlotte.  Mo came out firing on all cylinders in his first outing with the Hornets and he hasn’t looked back since, is averaging 21.4 points and 8.5 assists in his 10 games played since joining the Hornets.

His numbers since coming to Charlotte have been on par with some of the best guards in the league, and it’s shown as he was recently named the Eastern Conference player of the week while averaging 19.5 points and 10.8 assists in 35.5 minutes played for the week, while shooting .429 from the field (24-56), .375 from beyond the three-point line (9-24) and .913 from the free-throw line (21-23), as the Hornets posted the NBA’s only 4-0 record on the week.  The Hornets as a team are benefitting from Williams’ touch on offense as well, boosting their offensive output to 102.9 points per outing since the trade, resulting in a lot of free pizzas for all the fans.

molayup

Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images)

Williams is essentially the antithesis to Lance Stephenson, rarely showing any emotion with his no-nonsense approach to the game.  Williams has been all over the league during his career so getting acquainted with a new team is nothing new to him; it also doesn’t hurt that he was reunited with a fellow Mississippi native Al Jefferson, with whom he played with in a stint in Utah.

Williams also has a high basketball I.Q. and the ability to make the players around him better as evidenced by having all five starters score in double figures in five of the last seven games.

Speaking of Stephenson, he has seemingly settled into his role with the second unit and has begun to play some good basketball when called upon.  While he certainly has fallen short of the teams’ expectations this season, he is helping this team get into the thick of the playoff picture.

Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images

Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images

Speaking of playoffs, the Hornets are currently sitting in the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference standings as of now.  They are in a battle with Indiana, Miami, Boston and Brooklyn for the seventh and eighth seed in the playoffs making it paramount to play with purpose to stay in the thick of the playoff race.  They have a somewhat favorable schedule down the stretch that includes dates with each of the teams vying for position along side of them, so the Hornets playoff destiny is in their own hands.

And last but not least, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is making a strong case for becoming the leagues defensive player of the year, or at the very least, the leagues most improved player.  Much was made of the improvements on his jumper in the offseason, but it seems that those changes have spread to all other aspects of his game.  The Hornets struggled with energy, particularly on the defensive end, while MKG was sidelined with a stress injury in his foot earlier this year and also while he was out more recently with a hamstring strain.  Now that teams are forced to respect his jump shot, it has opened up lanes for him to get to the basket and draw contact; which was his calling card in the first place.  MKG has averaged 12.3 points on .515 shooting from the field (51-99) and 8.8 rebounds in his 10 games since he returned from injury.

But his biggest impact will always be on the defensive end of the court, where he regularly draws the opposing teams top assignment.  In a recent game against the Pistons, Coach Clifford put MKG on Detroit point guard Reggie Jackson after he had a monster first half.  MKG bothered him the rest of the game, making Jackson ineffective and giving the Hornets what they needed to come back and win the game.  The Hornets are a completely different team with him on the floor, and hopefully they can keep him healthy as they make their way into the playoffs.

MOVING FORWARD…

Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images)

Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images)

The big news coming out of Hornets nation this week will be the return of starting point guard Kemba Walker after a 20-game absence following knee surgery.  Walker intends to return tonight against the Sacramento Kings and, while Coach Clifford plans on limiting his minutes, the ultimate intention is to pair Kemba with Mo in the back court.  How this experiment will pan out remains to be seen, but the returns on such a pairing with two ball handlers capable of scoring could work out favorably as teams struggle to cover the two guards.  Hypothetically, the presence of Williams will open up the floor for Walker and vice versa.

Looking ahead to the next week or so of games, the Hornets have an excellent opportunity to keep things rolling starting off with tonight’s game against the Kings.  This will be the first of two games against Sacramento, a talented team that has undergone three different coaches this season.  Now, with veteran coach George Karl at the helm, the Kings are working their way towards respectability as they try to build some sort of consistency out of what has become a perennially unsettled situation.

Sacramento features one of the leagues most talented big men in the mercurial DeMarcus Cousins.  They also feature some serious athleticism on the wings in Rudy Gay and Ben McLemore.  While their record and their average numbers aren’t that impressive, they are a very talented team that is sure to give the Hornets a challenge.  It will be interesting to see how Kemba plays in his return to action as he was on a crazy scoring tear before his knee became so problematic.

Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images)

Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images)

Next up is a match up in Charlotte against the Chicago Bulls.  The Bulls are currently without the services of Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler due to injuries; together they form one of the top back courts in the NBA.  Make no mistake about it though, the Bulls are still deep, talented, and they feature one of the leagues best defenses to go along with a stout front court featuring Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol, who leads the league in double doubles.  This will no doubt be a good teat for the Hornets, albeit a tough defensive match up.

Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images)

Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images)

After that, the Hornets are headed out on a five game road trip, beginning with a matchup on Monday in Utah.  The Jazz are a young team but they have also begun to find their way recently behind the play of Gordon Heyward and big man Derrick Favors.  Utah is currently second in points allowed as rapidly evolving big man Rudy Gobert has given the team an intimidating defensive presence down low.

Charlotte is back in action the next night as they travel to Los Angeles to face a strong Clippers team that has persevered despite the rash of injuries they have experienced lately.  Blake Griffin has been out with injury as has Jamal Crawford, and point guard Chris Paul has basically been playing on one leg as he deals with a knee injury.  Hopefully the Hornets will be able to pounce on LA while they’re down but that certainly hasn’t been an easy task of late, as the Clippers’ depth has shown with DeAndre Jordan picking up the slack down low while J.J. Redick, Matt Barnes and Austin Rivers have stepped up their play recently.

The Hornets get a few days off and then they travel to Sacramento for the second game in two nights against a talented young Kings squad.

This will be the last long road trip for the Hornets before they head down the final stretch of the season.  If ever there was a time for the team to hit a consistent stride for the season it would be now.  Charlotte not only needs a strong finish to hold on to make the playoffs but getting some momentum going as they roll into the postseason wouldn’t hurt either.

 

Pay attention Hornets fans, its just now starting to get interesting!  Until next time, KEEP BUZZING!!!

 

you can follow David W. Walters @Original_DWade.