Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images

They are what we thought they were? Five games in to the NBA regular season and we have seen two different versions of the Hornets team that flashed so much promise through a seven game win streak during the exhibition season. After starting off the season with three straight losses against southeast division foes, the Hornets have regained the team chemistry that had fans buzzing in the preseason by winning convincingly against both Chicago and Dallas.

The first three games weren’t completely terrible. They showed flashes of promise in between bad midrange shots and careless turnovers, but they certainly didn’t resemble the mess that was last season’s version of the Hornets. With nearly half of the roster turned over from last season, there was no doubt that it might take a while for these guys to come together; maybe they just needed a few games to get into a rhythm.

Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images

           Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images)

That began on Tuesday night when the Bulls came to town. The Hornets came out and immediately punched them in the mouth, going up by 17 in the first quarter and they never looked back. Charlotte absolutely dominated Chicago in every facet of the game en-route to a resounding 130-105 victory. That’s right, 130 from the Charlotte Hornets. If anything, this showed us what could be this season with a newly revamped roster and offensive philosophy.

Earlier that day, the Hornets signed wingman Jeremy Lamb to a three-year extension two games into his career in Charlotte. Before anybody could question the move, Lamb responded with 20 points off the bench on an efficient 9-10 shooting from the field. Lamb continued his strong play two nights later, dropping 16 points on 7-11 shooting so, for the time being, it seems that signing Lamb to an extension was the right move and hopefully we’ve just begun to tap his potential.

After the offensive outburst against Chicago, the Hornets showed more versatility in Dallas. They took control of the Mavericks in the second half of the game with Al Jefferson putting on an absolute clinic in the post to the tune of 31 points and nine rebounds on 15-18 shooting. While the Hornets hit only 6-27 attempts from long range, the constant threat combined with crisp ball movement and floor spacing gave Big Al the room needed to effectively operate with his arsenal of old school post moves.

Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images

             Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images)

The front office folks have done a pretty good job of putting together a talented team with the additions (and subtractions) they’ve made during the offseason. Jeremy Lin looks great as the teams backup point guard, the aforementioned Lamb is blossoming into a valuable asset, Spencer Hawes (despite some bad play the first few games) is a good veteran presence on the floor with the second unit, rookie Frank Kaminsky has shown promise in limited action and Nicolas Batum has proven his worth with his versatility across the board. In fact, every player has gotten into the game in the past two wins, showing that this year’s team is deep and diverse. We have a mix of players with different skill sets and it appears that they compliment each other well.

Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images

  Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images)

One of the most pleasant surprises to me so far though, has been the play of starting power forward Marvin Williams, who is averaging nearly a double-double five games into the season. Williams struggled to find his footing last season but has been an important piece to the puzzle so far, coming through for the Hornets when they need a clutch play. He has been hot from long range and has played heavy minutes with both the starters and reserves due to his ability to slide between both forward spots.

If anything, this seasons Hornets are going to be fun to watch. Even in their losses, they managed to at least keep the games close with their new collection of players. While last seasons team was seemingly doomed from the start, this bunch has developed a chemistry with each other that will hopefully vault them into the playoff picture. It won’t be easy in a southeast division that has so many really good teams though, as Miami has a strong roster and both Washington and Atlanta are off to hot starts with largely unchanged personnel that led them both to playoff berths last spring. Charlotte can ill afford to start slowly as they have in past seasons because the margin of error will be smaller, meaning the Hornets shouldn’t put themselves in a position to play catch up all season.

Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images)

             Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images)

Funny thing is, after the 0-3 start I had a column written up and ready to go but something told me to hold off until after the Bulls game, and I’ve never been happier to scrap an article. Hopefully the Hornets can keep this hot streak going; they hit the road to face the Spurs on Saturday, but then their schedule opens up to where the Hornets could really improve their record as seven of their next eight opponents are teams that will most likely end up in the bottom half of the league. I’m not saying we’re world beaters or championship contenders just yet, but we certainly are an improvement over what we’ve seen in years past. Enjoy the ride Hornets fans and, until next time, KEEP BUZZING!!!

you can follow David W. Walters @Original_DWade.

POLL: Should PJ Hairston Be In The Starting Line-up? If Not, Who Should Be?


If you do not think PJ Hairston should be starting then please comment below who you think should be!

POLL: Is This Panthers Team Better Than The ’03-’04 Super Bowl Run Team?


We are not going to preface this poll with much of anything because we are not trying to sway opinion. The current team is the first 10-0 team in Panthers history so it is a fair question that many are discussing on social media. Is the hype real or are people forgetting because it has been over 10 years?

2015-16 Charlotte Hornets: Reasons for Hope, Reasons for Concern


Coming into the 2015-16 NBA season, there are a lot of fans in Charlotte who are buying into the hype of a 7-1 preseason and a team that looks like it will be fun to watch this year. However, looking at the improvements that a lot of other teams in the Eastern Conference have made over the offseason, I for one am very skeptical of how this season will turn out and have a hard time seeing this collection of players sneaking into the playoffs.

My first concern, which should be obvious to most fans, is the loss of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist for the year. In an offseason that saw MKG sign a 4-year $52 Million extension, there was a ton of excitement about keeping a 21 year old elite defender on the team to build around going forward. That is why it was such a bummer to see him tear his labrum in the first preseason game of the year. Not only is he an elite defender on the perimeter, he is one of the most efficient rebounders at his position.  He is also a very good athlete who can get to the rim on the offensive end. In 2014-15, Hornets fans were stoked to see his jump shot improving. Outside of 10 feet, his first two years he shot 28% and 27%, but last season that number jumped up to 40%. Now he still has a way to go, but seeing such a big jump is a positive sign going forward. He also led the team in fast break points per game and ranked among the best in the league at cuts to the rim that generated points. The most staggering stat is that the Hornets were 27-28 with MKG in the lineup, and 6-21 without him last season. All that being said, the loss of MKG is massive and will really hurt the team on both ends of the floor.

Some will point to the addition of Nic Batum during the offseason as a reason to not be too skeptical about the loss of MKG.  I do believe the addition of the former Trail Blazer will be a positive one and will make the most impact of any acquisition the Hornets made during the summer. He had a down year last season, only shooting 40% from the field and 32% from 3 (career averages of 46% and 36%), but he was banged up last season.  In a contract year, I expect him to get back to his normal form. I also expect him to be more aggressive than in years past in Portland, where he was the 4th option behind Aldridge, Lillard, and Matthews. In Charlotte he will be a much bigger focal point offensively, and he will still bring it as an elite defender on the perimeter.

JOHANNESBURG, SA - AUGUST 1: Nicolas Batum #5 of Team Africa dribbles the ball during the NBA Africa Game 2015 as part of Basketball Without Borders on August 1, 2015 at the Ellis Park Arena in Johannesburg, South Africa. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)Getty Images

Coming into the season, Steve Clifford had hoped to play MKG and Batum together at shooting guard and small forward, but with no MKG, who does that vault into the starting lineup?

PJ Hairston. This is a GIANT red flag for me. PJ was very shaky as a rookie, both on offense and defense. When I say the name PJ Hairston, what basketball skill comes to mind? Three point shooting correct? Well PJ only shot 30% from and 32% from the field. When your one quantifiable skill that got you into the NBA is shooting, and you can’t shoot, that is what I call a problem. Watching the summer league games, he didn’t perform well either. If you are an NBA starter, and you can’t even perform at a mediocre level in the summer league, that isn’t ideal. PJ is also a below average defender, which isn’t good when you are also below average on offense. Now I was never the biggest Gerald Henderson fan, but one thing he did was bring it every night on both sides of the ball. That is something I have yet to see from PJ, but I would love to see him take a step forward this season now that he is in a bigger role.

My next concern would be the wings on the bench. Jeremy Lamb and Troy Daniels have proven basically nothing in their NBA careers to this point. Jeremy Lamb is in the same boat as PJ. Known as a shooter, but doesn’t shoot at a high percentage at only 34% from 3 for his career. Troy Daniels has been a very good shooter for the small amount of meaningful playing time he has had in his career (39% from 3), but he is only 6’4 so he is a small shooting guard and even smaller small forward. Jeremy Lamb is also only 6’5, so I am unsure who is going to be the backup small forward when Batum is off the floor. Coach Clifford seems to be of the opinion that Marvin Williams is a power forward and not a small forward, which eliminates him from backup small forward. I do believe that there will be stretches each game where Kemba and Jeremy Lin are on the floor at the same time at both guard spots, but I need to see Lamb and Daniels prove it before I actually think they will be positive bench contributors.

The bench big men are also quite confusing since they don’t seem to have a lot of variety. Assuming Cody Zeller starts at power forward, you will be looking at Marvin Williams, Frank Kaminsky, and Spencer Hawes as your backup big men. All of them are below average defenders, none of whom can protect the rim. Sure they can shoot a little (which is nice since the 2014-15 Hornets were dead last from 3), but their skills overlap, and that will be a layup line for other teams. This is why losing Bismack Biyombo was a bigger deal to this Hornets team than it would be for most teams. For all of his offensive liabilities, he was a great rim defender; and when he was on the court, opposing teams knew it. Cody Zeller is now the best rim defender on the team, and even he is maybe only average at best. With no MKG stopping people on the perimeter when other teams get into the paint, it will be an issue. Now a lighter and more nimble Al Jefferson should help the interior defense, but he still is a liability on the defensive end.

I believe a valuable edition to the team is Jeremy Lin. Watching Jeremy in Los Angeles he was used incorrectly. Jeremy’s biggest skill is as a pick and roll ball handler. Steve Clifford loves some pick and roll, and I’m sure when Lin is on the floor there will be a heavy dosage. Pick and Roll with Al and Cody, and pick and pop with Kaminsky, Hawes, and Williams should be a very effective offense when the team needs a bucket. Plus, with the addition of Batum and Lamb on the wings (in theory), there should be more spacing for the pick and rolls to operate.

charlotte-hornets-point-guard-jeremy-linGetty Images

I hope this season Coach Clifford does a better job offensively and closing games than he did last season. In his first year as coach of the Bobcats, Steve Clifford did a great job of taking a talent challenged team to the playoffs. However, last year he didn’t do as well. I do think a lot of this has to do with talent on the floor (looking at you Rich Cho), but this 2015-16 roster has a lot of money invested into it. I think if this team gets off to a slow start, he could be on the hot seat. He is a very good defensive coach, but this season he needs to be better offensively with more offensive minded players on the roster.

I also would expect Al Jefferson to get back near his 2013-14 All-NBA form after a step back last season. He lost roughly 20 pounds in the offseason by cutting out fried chicken, and I think this will help his career trajectory now that he is into his 30’s. He should stay healthier this season, which is a positive because this team takes a massive step back on the offensive end with him off the court. I hope the weight loss also helps him move better on the defensive end because he is a below average defender who often gets targeted by other teams. He is also in a contract year, and at 30 years old he will want to play well to earn one last big deal.

Overall, I feel that the biggest thing that will hold back this team is not having MKG. He is an invaluable asset that, on this team, cannot be replaced. With MKG, I think this team could have competed for the 7th or 8th seed in the East; but without him, I think this team is somewhere between 28-34 wins, and back in the lottery again. In a division with Atlanta, a healthy Miami, Washington, and up and coming Orlando team, I have a hard time seeing this team really put everything together to sneak into the playoffs (I hope they prove me wrong).

Follow Chris on Twitter @ExtraChrisP_



Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images)

Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images)

It’s that time of year again Hornets fans! The NBA season kicks off tonight with a primetime triple-header and a revamped Hornets team opens their season tomorrow night in Miami.


If the preseason is any indication of how this upcoming season will go, then the Charlotte Hornets are poised to contend for a championship. Maybe we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves, but after going 7-1 during the preseason, the fans are rightfully buzzing about an exciting brand of basketball taking shape for the 2015-2016 season.


The Hornets took a hard hit early on in the teams first game of the preseason, losing MKG for the season just after we had signed him to a contract extension and that tampered expectations for the season a bit. Instead of licking their wounds, the Hornets went on a tear by winning their first seven games of the preseason. And while its difficult to take too much from the outcomes of preseason exhibitions, it did show the progress resulting from an offseason of change in Charlotte.


The Hornets have added playmakers and shooters to improve on last season’s floor spacing disaster. The offense is more freewheeling and the ball movement is much improved from what we’ve seen so far. The additions of Nic Batum and Jeremy Lin have taken pressure off Kemba as the teams’ primary creator on offense, allowing him to play off the ball more on offense, and the early results are promising.


The Hornets played two exhibitions in China against the Clippers, winning both games as they blew out a team that is picked to be among the best in the Western Conference. They also pulled out an impressive win against the Pistons in a game where they had to put together a strong rally to come back in the closing minutes. It would be short sighted to look too far ahead based on the eight game sample we’ve seen, but it appears at first glimpse that Charlotte has made some strides after an offseason rebuild that saw roughly half of the roster turned over from last season.


Clifford tried a few different combinations in the starting lineup but appears to have settled on P.J. Hairston to start at small forward for the Hornets to start the season. This will be a huge opportunity for the second year forward as he struggled with his shot and consistency last season, at times finding himself in Clifford’s doghouse. Clearly, his ability to stretch the floor helps him out in this respect since the team is looking to spread the floor on offense this season, but Hairston is also being relied on to be a defensive stopper with the teams starting unit.

Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images)

Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images)


The answer of who will start at power forward, however, is not so clear-cut. Marvin Williams and  Cody Zeller are the candidates for the position and my guess is that Williams will be with the starting unit on opening night. Zeller has looked much improved in the preseason despite just coming off of shoulder surgery over the summer. He is going to the basket more aggressively and he has clearly worked on his shooting range, knowing that the teams’ goal this season would be stretching the floor. That being said, Williams offers the shooting range that Clifford wants out of his starting unit and, while he offers little else in terms of on court strengths, that may be enough for him to begin the season as the starter. Frank Kaminsky also figures to be in the mix at the position, but the rookie will have to earn his time on the court as Clifford is notoriously stingy with his rookie’s playing time.


Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images)

Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images)


My favorite addition of the offseason was Jeremy Lin, and he certainly did not disappoint in the preseason, as he was easily one of the teams best all-around players on the floor. It appears that Lin may have found somewhere that really fits his game. In his previous stops in New York, Los Angeles and Houston, Lin was stuck on the floor with players that dominated the ball on offense, leaving Lin playing as a spot up or catch and shoot perimeter player.


Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images)

Photo credit (NBAE/Getty Images)


In Charlotte, there is no such player, which gives Lin more freedom to create plays with the ball in his hands. Clifford experimented with Lin in the starting lineup; and while he played well on the floor with Kemba, Clifford is rightly starting him as an option of the bench because of his playmaking skills and versatility to play both guard spots. Judging by his performance in the preseason, Lin might end up being a complete steal for the Hornets this year.


The Hornets will need to carry some momentum into the season as they open up with five of their first seven games on the road, mostly against playoff teams from last season. Charlotte has struggled out of the gates for the last two years so a strong start could go a long way towards building confidence and by setting a sustainable pace for the Hornets this year.


The Hornets home opener is this Sunday; a matinee against the Atlanta Hawks with a 2:00 tipoff time. The team will once again give away tuxedo shirts as another nod towards opening night for the inaugural Charlotte Hornets team of 1988.


In other Hornets news, the team has decided to place their D-League affiliate in Greensboro. This will give the teams younger players an opportunity to get more playing time and it will serve as the Hornets minor league affiliate, giving the team a legitimate system to evaluate players within a two hour drive from Charlotte. Greensboro was chosen from seven cities that were hoping to court the team and bested the other 2 finalist cities of Asheville and Fayetteville in a close battle executives said.


After an offseason of change in the Queen City, it’s time for the second coming of the new-era Charlotte Hornets! Waiting on Wednesday Hornets fans, until then, KEEP BUZZING!!!



The Hornets will debut their alternate “Buzz City” themed uniforms this season.




you can follow David W. Walters @Original_DWade.

$15 Crown Town Basketball Shirt

$15 Crown Town Basketball Shirt FOR ONLY ONE MORE DAY!


POLL: What Should The Hornets & Greensboro Name Their D-League Team?


Pete Guelli, the Executive Vice President and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer for the Hornets, broke the news on twitter early Sunday morning that the Hornets had finally decided on what city they would place their D-league team. They had chosen the Greensboro out of 7 potential locations located in North and South Carolina.


Greensboro is a proven town when it comes to minor league teams, they have their own coliseum and is the 3rd largest city in the state. Being close to college communities will hopefully help the attendance and interest in the team. Honestly, it was the location that we thought was the best fit for a team besides Charleston.

The question is now WHAT DO WE CALL THIS TEAM?




Charlotte vs Everybody Showcase!


Come experience a little bit of Charlotte art. We will be hosting a wide variety of painters, photographers and artists of all types who specialize in depicting what makes this city so great!
A lot of the art will be available for purchase and this is a great way to see another bee-autiful side of the Queen City!
– Art Gallery
– Contests & Giveaways!!!
– Live Painting
– Charlotte Themed Apparel
– Fantastic food & Drinks will be available via Fitzgerald’s
– Cornhole (The game & also custom art pieces)
– Live Show of “Hive Talk Live
@ 8:30
(list is growing every day)
– Andy Rocco
– Diebolt Designs
– OB Cornholes
*** PARKING: If you park in the Wake Forest Parking Deck Fitzgerald’s will validate your pass***
—We are constantly looking for high caliber artists to add to our event and the experience. If you wish to be a part feel free to email us at expressing your interest and a sample of your work