It’s only August, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to start talking about the Hornets' 2016-17 regular season.
After all, there are numerous storylines currently swarming around Charlotte that could ultimately be factors when the regular season tips off in a few short months. Here are the latest news and notes surrounding Buzz City.
Batum sleepwalking in Rio
Is Nic Batum on vacation in Brazil? It certainly appears that way, as the Hornets newly-resigned “max player” has apparently been playing minimally for the French national team in the preliminary games of the Olympics. Batum followed up a meek 5-point performance versus Australia by posting 7 and 11 in the following two contests respectively. The Hornets will need much more than 7.7 PPG from their $120 million swingman this season.
Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer had some sharp criticism after the loss to Australia. “If all you knew about Nic Batum was the one game he played in these Olympics so far, you would truly believe that the Charlotte Hornets just made the worst decision of their lives last month when they gave him the biggest contract in franchise history.” Ok, now that’s a little dramatic.
D-League Swarm set for inaugural season
The Hornets now have their very own NBA Developmental League affiliate in the Greensboro Swarm. Based in Greensboro, NC – which is about an hour and a half in a car, and roughly 9 hours on a bicycle if you’re into that kind of thing – the Swarm should provide the pro team a pool of young talent to keep tabs on throughout the season. The coaching staffs of both clubs also stressed the importance of working cohesively together.
Kemba’s knee is healthy and ready for takeoff
“Good afternoon, Charlotte passengers, this is your captain speaking. Please ensure your seatbelts are fastened and your tray-tables are in the upright position. Flight #15 is ready for takeoff”. According to Rotoworld, the Hornets floor general is fully-recovered from offseason meniscus surgery and ready to continue his ascension among top NBA point guards. Good news for Kemba's knee. Bad news for his opponents’ ankles:
Watch the top 10 nba crossovers&ankle breakers of Kemba Walker from 2014-15 regular season！ The NBA consists of the following teams: Atlanta Hawks; Boston Celtics; Brooklyn Nets; Charlotte Hornets; Chicago Bulls; Cleveland Cavaliers; Dallas Mavericks; Denver Nuggets; Detroit Pistons; Golden State Warriors; Houston Rockets; Indiana Pacers; Los Angeles Clippers; Los Angeles Lakers; Memphis Grizzlies; Miami Heat; Milwaukee Bucks; Minnesota Timberwolves; New Orleans Pelicans; New York Knicks; Oklahoma City Thunder; Orlando Magic; Philadelphia 76ers; Phoenix Suns; Portland Trail Blazers; Sacramento Kings; San Antonio Spurs; Toronto Raptors; Utah Jazz; Washington Wizards.
Emeka Okafor, yes that guy, wants to return to NBA
I didn’t even realize this man retired. If you asked me which player was still in the Association between Okafor and Drew Gooden, I definitely would have lost. Jokes aside, Okafor was a man-child when he first entered the league with the Charlotte Bobcats, averaging a career-best 15.1 points to go along with 11 rebounds. It’s probably difficult to remember due to the fact that NOBODY watched the Bobcats. I don’t even think the previous owner, Bob Johnson, watched the games to be honest. Regardless, Okafor was always a physical player for Charlotte, and has career averages of 12 and 10 over 9 years. What does a 34-year-old center have left in the tank? That remains to be seen. But the odds have to be better than those given to Tim Tebow succeeding on a baseball diamond, right?
The appetizer of the regular season
Though not as delicious as jalapeno poppers or potato skins, the NBA preseason is still pretty satisfying in its own right. The Hornets recently announced their seven-game preseason schedule, which includes two home games at Time Warner Cable Arena. Below is the full slate:
Christopher Kreider | @krydr1