After a disappointing 2016/17 campaign, the Hornets have put themselves back in position to compete for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, Dennis Chambers of Basketball Insiders writes.
The addition of Dwight Howard will give the Hornets an inside presence that they lacked during their down year last season. The big man’s connection to head coach Steve Clifford – who served as an assistant coach with both the Lakers and Magic during Howard’s time there – will bode well as they settle into a new routine in Charlotte.
While Howard’s value as an elite rebounder is undisputed, the fact that the Hornets could possibly utilize Howard’s offensive skills more than his last few employers have is intriguing.
“He understands that I know him,” Clifford said of the new Hornets center. “I know his game. Being around him in different settings I have a feel for what he likes to do… There is no reason he can’t get back to playing at a really high level.”
Chambers also cites the addition of Malik Monk, a guard that can help shoulder the scoring load, as one of the major improvements that the Hornets will enjoy in 2017/18.
There’s more from the Southeast Division:
- There’s a palpable buzz surrounding the Hornets after a down year last season. Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer recently broke down the club’s new-look depth chart in detail.
- The Heat committed to maintaining their core and culture this offseason even though it limited flexibility they may have had next summer when LeBron James and Paul George hit free agency. Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel writes that the club didn’t put their club on hold for the chance at a superstar, adding that the roster is full of tradable contracts if Pat Riley does, in fact, look to carve out some cap room.
- Head coach Scott Brooks wants his Wizards roster to have high expectations heading into the 2017/18 season, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic writes. “We’re trying to establish [a championship mentality] here. We want to have consistent and sustainable success,” Brooks said.