Hornets continue to lean on veterans as they hope for another star player
Of the four teams in the mix for the number one overall pick, the Charlotte Hornets are by far the most confusing. They've got a weird mix of serviceable veterans and under-utilized youth and have struggled with keeping their best players healthy. Still, it hasn't felt like they're actively trying to develop their young guys. They might be a downright terrible team.
Part of what makes the Hornets so interesting is that their veterans are eating most of their minutes, but less than half of them will likely be in Charlotte a year from now. Mason Plumlee, Kelly Oubre, Gordon Hayward, and Terry Rozier play some of the heaviest minutes on the team. Plumlee and Oubre are on expiring deals, and Hayward and Rozier will see their contracts expire at the end of next season. Will Charlotte look to move these guys before the deadline or just run out the clock on this current roster configuration?
From what's been floating around the rumor mill, it doesn't sound like there's much interest in trading for any of the Hornets' veterans. Maybe some for Plumlee, but I don't know what kind of assets Charlotte could reasonably expect to get back for a 32-year-old center on an expiring contract.
Funnily enough, the player with the most trade appeal on the Hornets right now is Jalen McDaniels. The Spurs have had their eyes on him, but he is the type of player that Charlotte should be sure to hold on to. He's a versatile defender and reliable spot-up shooter, not someone you trade unless you get an ideal package in return.
What's frustrating about Charlotte is that they could be doing such a better job of their rebuild if they just made a few rotational tweaks. If they prioritized playing time for guys like Nick Richards, Kai Jones, and James Bouknight, I'd be more inclined to say they were approaching this rebuild the right way. Sure, none of those guys are particularly good at the moment, but it's not like playing the veterans has led to positive results.
Maybe the players Charlotte has drafted recently just aren't good. But isolating them in the G League -- where they're actually doing alright -- isn't doing them or the team any favors. To call this rebuild a success, the Hornets need to invest legitimate playing time into the future of their organization. If they fail to do so, Charlotte might find itself in the same spot in a few years.