Hornets offseason needs: shooting, bench and a superstar?

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Bobcats last season had a bunch of positive things. but still had some major holes that the Hornets will need to fix. There's also the issue of becoming contenders.

To figure out what Charlotte needs to fix in the offseason it needs to be identified what they struggled with last season.

One of the most glaring and obvious fixes for the Bobcats would be their bench. It has some nice pieces here and there but the better teams in the NBA can take advantage of it pretty well. Some upgrades are necessary. However, the bench can be improved over time as the rest of the team improves. They have bigger needs at the moment.

Consistent shooting was Charlotte's biggest weakness throughout the entire season. At the deadline the team was forced to trade for Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour in hope of fixing some of their shooting woes. They began to put Anthony Tolliver into more crucial moments of the rotation and Josh McRoberts attempted more three's than he had in his entire career. Steve Clifford did everything he could to squeeze out even the tiniest bit of spacing from this team.

Some places the Hornets can go to get better shooting are free agency and more likely the draft. Charlotte is in two prime positions in the draft where they can get at least one starting caliber long range shooter. They also have the cap space and ability to sign a shooter through free agency if they feel that's a better place to fix their shooting woes.

As the Hornets look to add better shooters, they'll likely be looking for starting caliber talent: specifically at the power forward and shooting guard positions. Charlotte are already set at point guard and center and it seems unlikely they've given up on Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Meanwhile, Gerald Henderson appeared to have regressed last season and Josh McRoberts has peaked as a player.

While it's possible the Hornets change it up, the offense last season looked like the Hornets will be looking for a stretch player at the 4 position that can also play defense. This would open up lanes to the rim for players like MKG and a creator in the backcourt to put next to Kemba Walker. Charlotte ran a lot of sets last season with Walker off ball and a player with creation ability next to him in the back court would allow them to keep doing that. A possible idea is a dual point guard back court. It's also possible the team stays traditional and just gets a typical 3-and-D shooting guard. The 2 position is probably the Hornets most flexible option on what they can do and will most likely be the biggest thing they work on improving.

This is more of a want than an offseason need but, while searching for a power forward and shooting guard, the Hornets should be looking for a star or superstar player. It's asking a lot to demand a team gets a franchise changing player but Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson, while great players, haven't shown to be on the same level of other contenders best players. Whether it be through free agency, a trade, or Charlotte decides they can find a franchise level player with the ninth pick in the draft, they need to find a player that can give this team a legitimate chance at being a contender.

There is an alternative to getting a superstar. The Hornets could always go out this offseason, sign a bunch of lock down defenders, shooters, and try to muscle their way to the finals. The only team that's currently left standing in the NBA playoffs that lacks the same level of talent as those around them is the Pacers. Argue about Paul George's status as a superstar all you want but that team has gotten where they are because of their defense. The only team in recent memory to win a championship without a "superstar" would be the Pistons in 2004 and that was because of their defense. If the Hornets can't find a superstar to lead them to contender status then beefing up the defense to top level status would probably be the next best thing.

The bench is also a point of emphasis simply because so many of the reserves from last season will be free agents. The team has no backup point guard. Cody Zeller, Bismack Biyombo and Brendan Haywood are both under contract, so the backup frontcourt is intact, but Gary Neal and Jeff Taylor are the only two players in the backcourt under contract for next season, and Taylor's $915,243 salary is unguaranteed. Ridnour's play last season left much to be desired, so a successor to his role is necessary, and bringing back Chris Douglas-Roberts should be a goal. The frontcourt reserves also lack a reliable scoring option based on what we saw last season, so this could be an area for the front office to look at too.

No matter what direction the Hornets choose to take with the future, the primary issue the team should address this offseason will be the shooting. It was their biggest weakness during the season and the addition of it will immediately improve the team. The bench is a concern simply because much of their players from last season will be free agents. Asking for the Hornets to go from 7 seed to NBA contender in one offseason would be incredibly unfair to ask the front office and team. But the idea needs to be in the head of the team and fans that sooner or later if the team wants to make that jump, they have to do something to distinguish themselves from the pack and reach contender status. Maybe it happens this offseason or maybe it's next year. It has to happen sooner or later.

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