This has been a horrible season so far. A 10 game losing streak, a total regression from last year on both sides of the ball, and a lot of injuries. Nothing seems to be going Charlotte's way early on and it's causing a lot of fans to become very negative.
One thing everybody needs to remember is that most of them have been through disappointing seasons before. They know how to handle losing streaks, bad losses, and a lack of hope when it comes to the win column. When this happens there is only one thing to do, look at the positives and have some fun! While this horrible season has been going on, there have been some really amazing highlights, and a few players are really impressing everybody.
The emergence of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Before his injury, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was everything Charlotte fans wanted him to be. His defense had gotten even better thanks to a few years of NBA experience, and his jump shot appeared to finally be fixed. It wasn't a perfect shot, but it looked loads better than what it previously was. However, what had to be the most important change of all was MKG's aggressiveness. Gone was the passive wing man from the past two years, and here was this new MKG. One that attacks the basket and pulls up for his jump shot with confidence. Come back soon MKG, we can't wait to see what you have for us next.
Gary Neal's hands of fire
While many felt that we were only waiting for MKG to have his inevitable improvement, a player that was a bit of surprise was Gary Neal. Acquired in a mid season trade last year, Neal was expected to provide spacing and three point shooting. What caught everybody off guard was Neal playing like a 6th man of the year candidate. While he's been gunning, Neal's been hitting shots, spacing the floor, and providing a huge spark off the bench. With the struggles of the offense this year, his contributions have been very valuable.
Cody Zeller's solid sophomore start
For a lot of sophomores that have good rookie years there can be a regression, due to increased expectations. For Zeller, that has not been the case. Not only is he providing his usual energy with rebounds, cuts, and dunks but there's been an increase in other areas as well. For starters, Zeller is crisp on rotations, using his speed and athleticism to play some solid defense. Bigger and stronger defenders still cause problems, but Zeller's main skill of providing help defense has been very valuable. On offense, Zeller is providing another layer of floor spacing, taking, and making, a handful of long two's every game. Zeller's been spending a lot of time helping the second unit, but with how well he's playing it's hard to not see him entering the starting lineup soon.
The Hornets have had quite a few game winner this year despite the lack of wins, three in particular were very memorable.
This Lance Stephenson game winner was incredibly exciting. It came at the end of a back and forth effort that felt like it was going to go on forever. The Hornets offense had been struggling the last few games, and this night was no different. It felt like triple overtime was all but assured, Stephenson had other plans.
It was opening night and the Hornets weren't exactly bringing the buzz back the way they wanted. Charlotte came out of the gates sluggish, and it looked like they were gonna get blown out on opening night. The team stormed back but still needed a shot to tie the game. Kemba Walker delievered, sending the Hornets to overtime with a pull up 3-pointer in transition. Of course, the folks of Charlotte wanted an encore, and Kemba delivered, giving them a game winner in over time. That step back of Walker's just looks so damn good.
Of course, as the season went on, the Hornets were going to need even more game winners. Charlotte's inability to close out games has cost them more games than any NBA team would ever be comfortable with. Last night's game against the Knicks looked like more of the same, but Kemba Walker came through with an incredible layup at the end. This game winner is my personal favorite because you can really see the weight of the losing streak coming off the players shoulders.
While the Hornets have been losing a lot they've still managed to be pretty fun. They've had quite a handful of highlights this year that have gotten NBA fans everywhere buzzing.
Sticking with Kemba Walker, he had this nasty crossover on Nicola Mirotic the other night. Walker is worth a good cross up every once in awhile but this might be the dirtiest thing he's ever done. Get some ice Mirotic you're gonna need it.
That same night, Cody Zeller decided to get in on the highlight fun by putting Bulls big man Pau Gasol on a poster. Lets be honest here, it's pretty shocking that Gasol didn't immediately retire at the end of the game.
Rounding out the highlights is Biyombo completing a pretty incredible alley-oop. Lance Stephenson puts the pass in a place that only Biyombo can get to. The crazy athletic big man had no problem reaching the pass, jumping to a height the average NBA player can't reach, and slamming it home.
Lance Stephenson the meme
While everything mentioned before has just been pure fun, the transformation of Lance Stephenson into a meme is outright hilarious. First, he slid into our DM's.
and then he slapped himself in the face.
While the Hornets season has given Hornets fans more reasons to be angry or depressed about the team not meeting expectations, they just need to remember. The NBA is fun, while everything doesn't always work out, we'll always have something to get excited about, or laugh at. So smile Hornets fans, it's okay to sit back and enjoy the high moments rather than focusing on the low ones.