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Charlotte Hornets 2015-2016 SB Nation season preview remix

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So with yesterday's big news the previous season preview was severely outdated. The only thing left to do was a remix.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday's Michael Kidd-Gilchrist news left our previous season preview feeling outdated, and inaccurate. Here's a remix to fix that.

Team Name: Charlotte Hornets

Last Year's Record: 33-49

Key Losses: Bismack Biyombo, Gerald Henderson, Noah Vonleh, Lance Stephenson, Mo Williams

Key Additions: Frank Kaminsky, Nicolas Batum, Spencer Hawes, Jeremy Lamb, Jeremy Lin, Tyler Hansbrough

Key Injuries: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

1. What Significant Moves were made during the off-season?

Besides literally everything the team did? The Hornets were clearly not thrilled with last year's results, and they decided an entire roster overhaul was necessary to fix the messes they had created. The Lance Stephenson experiment was a clear failure, and the team acknowledged that immediately. However, they didn't give up on their goal of obtaining a second creator, to take the load off Kemba Walker, and traded away a promising young prospect in Noah Vonleh for the talents of Nicolas Batum. Nobody knows for sure if this will all work, but you can't say the front office isn't trying.

2. What are the team's biggest strengths?

Defense has been the name of the game for Charlotte ever since Steve Clifford came to town, and this season should be no different. The Hornets have been a top 10 defense the last two years, and this season they have the potential to be in the top five. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist anchors it all, being the second best perimeter defender in the NBA, and the addition of Batum makes it that much better. Throw in Kemba Walker's usually smart defending, with his ability to fly in for steals or blocks, and this team's perimeter is going to be one of the hardest to penetrate in the NBA.

Due to the Michael Kidd-Gilchrist injury everything has changed. The Hornets are no longer the dominant defensive team they were in years past, and that's because MKG was their anchor. Without him, the team lacks a key piece to their identity, and that defense just isn't going to be as great without him. It's hard to find a strength in this team, but they've shown in the past the ability to grind out a game for wins. It might be painful to watch at times, but it won't be surprising if Steve Clifford slows down the pace in an attempt to keep their defense at a high level.

They also have a GREAT color scheme.

3. What are the team's biggest weaknesses?

Shooting, as always, is Charlotte's biggest question entering the season. They've tried to improve it with the addition of guys like Jeremy Lamb, Frank Kaminsky, Batum, and Spencer Hawes, but there still isn't any guarantees they'll be any better from behind the arc this season. If Charlotte once again can't hit the three ball then the Hornets offense is going to struggle just as much as it did last season.

4. What are the goals for this team?

This year's goal is to just get to the playoffs. With the rising cap, and changing NBA landscape, nobody is quite sure how Charlotte's overall future will pan out. The team looks like they have a plan of some sort for the long term, but this summer's moves of acquiring talent was a clear indication that it's playoffs or bust this season. They were a popular pick to make it last season, and two straight seasons missing out could cause more than just roster changes.

Just survive. Without Kidd-Gilchrist the chances of Charlotte making the playoffs is much less likely compared to other playoff hopefuls such as Detroit or Boston. That said, they shouldn't tank away the season, or just give up on it. They need to convince Nicolas Batum to re-sign, and a year of tanking will surely drive away the player they gave up so much for.

5. Is Steve Clifford on the hot seat?

It feels insane to have to answer this question, but no Clifford is not on the hot seat with this front office. He's only been around two years, and has made some serious progress for a franchise that couldn't get out of their own way in the previous decade. However, another year of failed expectations and his seat might begin to get a little warm. Especially...

Is it really fair to put Clifford on the hot seat in a season where he just lost arguably his most important player? His seat might be warm by just a smidgen, but the idea of them firing him at this point just sounds insane, unless the roster somehow only wins 25 games. Which hey, weirder stuff has happened, but Clifford being fired feels crazy.

6. Is the front office on the hot seat?

Clifford's job is safe as long as Rich Cho is in charge of what's going on upstairs. That said, team owner Michael Jordan is notoriously impatient and nobody is really sure what Rich Cho's standing with him is right now. The team hasn't drafted well, and failed expectations could cause Jordan to choose a different direction. That said, it wouldn't really be fair to remove the same front office that had to spend two years getting out all the garbage Larry Brown left them, and has really only had two actual offseasons to work with. Don't forget, the 2013 squad that made the playoffs was a surprise team, and that was the offseason that officially pushed the franchise towards a more playoff minded approach.

Well this just got a lot more interesting. The Hornets offseason was one that many people had questions about, but it looked like they were forgoing the future for a season to make a playoff run. A lot of contracts are coming off the books soon, and with the rising cap they should be coming into a lot of spending money next season. However, MKG's injury changes everything, and previous decisions such as taking an NBA ready Frank Kaminsky over the potential in Justise Winslow, trading Noah Vonleh for an expiring Nicolas Batum, and signing peaked out veterans could make the front office look bad. If this season is a disaster, and it very likely could be, then changes could be on the horizon.

7. Is this the year Michael Kidd-Gilchrist breaks out?
7. How will the Hornets respond without Michael Kidd-Gilchrist?

Finally this question can start to be asked. It's felt like ever since the day MKG was drafted Charlotte fans have been waiting to move expectations away from "Can he be more than a role player?" to "Can he be the face of the franchise?". After last year's season where MKG proved just how important he is, we can actually begin to look at his ceiling as a player.

Really, what depends on if MKG has a breakout season this year, or any year for that matter, is his evolving offensive game. He's an incredible finisher at the rim, and has shown the ability to get there when he has space. The problem is that he's never been able to get around his defenders due to how they would lean off of him to force Kidd-Gilchrist to take jumpshots. Last year however, MKG showcased an improved jumper, and how consistent that jumper becomes will define him as a player. If Kidd-Gilchrist comes into this year willingly puling up for jumpshots, and forcing defenders to acclimate to it, then he completely changes how the Hornets play basketball. That said, his jumpshot still probably won't be consistent enough this season for him to do that. Maybe next year.

This is going to be really tough. The Hornets lost their defensive anchor, arguably their best player, and easily their most important player. Everybody knows what MKG brought to this team, and the team's identity was built around it. Without him they're going to struggle, but Steve Clifford is smart and will find ways to adjust.

The Hornets will likely move Batum over to the three, and put a three point shooter at the two spot. The extra points will hopefully make up for the expected drop on defense. On offense, it should be more of the same, but most likely at a much slower pace. The best way for the Hornets to keep their defense at a top level is to slow the game down, and grind it out. They can still do this while increasing their 3-point shooting, but they'll need to get creative. Either way, expect the team to struggle this year.

8. What's the deal with Kemba Walker?

Kemba Walker is playing arguably the most important season of his basketball career. His entire time in Charlotte so far has been spent with teams that relied on him to shoot the ball at a high volume. This year, with guys like Al Jefferson and Nicolas Batum, Walker shouldn't be relied on to shoot and create as much. Considering he has only once, in his entire career, shot over 40 percent from the field perhaps he should reduce the amount of shoots. Luckily, this is arguably the best team he's ever played with, and a drop in shot attempts should be expected. Walker needs to play well this season, and play more efficiently, or the Hornets might decide that he's not a part of their future plans.

Unfortunately, Walker lost Kidd-Gilchrist, and this makes his life on the perimeter much more difficult. The Hornets philosophy on defense has been to not double or help too much on the perimeter, but rather focus on helping on inside to make up for their lack of rim protection. A huge part of why this has been effective was due to how good Kidd-Gilchrist is. Without that security blanket next to him, Walker is going to have a very difficult time on the defensive end. He's a smart defender, but he's naturally going to struggle due to his size. Walker will do his best, but his weaknesses on that end are going to be put under a magnifying glass this season.