There is arguably no team whose roster underwent a bigger offseason overhaul than the Charlotte Hornets. With pressure increasing on general manager Rich Cho, he added seven new pieces to the Hornets' 15-man roster, giving Steve Clifford the outside threats and ballhandlers the coach asked for a year prior.
Sure, we are only seven games into the 82-game regular season, but how have these new pieces looked so far in purple and teal? Who has been the best of the new additions?
7. Aaron Harrison
It is unfair to judge Harrison, since he has yet to official suit up for a game for the team. He has looked good in all his suits though, so he has that going for him.
6. Tyler Hansbrough
Remember when the Hornets announced the signing of the former Tar Heel superstar and the Internet lost their minds over it? So far, the overreaction has been all for nothing, as Hansbrough has only seen playing time near the end of blowouts. In three games, he has recorded six points and three rebounds in 14 minutes.
5. Frank Kaminsky
Clifford does not seem to like playing rookies often, at least early in the season or until they understand their defensive responsibilities — just look at Noah Vonleh last season. Such seems to be the case early on with the team's first round draft pick, though to a lesser extent. Kaminsky has played in all seven games this season, but has played double-digit minutes just twice. He has shown some potential though — he is shooting 71.4 percent from 3, which would be best in the league if he qualified.
4. Spencer Hawes
Hawes may be ranked above Kaminsky, but he is not very far ahead of him. Hawes is, on averaging, playing twice as many minutes per game as the rookie from Wisconsin. He has yet to show the consistent range that made him a threat in Philadelphia, which is helping make him an offensive liability at times. His Offensive Rating so far is 84 — third-worst on the team, ahead of only Brian Roberts and Troy Daniels. But his defense has been his strength so far, and the reason he is seeing the playing time he is. His Defensive Rating is tied for fourth on the team, while his Defensive Box Plus/Minus is tied for third on the team.
3. Jeremy Lin
Lin's signing was greeted with either excitement or dread. But what cannot be argued is what Lin has brought the team off the bench. Gone are the days of Linsanity. Here now are the days of Jeremy Lin, one of the 'Two Jeremys' that have helped give Charlotte one of the best benches the franchise has had in years. He is now the linchpin of the second unit who regularly finishes games with the starters. His ability to run the point and play off the ball is vital, especially when playing on the floor with Kemba Walker and/or Nicolas Batum. His defense can still be considered a liability by some, but his offensive numbers early in the season make up for it.
2. Nicolas Batum
Cho took a big risk when he traded away Gerald Henderson and Vonleh away for the versatile Frenchman coming off an off season and with one year left on his contract. But, so far, the move has paid great dividends. He has seamlessly transitioned into the team's secondary ballhandler, allowing Kemba Walker to play more off the ball and not have to make plays by himself as often, which is leading to Walker having better shooting numbers. With the injury to Michael Kidd-Glchrist, he has become the Hornets' shutdown defender. His 95.7 percent shooting from the free throw line is fourth-best in the league. The only major downside to Batum's play so far has been his turnovers (averaging 3.1 turnovers per game).
1. Jeremy Lamb
There should be no surprise here. Lamb has been the biggest surprise for the Hornets and has to be considered one of the biggest surprises in the early NBA season. He is playing, to put it bluntly, out of his mind. His current field goal percentage (58.6 percent) is higher than Al Jefferson's. In fact, it is the 10-best in all the NBA. It only gets better from there — his 2-point percentage (66.7 percent) is fourth-best in the association, his 3-point percentage (45.5 percent) is 15th-best, his effective shooting percentage (67.2 percent) is fourth-best and his true shooting percentage (65.7 percent) is seventh-best. His PER is among the top 15 in the league, and offensive rating is in the top 20. The question now remains how long can Lamb keep his hot start up?