As the month of March plays out its final days, there only two and a half weeks left of the NBA regular season. It's not every year we get to sit here and discuss a playoff team, but this year's team may be the best yet since the revitalization of Charlotte basketball. As of today, the Charlotte Hornets sit in the sixth spot of the Eastern Conference standings, but are only two games shy, if you count the tiebreaker loss to the Atlanta Hawks, of being in third.
The Hornets have three games on the docket this week with an away-and-home set against the Philadelphia 76ers, and then travel to Cleveland to play the Cavaliers on Sunday. To get you started for this week's action, here are your links:
Let's start with an article from Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post, who writes how the NBA must remove the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte if the state of North Carolina doesn't change its recent legislation decision. The recent legislation, which discriminates against the LGBT community, has caused a lot of people to believe the All-Star game in 2017 will be removed from Charlotte. While basketball is one of the last concerns regarding this legislation, it's clear many large organizations including the NBA, have strong disagreements regarding the decision. Bontemps writes why the game should be removed, while also stating the future impacts this decision could have on North Carolina. The state is scheduled to host multiple major sporting events over the next three years.
As a follow up, the Hornets released a statement regarding North Carolina's legislation decision shown in a video here by Time Warner Cable News. It's clear both the Hornets and the NBA stand by each other and are against the legislature. Both the Hornets and the NBA have issued statements ensuring they are against any sort of discrimination and want to make their fans and employees feel comfortable and safe around the organization.
Our third link comes from Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer and discusses the discovery of Cody Zeller's true NBA position. Zeller, in his third year in the NBA, has had his ups and downs in terms of progress and play. However, over the course of this season, the Hornets have finally discovered that he belongs as an NBA center. Thanks to Big Al's injury, Zeller was able to show off his versatility at the five-spot, and has become a dangerous hybrid to be reckoned with. Although Zeller may not have fit the bill of an NBA center in the 1980's or 1990's, his speed and skill set has garnered a lot of attention over the past couple of months, and there's no doubt it's where he'll play for most of his career. In addition to finding his true position, Hornets fans have to be excited there's newfound potential for the big man.
The next link comes from ESPN's Michael Wallace, who wrote about how the Hornets have transformed themselves into a force in the Eastern Conference. This article covers nearly everything you want to know about the Hornets' season thus far. Wallace discusses the rough start and what it's taken to find a winning recipe in the East. Ironically enough, the Hornets are the only team in the league with both a seven game losing streak and a seven game winning streak. Additionally, Wallace compares the Hornets to a poor man's Golden State Warriors, and emphasizes the roles of Marvin Williams, Al Jefferson and Cody Zeller. If you are looking for some excitement regarding the Hornets push to the playoffs, read this.
Lastly, our final link comes from Dennis Varney of the Lexington Herald Leader regarding Hornets rookie Aaron Harrison, who scored a season-high 34 points in the NBA D-League on Saturday night. Harrison, who is playing for the Erie BayHawks, has averaged 19.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.8 assists over six games. Although Harrison won't be much of a factor for the Hornets in the playoffs this year, it is uplifting to see young player progress. The undrafted rookie will likely be one of the major focuses heading into this year's summer league circuit.