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ATH Mailbag: Hornets’ Crunch Time Lineup?

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Answering your questions about Kemba Walker, Malik Monk, and much more.

2018 NBA Summer League - Las Vegas - Oklahoma City Thunder v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

I am proud of how far this mailbag has come. Sure, this is only the second installment of a series that will continue all season long, but I am proud because this mailbag has been confused with Rick Bonnell’s of the Charlotte Observer by a mistaken emailer. Anyways, if you would like your question featured in next week’s Mailbag, you can email athmailbag@gmail.com (where I will respond, not Rick) or reply/DM @At_The_Hive on Twitter. Let’s get into it.

The Goal Post, @elgoalposto on Twitter, asks what the likelihood of Kemba Walker being traded is this season.

At this point, it’s not very likely that Kemba Walker is moved. It seems both Walker and the front office have mutual interest in getting another long-term deal done. If that is the case, assuming bad doesn’t go worse this season, I doubt Walker is traded, especially if there isn’t a package that involves either a lottery pick or a decent young player. Teams that may be interested in Walker include the Magic, Lakers, Nuggets, and Pelicans. All in all, it is very tough to see where Walker and the Hornets will be a year from now.

Patrick, @PatrickConnor7 on Twitter, inquires about what the Hornet’s predicted crunch time lineup is.

At The Hive actually has a very interesting lineup series coming out soon, so stay tuned for that. As for the question, James Borrego has hinted playing Kemba Walker and Tony Parker together to close games. After that, you’d have to assume Nicolas Batum is at the three. Marvin Williams would likely play the four in this scenario. Center is the biggest question on the Hornets right now, but assuming the offense in the lineup already, let’s say the Hornets play Zeller at the five.

@JAY_BZE on Twitter asks what the expected minutes are for Malik Monk going into his sophomore season for the Hornets.

James Borrego has indicated that Monk will assume the sixth man role, stating that Monk can come in on fire for stretches of a game. Right now, anywhere from 18-25 minutes sounds about right for Monk. Although, it will be interesting to see who gets minutes on the wings. Charlotte has somewhat of a logjam right now with Batum, MKG, Bacon, Bridges, Monk, and Lamb all expecting some sort of time on the court.

Ian, @prosephstalin on Twitter, asks if the playoffs are an expectation going into Borrego’s first season.

I wouldn’t say that is the expectation. While it certainly would be an added bonus, the Hornets will be in a tier of teams that are scratching for a playoff spot. Other teams in that range will include the Wizards, Nets, Heat, and possibly even the Cavaliers if they outperform expectations. If they can manage to outperform others, a playoff spot could happen. However, it shouldn’t be expected, especially since this Hornets team is coming off two straight 36 win seasons.

Noah Purser, @PurserNBA on Twitter, presents a scenario:

A team approaches you and offers you an irresistible offer for EITHER Miles Bridges OR Malik Monk. Which one are you trading?

He attached a poll where 97 people voted. 65 percent said Bridges.

I would also trade Bridges in this hypothetical situation. It’s not that Bridges isn’t good or exciting. He is plenty exciting and is a very pro-ready player out of college. But if there is another player that could be a star that is currently on the roster, it’s Malik Monk. His athleticism and 3-point shooting ability are off the charts. Monk was electric toward the end of last season, and even in the first game of Summer League play this year. If he can continue on his momentum, Monk may have been a steal with the 11th overall pick in 2017.