The Charlotte Hornets have one glaring need on their roster - a center.
With Cody Zeller and Bismack Biyombo splitting those duties last season, an upgrade is long overdue. Neither of those two is necessarily bad, but with the current youth movement, more long-term solutions should be explored.
James Plowright detailed a bunch of these options in his recent series of articles. He went over all the different paths the Hornets could take in order to acquire a new center. This included both via trade and free agency.
Well, as those dates rapidly approach, fans are eager to see what the organization decides to do. Popular names such as Richaun Holmes and Myles Turner have emerged from the pack, but realistically there are too many options to keep track of.
Since the overall goal is to find a center to pair with LaMelo Ball for the future, targets should be on the younger side. While a deal for Tristan Thompson or Marc Gasol could provide a short-term fix, it doesn’t help Charlotte in the long run.
All this in mind, the goal for the Hornets should be to find the cheapest option with the highest upside. This means a young big man with the potential to develop into something great.
While this may sound like a very niche player, there are actually a few guys around the league who fit the bill. James covered the majority of them in his series, but why not dive even deeper?
Who are the centers around the league with the highest upside. Better yet, who could the Hornets get for relatively cheap this offseason?
Marvin Bagley III
Marvin Bagley’s relationship with the Kings is in the gutter at the moment. He recently liked a Tweet that referenced the need to “get Bagley out of Sacramento.” It’s just not a great look at all.
So, with the Kings more likely to move Bagley now than ever, the Hornets should pounce at the opportunity. His value is lower than it will ever be, and he could realistically be the perfect center to take a chance on.
Although he is often listed as a power forward, Bagley thrives at the center position. In reality, he has spent half of his time with the Kings playing the five.
He put up solid numbers this past season, and hit career-high numbers in terms of efficiency. He averaged 14.1 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.0 assists. Bagley shot 50.4% from the field and 34.3% from deep.
Bagley is the perfect example of a player who could thrive if given a change of scenery. Better yet, with his value being so low, the Hornets might not have to give up a ton to get him.
The only issue is that the Kings are in desperate need of a big man. With Richaun Holmes entering free agency, they could do everything possible to keep Bagley on board.
The name that most Hornets fans have picked out of the group as the odds-on favorite. His playstyle fits in perfectly with what Charlotte wants to build for the future, and he’s only 25-years-old.
Myles Turner provides the perfect mix of defense and shooting. He led the league in blocks last season (3.4) and has shown the ability to be a solid shooter from deep.
There have been concerns within the Indiana Pacers organization that he and Domantas Sabonis don’t play well together. These rumors culminated last year when it was rumored that the Pacers tried to deal him for Gordon Hayward. Assuming not much has changed on that front, they should be open to trading him still.
Adding Turner to the roster would set up Charlotte beautifully for the future, and right now. It creates a starting lineup of LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, Gordon Hayward, PJ Washington, and Turner, with Decnote’ Graham and Miles Bridges coming off the bench.
He would also help fix some of Charlotte’s defensive issues. The Hornets allowed opponents to shoot 64.5% in the restricted area last season. Meanwhile, the Pacers only allowed opponents to shoot 61.3% (tied for second-best in the NBA).
Trading for Turner would be a dream come true for lots of Hornets fans. It’s just a matter of how much the Pacers ask for, and whether or not Mitch Kupchak is willing to pull the trigger.
There’s no secret that the Hornets’ biggest issue is on the defensive side of the ball. This move would see them bring in a young player who thrives on that end of the floor.
He averaged 3.7 blocks in his one year with the Longhorns. This in addition to his insane wingspan and freakish length gave fans high hopes. Unfortunately, not everything went according to plan with the Magic.
Bamba found himself playing under a head coach (Steve Clifford) who valued winning over everything, and often prioritized playing veterans over young talent. This left Bamba on the bench and struggling to find consistent minutes.
He has only started six games throughout his first three seasons. At first he was backing up Nikola Vucevic and now sits behind Wendell Carter Jr. in the rotation.
Despite this, his numbers still look solid. He averaged 8.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks this season. Per 36 minutes, that translates to 18.2 points, 13.2 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks. He shot 47.2% from the field and 32.2% from deep.
If given the opportunity, he could thrive as a starter in the NBA. Better yet, his ability to stretch the floor and protect the paint make him an ideal pairing next to LaMelo Ball. Think of him as a low-risk, high-reward Myles Turner.