Great teams are built on superstars. Legendary organizations are built on culture. The very best organizations rarely spend too much time rebuilding or at the top of the NBA Draft Lottery is because they’ve instilled in themselves a culture and plan they stick to. It doesn’t matter what players or coaches they bring in, at the end of the day there’s a plan and that plan is going to be followed.
Creating a culture that sticks is hard. It’s a lot of time, work, and luck. The Hornets have spent the last decade plus of time trying to install one. Between multiple owners, a brand change, front office changes, coach changes, and more, finding consistency in Charlotte has been nearly impossible. However, right now, they have one constant and that’s Kemba Walker. The Hornets guard continues to improve on a yearly basis and has proven that he is a superstar level talent to be reckoned with in the league. He is also a piece the Hornets can’t afford to lose.
Nobody impacts a team quite like Kemba Walker does. When Walker is on the floor, the Hornets have a net rating of 4.8. When he sits on the bench it falls to .4. Nobody in Charlotte has that kind of individual impact. The second best player on the Hornets is a toss up between a very good but not great center in Cody Zeller or the extremely inconsistent Nicolas Batum. His ability on the basketball court speaks for itself.
Walker is going to be a free agent at the end of this season. What Charlotte decides to do with him could impact its future for years to come. If the choose to let Walker go and do a hard reset, the Hornets could very well find another superstar and establish a culture later on. Many teams have done it in the past. From a basketball perspective that might be what’s best for the Hornets, because they don’t want to risk wasting Walker’s career while sitting in mediocrity, never being able to acquire that potential generational talent.