2017-2018 Record: 36-46 (10th in the Eastern Conference)
Players Added: Tony Parker (free agency), Miles Bridges (draft), Devonte Graham (draft), Bismack Biyombo (trade)
Players Lost: Dwight Howard (trade), Michael Carter-Williams (left via free agency), Treveon Graham (free agency), Julyan Stone (free agency)
Projected Team MVP: Kemba Walker
If you expected any other name, I don’t know what to tell you. Walker’s been the best Charlotte Hornet since the 2013-14 season, when Al Jefferson made third-team All-NBA at center. With Kyrie Irving proclaiming that he’s staying in Boston, Walker figures to be the top point guard on the market when free agency hits next July, meaning that how well this team performs around him could determine whether or not he’ll leave the Queen City.
Walker’s numbers took a dip in 2017-18. Whether that’s because the paint was clogged due to Dwight Howard or because of general struggles by the other 11 guys on the roster is unknown. New head coach James Borrego has the team taking 33 shots per game from downtown during the preseason, six more than they took in the average game last season. That should open up the paint a bit more for Walker as he hopes to show off the floater that he’s been working on all summer. If all goes well and his numbers pick back up, he’ll reinforce why he deserves a big payday next summer, whether that’s from the Hornets or someone else.