Hey, all you basketball fans. The 2013 NBA Finals are over, but that’s no reason we can’t talk a little hoops, is it? First and foremost, our beloved franchise here in Charlotte announced last month that starting in the 2014 season it Bobcats will be renamed back to the original Charlotte Hornets. As you all know, the Hornets relocated to New Orleans in 2002 and when Charlotte was re-granted a franchise the owners went with the Bobcats. Well, now that New Orleans has dumped the Hornets name and switched to the Pelicans, we’re taking our name back.
Hopefully the name change will be the first of many good changes for the franchise. We keep hearing how our famous owner, Michael Jordan, is 100% and fully dedicated to creating a winning franchise. Although, we have yet to see much of that. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to dump on the Bobcats/Hornets, but let’s be honest. We need to start winning! Winning is fun. Losing? Not so fun.
Here are the few things to remember when it comes to enjoying a winning franchise.
Free agency over drafting. Build the team through the draft, or through free agency? There are plenty of arguments and examples of both, but free agency is a more sure bet. When you sign an established player, you know exactly what you are getting. You have seen him play in the NBA before. As it stands, Charlotte does not have the kind of roster or coaching staff that is going to make one single star want to sign here, so it will have to be multiple signings in a short period of time. A “fast and furious” type of change. Think Houston a year ago. All of sudden they acquired James Harden and Jeremy Lin and now they are in the rumor mill to acquire Dwight Howard from the Lakers.
It starts at the top. The team’s current head coach, Steve Clifford, has quite a lot of work to do. Coming off a 28-120 record over the past two seasons, there is no where else to go but up. Clifford has a boat load of assistant coaching experience, but very little time at the helm. In fact, his last head coaching gig was in 1999 at Adelphi University. At first glance, that’s probably not the most encouraging piece of information, but maybe that’s what a young team like the soon-to-be Hornets need. Think about the last few guys that lead their team to an NBA championship. Guys with the last names of Popovich, Jackson, Rivers and Riley. Although, even they had to start somewhere, so time will only tell.
Superstars. Similar to landing a marquee coach, every winning franchise needs one, and most likely two, all-out superstars. Can you get them in the draft? Yes. Can you get them in free agency? Yes. But think about the stars that became stars with their original team, guys like Lebron James, Kevin Durant or Dwyane Wade. It was expected before they were drafted that they would become stars, and they have. Draft classes have been weak in recent years.
I’ll argue that superstars are more important than coaches. Unless the coach of your team is named Phil Jackson, you absolutely need superstars. And even Jackson had some slump years with the Lakers even with Kobe Bryant. Did Erik Spoelstra win Lebron James two rings or what it the other way around? Did Rick Carlisle win Dirk Nowitzki a ring or was it the other way around? If the Hornets are to be great, remember this: We. Need. Superstars.