About this time last year, I found myself writing eerily similar articles to the ones I have been writing about the Charlotte Hornets in 2018. Those articles included subjects like tanking, draft predictions in March, and what free agents would suit the team best.
Well, after a whole year, I am doomed to write about the exact same thing. The Charlotte Hornets are just about as God-awful as a team can get, posting a 23-33 record with just a week to go before the All-Star break. They can’t shoot, they can’t rebound, they can’t play defense, they can’t set screens, and they definitely cannot score.
While everyone is likely looking to next season, there is one big component of the team that really should not change; Dwight Howard.
Howard has been nothing short of a miracle for the Hornets this year, being the only other player other than All-Star point guard Kemba Walker to play on a consistent and effective level. He is having one of his best seasons in the past five years and can absolutely help the team bounce back next year if they get better.
The true NBA center had a tremendous winter season that defined him among one of the best current players at the position. Dating back to January 2, Howard has recorded 10 or more rebounds in 17 out of 20 games in that stretch. To make this stat even more jaw-dropping, Howard posted a double-double in exactly 17 of these 20 games as well, giving him 35 total on the season. The only players to have more double-doubles in that stretch are Andre Drummond and Karl-Anthony Towns, who are both under 25-year-old.
For a 32-year-old, it is incredible to see this kind of performance from the big man. He puts butts in seats and brings a much more energetic crowd to the Spectrum Center. Like I said earlier, nobody other than Kemba gets the crowd into the game. Dwight is loving Charlotte and the city is giving it right back. He wants to be a part of this “re-build” so I say let him.
If Dwayne Bacon and Malik Monk can develop in addition to some roster moves over the offseason, Howard could continue to be a cornerstone of the offense and defense for a potentially dangerous team. Howard was in the recent trade-deadline rumors than ultimately transpired to nothing, but luckily stayed put. His expensive contract was cited as the reason for a potential trade, but he has been worth all the money.
He has one more year on his contract and is set to make a tad south of $24 million. If Charlotte can manage to get rid of some of the other bounding contracts on the team (Nicolas Batum or Michael-Kidd Gilchrist), that pretty penny would be worth it for Dwight.
As we persevere through the rest of this wretched season, all I wish is that the team keeps Dwight and Kemba, as this franchise would run straight into the dumpster if they were to leave.
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