Coming off the first playoff appearance since 2010 and turning the page on some miserable years, Charlotte now has new hope — and a new old nickname. The Charlotte Hornets have rediscovered their sting and are for real. Guided a year ago by first-year coach Steve Clifford, Charlotte restructured its entire defensive system, and along with star big man Al Jefferson saw its win total spike from 21 all the way to 43. According to analyst David Locke, the Hornets shaved off
Before Bruce Levenson’s infamous email and Danny Ferry’s infamous scouting recital, the Atlanta Hawks were actually one of the quietest teams in the NBA this offseason. In the face of one of the most active transaction cycles in NBA history, Atlanta’s limited action in free agency was by design. General sentiment within the organization was – and remains – that the team will take an important leap forward as long as they remain healthy. After all, before center Al Horford tore his right pectoral –
Last season began with championship expectations for the Brooklyn Nets, thanks to the headline additions of three future Hall of Fame stars: Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce on the court, and Jason Kidd on the sidelines. However – less than a year later – Kidd has burned his Brooklyn bridge with the Nets, Pierce signed with the Wizards this summer and Garnett is coming off the worst statistical season of his career. Furthermore, key role players such as Shaun Livingston, Andray Blatche
It’s the dawn of a new era for the Milwaukee Bucks, with new ownership at the helm, a new coach on the sidelines, and (hopefully) a new approach to building a championship-caliber team. The Bucks have really gone through the ringer over the past year, enduring a franchise-worst 15-67 season and a messy coaching change, yet fans might be as hopeful as ever. If anything, that just goes to show how maddening the status quo had become, but the optimism isn’t unfounded.
There has been a lot of movement and change in the Eastern Conference this offseason, enough so that the Chicago Bulls have emerged as challengers for the NBA title with a healthy Derrick Rose and an added big man in Pau Gasol. The Cleveland Cavaliers now hold Vegas’ highest odds to win the coveted Larry O’Brien trophy, having reeled in hometown hero LeBron James and All-Star power forward Kevin Love. The Charlotte Hornets are also getting consideration as a challenger in
The Miami Heat had an offseason that gave fans numerous swings of emotion. The best player in the league, LeBron James, left for Cleveland as a free agent. But that same week, Chris Bosh turned down an offer to join James Harden and Dwight Howard in Houston and agreed to sign a maximum-level contract with the Heat. Pat Riley then quickly assembled a new team with several new players – Luol Deng, Josh McRoberts, Danny Granger and Shannon Brown, just
Nice how things change so drastically and so quickly in the NBA. In the season preview that I wrote about the Cleveland Cavaliers one year ago, the five things to watch included Andrew Bynum, Anthony Bennett and Mike Brown’s defensive schemes. Obviously, things have changed dramatically as the Cavs head into the 2014-15 season. With a mere 952 words in Sports Illustrated back in July after Chris Sheridan broke the story two days earlier, LeBron James single-handedly changed the direction – and
The Detroit Pistons are in another rebuilding phase, with longtime president Joe Dumars out and Stan Van Gundy taking over both as chief executive and coach. He inherits a roster that remains largely intact, with the addition of some much needed 3-point shooting. Brandon Jennings, Josh Smith, Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe are all back. Jennings and Smith are either untradeable or Van Gundy isn’t interested in selling low, while Monroe took the somewhat unprecedented step of spurning long-term contract offers