Thanks to one signature, this summer quickly got spicy for the Charlotte Hornets.
When Lance Stephenson finished crossing his surname’s single “t”, the Hornets instantly jumped from a fringe playoff team to a postseason lock, and the addition of the flashy wing made the draft-night add-ons of Noah Vonleh and P.J. Hairston seem significantly more substantial.The team lost a valued starter and key contributor earlier in the summer when Josh McRoberts decided to sign with the division rival Miami Heat, but the additions of Stephenson and fellow stretch-4/capable-starter Marvin Williams quickly made Charlotte faithful forget McBob’s treachery.
Defensively, the Bobcats were easily one of the best in the league, and their high-level play on that end of the court was the difference that molded them into a bona fide playoff team. What held them back from taking next step, though, was their shoddy offense.
The team had a thin bench, and while some teams like Portland and Houston make up for that with an offensively super-charged starting lineup, the Bobcats’ starters only posted 66.7 points per game, a mark good for 16th in the league. Also ranking 18th in offensive efficiency, Charlotte’s starters were collectively sub-par last season.
The bench has been upgraded, but that doesn’t mean that the first five players to suit up don’t have to improve. So, considering the addition of Stephenson to the core five, what will each starter’s respective stat line look like next year? Will the group improve as a whole?