Charlotte Hornets offseason in review and matchups with Pistons

DETROIT, MI - FEBRUARY 23: Marvin Williams
DETROIT, MI - FEBRUARY 23: Marvin Williams /

The Charlotte Hornets have a chance to find themselves back in the playoffs after a one-year hiatus. How will the Detroit Pistons fare against them?

Coming into the 2016-17 season, there were high hopes for the Charlotte Hornets after finishing with 48 wins the previous year. But, a 7-19 record in January and February proved to be too much to recover from. “Buzz City” finished 36-46, one game behind the Detroit Pistons.

That one game difference proved to be important, as it allowed Charlotte to select Malik Monk with the 11th pick in the NBA Draft after he unexpectedly slipped out of the top ten. This left Detroit with Luke Kennard at pick 12.

Charlotte also made another big splash, trading Miles Plumlee and Marco Belinelli for Dwight Howard. Howard has struggled to stick with a team since his stint in Orlando with Stan Van Gundy, but Charlotte hopes that one last change of scenery could help him. Now, let’s take a look at how the Pistons match up.


One bright spot for Charlotte was the emergence of Kemba Walker, who became an All-Star for the first time in his career. Avery Bradley will likely draw Walker defensively, leaving Reggie Jackson to defend 6’8″ Nicolas Batum. On paper, this could expose a mismatch on the defensive end for Detroit. However, in games last year where both Jackson and Batum started, Batum shot just 31.4 percent from the field.  Overall, neither team has a big backcourt advantage over the other.

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Charlotte will feature Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marvin Williams alongside Dwight Howard up front. Meanwhile, Detroit will counter with Tobias Harris, either Stanley Johnson or Jon Leuer, and Andre Drummond. In 8 career games against each other, Drummond has averaged 14.1 points and 12.5 rebounds per game, while Howard has averaged 13 PPG and 8.8 RPG. Furthermore, since Howard is showing signs of regression, Detroit looks to have a slight advantage overall in the frontcourt.


Charlotte’s bench is highlighted by new faces in Monk and Michael Carter-Williams, alongside returnees Frank Kaminsky, Cody Zeller, and Jeremy Lamb. The success of this unit will depend on whether Carter-Williams can be effective after disappointments in Milwaukee and Chicago. Meanwhile, Detroit features plenty of moving parts on its bench, led by Ish Smith and either Leuer or Johnson. Look for the Pistons’ experience to make a difference when matching up with Charlotte’s incredibly youthful unit (no players over age 25).

Next: Andre Drummond’s 2017-18 season outlook for the Pistons

Overall, these two teams are fairly evenly matched, and both have a chance to return to the playoffs this year. We’ll get an early look at Charlotte, as the first preseason game and the first regular season game at Little Caesars Arena both feature the Hornets coming to town.