Charlotte Hornets

Meet the Charlotte Hornets

The Charlotte Hornets’ Kemba Walker (left) and Nic Batum will again be primary facilitators in the team’s offense.
The Charlotte Hornets’ Kemba Walker (left) and Nic Batum will again be primary facilitators in the team’s offense. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

Observer NBA writer Rick Bonnell's player-by-player analysis of the 2016-17 Charlotte Hornets.

No. 5 NIC BATUM

Position: Guard-forward

Season: 9th

Ht/Wt: 6-8, 200

Strength of his game: Coach Steve Clifford turned orchestrating the offense over to him during Batum’s first season as a Hornet. He’s a fill-the-box score guy, with solid numbers in points, rebounds and assists.

No. 21 MARCO BELINELLI

Position: Guard-forward

Season: 10th

Ht/Wt: 6-5, 210

Strength of his game: The Hornets lost a lot of offense off last season’s roster. The team traded for Belinelli to be a bench scorer with some passing skills. His 3-point percentage this season could be telling.

No. 12 TREVEON GRAHAM

Position: Forward

Season: 1st

Ht/Wt: 6-5, 219

Strength of his game: Clifford would like an extra forward with a strong background in defense. Graham was a college power forward who is working to extend his shooting range.

No. 9 AARON HARRISON

Position: Guard

Season: 2nd

Ht/Wt: 6-6, 212

Strength of his game: The Hornets like Harrison’s length at either guard position. He is slowly improving his shooting range, which was a factor in his not being selected in the 2015 draft.

No. 00 SPENCER HAWES

Position: Center

Season: 9th

Ht/Wt: 7-1, 245

Strength of his game: Hawes is a reserve center with 3-point shooting range and good passing skills. He will have a more prominent role initially because of Cody Zeller’s bone bruise in his right knee.

No. 55 ROY HIBBERT

Position: Center

Season: 9th

Ht/Wt: 7-2, 270

Strength of his game: In his prime, Hibbert was an All-Star and candidate for NBA Defensive Player of the Year. He can still be a strong rim protector, something the Hornets lacked last season, particularly in the playoff matchup with the Miami Heat.

No. 44 FRANK KAMINSKY

Position: Forward-center

Season: 2nd

Ht/Wt: 7-0, 242

Strength of his game: Kaminsky is an accomplished scorer, in the post and along the perimeter. He is still working on his defensive impact catching up to what he provides offensively because NBA power forwards have to cover so much ground.

No. 14 MICHAEL KIDD-GILCHRIST

Position: Small forward

Season: 5th

Ht/Wt: 6-7, 232

Strength of his game: He calls himself the Hornets’ middle linebacker, and that’s not inaccurate. His ability to guard a wide spectrum of NBA scorers and his energy and intensity are key, so long as he can stay healthy.

No. 3 JEREMY LAMB

Position: Guard-forward

Season: 5th

Ht/Wt: 6-5, 185

Strength of his game: He is offensively skilled, as a long-range shooter and a sometimes-spectacular finisher at the rim. Clifford says what he needs most from Lamb is sustained consistency.

No. 22 BRIAN ROBERTS

Position: Point guard

Season: 5th

Ht/Wt: 6-1, 173

Strength of his game: He’s a reliable, low-mistake third option at point guard. He knows Clifford’s system offensively and defensively and is a committed practice player with considerable NBA experience.

No. 7 RAMON SESSIONS

Position: Point guard

Season: 10th

Ht/Wt: 6-3, 190

Strength of his game: He’s an experienced point guard with a knack for getting to the foul line. This is his second stint in Charlotte, so he already knows what Clifford needs from him as Kemba Walker’s primary backup.

No. 15 KEMBA WALKER

Position: Point guard

Season: 6th

Ht/Wt: 6-1, 184

Strength of his game: He’s coming off his best season as an NBA player, having improved his 3-point shooting to 37 percent. That made him harder to guard in pick-and-roll, as you couldn’t come under the pick and not get burned by 3-pointers.

No. 2 MARVIN WILLIAMS

Position: Forward

Season: 12th

Ht/Wt: 6-9, 237

Strength of his game: He became the Hornets’ top defensive player when Kidd-Gilchrist was injured. Can guard a wide spectrum of power and small forwards. He shot a career-best 40 percent from 3-point range last season.

No. 35 CHRISTIAN WOOD

Position: Forward-center

Season: 2nd

Ht/Wt: 6-11, 220

Strength of his game: He’s got size, athleticism and dribbling skill. Right now he’s mostly a project, and could spend considerable time this season with the Hornets’ Development League team in Greensboro.

No. 40 CODY ZELLER

Position: Center-forward

Season: 4th

Ht/Wt: 7-0, 240

Strength of his game: Zeller played primarily center last season after Al Jefferson was injured, and it fit him better than power forward. His speed and quickness give a lot of NBA centers trouble. Recovering from a bruised right knee.

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