Scott Fowler

Charlotte Hornets need major changes to avoid bigger slide

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (14) is a keeper for these Charlotte Hornets, and so is Kemba Walker. But everyone else on this disappointing roster should be re-evaluated.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (14) is a keeper for these Charlotte Hornets, and so is Kemba Walker. But everyone else on this disappointing roster should be re-evaluated. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

I knew the Charlotte Hornets’ season was officially over Friday night when I was watching as the team got blown out in Atlanta and the best thing the Hornets’ TV crew could find to put on the screen was a package of Jason Maxiell highlights.

When your 32-year-old, third-string center is being featured, it’s time to turn out the lights. And what a disappointing season it has been – one that will be repeated in 2015-16 unless the Hornets make major changes.

A year removed from the playoffs, the Hornets are 33-46 and will finish their season Wednesday. They sit in the sour spot of the NBA standings – not good enough to make the postseason, not bad enough to get a Top-5 lottery pick unless they get the kind of lottery luck they never get.

Most likely, they will pick around the No. 8 range. Still, there is hope. Golden State built a juggernaut out West while never picking higher than No. 6.

If I am the Hornets, I keep Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist as integral pieces for the long term. But everyone else is expendable. This is a team that can’t shoot, can’t score, can’t draft well and can’t stay healthy.

If I am Michael Jordan, I give coach Steve Clifford and general manager Rich Cho one more chance to get it right. But both men should be in serious jeopardy if the Hornets slide in the wrong direction again.

I would draft a center with the first-round pick – Al Jefferson’s body is breaking down. I would find some actual shooters. And I would try to forget this lost season.

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