The return of Nicolas Batum and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist could potentially give a headache to the reigning NBA champions, Cleveland Cavaliers, in the 2016-17 NBA season.
The Charlotte Hornets made a tough decision this summer when they decided to prioritize Nic Batum and Marvin Williams over Jeremy Lin, Courtney Lee, and Al Jefferson. With this, Michael Jordan’s franchise became questionable to be a playoff contender next year.
Jeremy Lin, Courtney Lee, and Al Jefferson were major contributors in the Hornets’ recent achievements. So far, last season was the most successful season for the Charlotte Hornets since 2001. They gave a tough fight to the Miami Heat in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
However, with the departure of some of their key players, some people are doubting if they can still be as competitive as they were last season. Despite the loss this summer, the Hornets still have made some improvements on their roster.
The Hornets signed Roy Hibbert and Ramon Sessions to replace Al Jefferson and Jeremy Lin. With the return of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, he is set to start in place of Courtney Lee. According to Ben Dowsett of Basketball Insider, the Batum-MKG tandem could give a potential headache to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers next season.
“Batum and Kidd-Gilchrist are two of the conference’s best-suited LeBron defenders (to whatever degree such a thing even exists) and having both presents a fascinating option against Cleveland’s bread-and-butter James-Irving two-man game: Put MKG on Kyrie. He should be fully past any injury residuals come playoff time, and has enough athleticism to stay with Irving when he’s 100 percent.”
More than most people think the Charlotte Hornets are already a better team than they were last season. With the return of Nicolas Batum and MKG, the Hornets’ projected starting lineup will be – C- Cody Zeller, PF- Marvin Williams, SF- Nic Batum, SG – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist PG- Kemba Walker.
If their starters remain healthy throughout the season, the Charlotte Hornets are predicted to compete for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.
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