The Charlotte Hornets had a disappointing season in 2016-17. A year after being a surprise 48 win team that was tantalizingly close to winning their first playoff series in franchise history in 2016 (remember these are the former Bobcats), they took a huge step back last season winning only 36 games and finishing 11th in the eastern conference.
The seeming opportunity to return to the playoffs felt very real coming into this season as the Hornets had a very good off-season in my opinion, finally acquiring a rim protector in Dwight Howard and having a talented shooting guard fall to them with the 11th pick in Malik Monk.
Their playoff chances just took a huge blow on Thursday. Swiss Army Knife small forward and maybe their most valuable player on both ends, Nic Batum tore the UCL ligament in his left elbow in the 1st quarter of the Hornets pre-season game against the Pistons.
— Dime on UPROXX (@DimeUPROXX) October 5, 2017
This is a huge blow to Buzz City as it will be very hard to replace Batum’s production (16-6-6 last season) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Jeremy Lamb and Malik Monk don’t have the same sort of skill sets to be able to effectively fill the void left by Batum.
Batum seems likely to return in early 2018 but will likely miss the first 30 games or so for Charlotte.
We’ll see if the Hornets are able to overcome Batum’s injury and tread water until he returns in what appears to be a very wide open last three or four playoff spots in the weakened eastern conference.