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Sixers-Hornets Preview: (Not) Good Charlotte

The little things, little things, they always hang around.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Charlotte Hornets are an example of tanking gone poorly. They're a lesson in the failures of tanking in the way that second degree burns are a lesson in the idea of not playing with matches and firewood. It's so obvious what went wrong in the process you don't really have to rehash it.

Charlotte plays with an offensive style unlike any other team. When the Stingers playing well, which happened for about 40 "Bobcats" games last season, they can actually be a fun change of pace. They play out of the post through Al Jefferson, and they cut and do all sorts of things to make up for the lack of shooting and skill surrounding their probably-over-the-hill franchise centerpiece.

Unfortunately, the Hornets haven't been able to replicate Bobcats' offensive success from the second half of last season. Charlotte ranks 28th in offensive rating. A post-based offense without spacing in the modern NBA has a low ceiling, especially since some of the rare floor-spacers from last year no longer play for the team.

And that Al Jefferson is the franchise centerpiece kind of speaks to the direction the team is going. Springfield has an escalator leading right to that place. I said there was no need to rehash this, but it's hard to avoid the topic when discussing the current state of the team.

A midseason trade for 52-point scorer Mo Williams has made the team better for now, and they're on the fringes of the saddest playoff race of all-time. But that's more of the problem - acquiring a 32-year-old point guard to push a bad team into the playoffs in a historically bad conference is just not the way to improve as a franchise. Charlotte needs more young talent, not a veteran-centered team already over-the-hill.

In Charlotte's defense, they tried bringing on young talent. It just hasn't translated into results. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist wants to be the best defender in the history of the NBA. He's good, but good luck with that. He's also injured right now, a common refrain related to the former number two selection. Cody Zeller got drafted two spots ahead of Nerlens Noel, for reasons. I don't know what those reasons are, but I assume they existed at some point in time. Maybe they just really wanted a Zeller? I'm sure Luke was available...

Kemba Walker is only 24-years-old, though the Mo-Williams-is-an-upgrade thing is a big knock against the incumbent franchise point guard. No one really knows if Bismack Biyombo is good at all, or if he's really only 22 years of age. Lance Stephenson is only 24 as well, but his signing turned out to be a small-scale disaster.

As much as Charlotte is a lesson in aborting tanking too soon, they're also a lesson in how drafting well, consistently well, and evaluating talent in general is the most important part of the rebuilding process. Charlotte had four lottery picks in three years and got MKG (good, not great yet), Zeller (TBD), Walker (eh), and Biyombo (nope). The Sixers started out well with Noel, and have turned Michael Carter-Williams(a potential miss) into another opportunity. We're starting well, but there's a long way to go.

And finally, I apologize for reminding you of the existence of Good Charlotte.

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