The aura around the 2014 Charlotte Hornets is markedly different than it has been in years past, and not just because of the new teal-and-purple ambiance.
The Bobcats were stuck in the cellar for their entire existence by trying to hit a home run with every lottery pick. Now, Steve Clifford and Michael Jordan have finally implemented a plan on this organization that has taken hold, resulting in not only a playoff appearance but a future.
The Hornets can now bring back the buzz by selecting players in the 2014 NBA draft based more on fit and need. The pressure is not there to hit a home run and draft a perennial All-Star because Al Jefferson, Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist have provided the organization with a sense of upside and stability.
Now, Charlotte just needs to add more pieces to the puzzle, and it is well-equipped to do that with the ninth overall pick, the 24th pick and a second-rounder. The salaries coming off the books are those of Ben Gordon, Anthony Tolliver, Luke Ridnour, Jannero Pargo, Josh McRoberts and Chris Douglas-Roberts. All are easily replaceable except McRoberts, which leaves the core of the team intact but also leaves a lot of room to fill in the cracks.
This big board will examine the top three options for each draft pick Charlotte has. Versatile perimeter threats who can shoot from the outside will most assuredly be key targets for the Hornets, but the prospects will have to seamlessly buy into the scheme that Clifford has laid out. Hustle and defensive intensity are now the calling cards of this franchise.