With front office turnover often comes personnel and coaching changes, as we’ve seen in a seismic way in Charlotte in the short time since Mitch Kupchak took over for Rich Cho. Steve Clifford and his entire staff have already fallen victim to an idealogical shift between the two general managers, and guard Kemba Walker may be the next piece moved as a result.
If Walker is moved, it will signal the Hornets’ intent to cascade more into a real rebuild, something they’ve avoided since drafting Walker. He has given the franchise All-Star performances in each of the last two seasons and took over the team’s all-time scoring record this year. It will be difficult to see him leave, but with free agency around the corner next summer, dealing him now remains the best option.
The good news is that a replacement lurks in the draft in the form of Gilgeous-Alexander. He doesn’t yet bring the off-the-bounce swagger Walker has become known for, but he is an excellent table-setter for the young assets Charlotte will surely accumulate if Kupchak fills his treasure chest correctly. That could even include another first-rounder this June.
Gilgeous-Alexander is a modern guard capable of switching defensively and (fingers crossed) maintaining effectiveness next to another ball-handler. He is a great first piece considering how low the pick is.