There are three things that can stop the Charlotte Hornets from taking a big step forward this season.
The Charlotte Hornets have a young team, with a new ownership group, that appears poised and focused to take a step forward in their rebuild this season. They should be an interesting team to watch and they have the potential to be a dark horse playoff threat in the Eastern Conference.
The Hornets’ playoff drought has been long as they have not seen the postseason since 2016. Will this be the year the drought ends? Can star guard LaMelo Ball remain healthy and lead the team for an entire season? Will rookie Brandon Miller live up to the hype? And can the veteran players guide and carry this young roster? These are three concerns the Hornets have to prioritize entering the season and the outcome will determine how successful the team will be as the season progresses.
Three concerns that could hold the Charlotte Hornets back
Can the Charlotte Hornets depend on their veterans
Depending on where the Hornets are in the standings at the midpoint of the season, that could ultimately determine whether the team will be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. This team is young for the most part, but if they are in contention at the All-Star break, they should hold on to their veteran players for a playoff push. If it appears that the season is a lost cause and if the new ownership group decides to move forward with a rebuild or retool of the roster, players like Terry Rozier, Gordon Hayward, and Miles Bridges.
If the Hornets qualify for the postseason, they will need these veterans to help guide and navigate this team through the difficult tides of the NBA Playoffs. Rozier is under contract for two more seasons with a team option in 2025-26. Last year, he was second on the team in scoring averaging 21.1 points per game, and was also second on the team averaging 5.1 assists per game. Rozier tried to keep the team afloat when Ball suffered his season-ending injury but the Hornets went 7-12 in the final 19 games Ball missed.
If the Hornets begin spiraling before the deadline, Rozier becomes an attractive piece for a team that is in contention for a title. Gordon Hayward would be the most likely to be moved due to him being in a contract year. However, Gordon would have to be healthy at the time if teams are going to be willing to give up any assets for him. But if the Hornets decide to hold on to him, he has four years of valuable playoff experience under his belt. Miles Bridges is basically walking into a make-or-break situation after sitting out for an entire season due to legal troubles.
The season before last, Bridges posted career numbers across the board but will he be able to duplicate or improve on those numbers? It’s low risk, high reward for the Hornets when it comes to Bridges. If the Hornets are on a trajectory to qualify for the postseason, they can work on rewarding Bridges with a new deal. During the 2021-22 season, Ball and Bridges displayed chemistry as they connected on numerous highlights on fast breaks and they appeared to be a dynamic duo who can lead the Hornets into the future.
These two players make each other better every time they play as they are a fun group to watch.