2022-23 Charlotte Hornets Season Preview
The Charlotte Hornets had some bright spots on their resume last season, earning a spot in the Eastern Conference play-in round with LaMelo Ball making his first All-Star team. Injuries and poor defense ultimately cut the Hornets’ season short. Did Charlotte do enough in the offseason to propel them to the next level this year?
Charlotte Hornets Betting Odds
|2022-23 NBA Odds as of Saturday, October 1||Courtesy of DraftKings|
|NBA Championship Odds:||+18000|
|Southeast Division Odds:||+1400|
|Regular Season Win Total:||36.5 (o EV / u -120)|
|Opening Night:||-3.5 at San Antonio Spurs (o/u 230.5)|
The Hornets were able to create some buzz in the East (pun intended) last season, but they saw a quick exit from the playoffs as the Hawks crushed them 132-103 in the opening play-in game. Ball averaged 20.1 points, 7.6 assists and 6.7 rebounds per game in his first All-Star season. Terry Rozier also made his mark as a go-to scorer, leading the team in 3-pt shooting while making three per game shooting 44-percent from beyond the arc. Gordon Hayward was once again plagued with injuries cutting his season to only 49 games played.
Duke Connection at Center
Center Mark Williams from Duke is likely to be the only Hornets rookie to make an impact this season. The Hornets have recently been known for struggling to defend the interior, relying on the likes of Mason Plumlee to clog the lane. Plumlee should remain the team’s starting center to start the season, but it wouldn’t be a shock if Williams took over this role at some point.
In Williams’ two years at Duke, he averaged over two blocks per game and in his last season he averaged 7.4 rebounds per game. Williams averaged over 11 points per game in his last season at Duke but doesn’t offer much flexibility outside the paint, which led to shooting over 70-percent in his career as a Blue Devil.
Charlotte Hornets’ Offseason Transactions
Beside drafting and signing Williams, the Hornets didn’t make much of a splash in acquiring players this offseason. They signed role player Dennis Smith Jr. as a backup guard and re-signed Cody Martin. What might stick out to many is the Hornets signing LaMelo Ball’s brother LiAngelo, who will likely start the season in the G-League on his quest to finally make an NBA regular season roster.
The team lost a lot of fire power with Miles Bridges departing. The Hornets had a chance to re-sign him but off-court issues prevented the Hornets from pulling the trigger. Another player not rejoining the Hornets is Montrezl Harrell who is also going through his own off-court issues. The departure of these two means more playing time for P.J Washington and Jalen McDaniels.
Charlotte Hornets’ Season Outlook
It’s tough to see the Hornets improving on last season having lost Bridges and not replacing him with a scorer and playmaker of his caliber. Sure they should have Hayward back at full strength but will he play even 70 games on the schedule? Ball and Rozier will continue to take on a bulk of the offensive workload but interior offense will be tough to come by. The Hornets could easily fall out of the playoff picture all together finishing as one of the 11-15th placed teams. Ball has a legitimate chance to make the All-Star team again and could have a boosted confidence if his brother were to join the main roster at any point in the season.
Charlotte Hornets’ Projected Starting Five
PG: LaMelo Ball
SG: Terry Rozier
SF: Gordon Hayward
PF: P.J. Washington
C: Mason Plumlee
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