The Eastern conference playoff race promises to be a more competitive one this season. Some of the bottom dwellers from last year have looked to improve and Charlotte fits that category well. The MJ-led franchise decided to make the moves to try to win to some degree this off-season. Here’s to hoping it all works out.
The Hornets ended up with the third pick in the 2020 NBA Draft and selected LaMelo Ball. This rookie class has three players that seem a cut above the rest. Because of that, the Hornets were in the odd position of having someone else essentially make the pick for them. Which ever of the three that fell to them would be the pick. I think the team was pretty happy Ball was there for the taking. The team already has two young guards in Terry Rozier and Devonte Graham, but the team was smart not to let the two of them keep them from taking LaMelo. Ball’s ability to create for himself and others is unmatched when compared to players his age. He has plenty of room to grow in other areas, but his facilitating should be amazing from day one. As far as rookies are concerned, the Hornets also added Vernon Carey Jr., Nick Richards, and Grant Riller. All three were second-round picks and it is hard seeing any of them play a role for the team this season.
Charlotte made some noise this season with all the excitement around the number three pick they had. They continued to make noise due to the free agency they had. The Hornets only made a few moves, but one of them was a big one. The team signed former Celtic Gordon Hayward to a four year, $120 million deal. Hayward has been injury plagued for the past couple of seasons and hasn’t seen the court often enough. He did have a great stretch for Boston last season as the year began to wind down, so there is something left in the tank. He won’t be asked to be the top option on the team every night, but he will need to make an impact. Charlotte has a young core that needs guidance and Hayward could fit that bill well. He was mentor to Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum in Boston and it looks like he’ll be doing it again in a Hornets uniform. The team also resigned Bismack Biyombo as someone who can give the rookie big men time to adjust to the league.
The Hornets have been one of the more irrelevant teams in the league for quite some time now. It seems the team finally wants to leave that irrelevance behind as they add in big-name pieces. There are questions still left to be answered, but the team could become more talked about as the season goes on. They may even make some noise by sneaking into the playoffs.