Charlotte Hornets 2022/2023 Season Preview
Any development and improvements the Hornets made throughout the course of last season seem like a lifetime ago now. One of the worst off-seasons of any team in recent history will draw to a close as the 2022/2023 season kicks off, and the city of Charlotte will thank their lucky stars it will do just that.
The temporary relief fans feel once games get underway will likely be washed away quickly though as the Hornets will have to deal with the on-court realities of a below-average NBA team.
Nobody yet knows what will happen with Montrezl Harrell (he's since signed with Philadelphia), and any predictions of what the future holds for Miles Bridges, who played a key role last season, are speculative at best. The players who do take to the hard wood this season will also have to deal with the knowledge that Head Coach Steve Clifford, who replaced James Borrego, wasn’t even the franchise’s first choice. That honour went to Kenny Atkinson, who remains in Golden State after reneging on a verbal agreement to take the reins.
As for player personnel they’ve added…well, the list is thin. Two draft picks join the roster; Mark Williams (pick #15) and Bryce McGowens (pick #40). Other than those rookies, Cody Martin accepted a qualifying offer in late June. That’s it. Hardly a ringing endorsement to franchise cornerstone LaMelo Ball about the capabilities of the front office.
After a horror off-season, LaMelo Ball (pictured) may have a career year, but the amount of wins the Hornets pile up remains in question. Credit: Charlotte Observer.
Now, in fairness, the Hornets were blindsided by Atkinson late in their Head Coach search and lost out on other candidates who may well have been available to begin the off-season, but the lack of personnel changes are an issue that hasn’t been fixed.
There is still talented pieces on this roster, however. LaMelo Ball could well have another career season as the undisputed best player and offensive option, improving on an All-Star effort last year. PJ Washington returns alongside Gordon Hayward, and with projected improvement from Kai Jones and James Bouknight, the Hornets give fans a reason to at least tune into games. Bright spots will likely be few and far between though, outside of Ball’s highlight play-making and streaky shooting.
The Hornets off-season has dampened what should’ve been an exciting transition for the franchise. Instead of upgrading to a coach who can take the team to new heights, they recycle former Head Coach Steve Clifford, who failed to advance beyond the first-round in either his last stint in Charlotte or recent stint in Orlando. LaMelo Ball gives the team a must-watch offensive option, but help for him will be few and far between.
Ceiling: 10th seed.
Floor: 13th seed.