It feels like forever since we have seen a 3-Pointer from Devonte Graham or a monster dunk from Sky Miles shake the rim. The NBA world went silent in March and when the teams began playing again this summer, the Hornets and their fans were left on the sidelines only able to watch others. Well, fear not fellow Buzzcity residents, after an exciting draft night and an interesting Free agent blitz we are less than a month away from tipping off a new season of Hornets Hoops, and although the stands may be empty at least to start the season, that will have nothing to do with a lack of interest from the fanbase.
The Hornets added 4 young players on draft night, including maybe the guy with the highest upside in the draft with the third pick. Lamelo Ball is a highlight reel passer with athleticism and size that could make him an impact player from day 1. He will likely need to add strength and show more focus on the defensive end in order to become a true two way player, but that is a common theme among most Rookies. If he puts in the work and can find a way to become even an average outside shooter, his and the Hornets future will shine brighter than it has in some time. The team also went big in the second round, adding two young athletic centers to the mix. The center position was one of weakness last year, so Vernon Carey and Nick Richards will get an opportunity early and often to get minutes.
The Hornets made a splash in free agency as well, in a surprise move giving Gordon Hayward a massive 120 million dollar contract. Some, including myself, have questioned the move in reference to the timing, and health struggles of the 1 time all star forward who will turn 31 this season. There is no arguing the fact that if healthy he raises the talent level and floor of the team, while hopefully being a positive influence on the young players. Only time will tell if this was a smart move by the Hornets front office, but it has absolutely made the fans a lot more positive towards the teams chances in the Covid shortened 20-21 season. I put together a poll for Hornets fans on twitter (@hornetssportspot) to see how they thought they would fair in the 3 match-ups versus each East team and in their 2 match-ups versus each West team. Due to the season being shorter the NBA hasnt released a full schedule yet, but have let us know how the breakdown of match-ups will be done.
Hornets fans expect the team to beat up on the weaker teams in both conferences, sweeping the Knicks, Cavs, Pistons, Thunder and Kings for a total of 13 wins.
Fans also expect the team to struggle against the powerhouses of the western conference, being swept by the Lakers, Clippers, Nuggets and Mavericks. Yet in a suprise, have them not being swept by any teams in the east having them stealing at least one win from playoff locks like the Bucks, Heat, 76ers and Nets which seems to be a bit of a stretch.
The totals look like this:
Versus the East 25-17
Versus the West 13 -17
Final record 38-34 .528 winning percentage
While this would make for a wonderful season, I have to be honest and say I don’t see this actually becoming a reality. Fans are excited, and they should be, but a season like this would likely result in a 6 seed and would be considered one of the best single season turnarounds in recent NBA history for a team that finished last year with 4 more wins than the team with the worst record in the East. Right or wrong, we can all agree on this, it will be a great day when we FINALLY get to see our squad on the court again!