The NBA offseason is usually dramatic in unimaginable ways. In the 2022 offseason though, it was relatively quiet. No major free agency transactions occurred, but a few trades pushed teams into further contention, such as the Donovan Mitchell deal that sent him off to the Cleveland Cavaliers. For the Charlotte Hornets though, it was frustratingly silent for the fans. Several of them took to Twitter to voice their thoughts on it. Most of which included that LaMelo Ball didn’t receive any help. Hornets management didn’t add any impact players, but they did keep their core tight, which is why it is their best move of the offseason. Roster change and turnover aren’t always good. Staying consistent with the same guys could produce different results in 2022-23.
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Kept young core together
The Hornets still have one of the best point guards in the league in Ball, who is clearly the franchise player. They have other interesting young pieces that will be key contributors to the team like PJ Washington, Cody Martin, and possibly James Bouknight. Washington and Martin have both been good glue guys for this young squad. Their calling card is on the defensive side of the ball, but their offense is coming together year by year. As for Bouknight, the Lottery pick from the 2021 NBA Draft has yet to receive an opportunity to show what he can do on a nightly basis.
Aside from some of those younger guys, the Hornets still have Terry Rozier, Gordon Hayward, and Mason Plumlee. All three were fairly consistent in 2022. When healthy, each guy was a starter and held it down for the team in the locker room and on the court. Kelly Oubre will also be coming back after a solid season coming off the bench. They averaged 15 points per game and shot the ball at a 34 percent clip from three-point range.
Consistency is key…sometimes
Yes, everyone did see the Hornets fail to make the postseason for the sixth straight year. On the bright side though, they have improved a lot in the last three seasons. While James Borrego was at the helm, the team won 10 more games each year that he was employed with the team. Steve Clifford might be able to keep up that trend. The same roster is intact and they have another year of experience under their belt. In the 2021-22 season, the Hornets were 43-39. They could find themselves winning 50-plus games if the trend continues. Or they very well could plummet due to the lack of talent.
It is a tough Eastern Conference, to say the least. The roster isn’t filled with elite players but is filled with guys who will give 100 percent every day to get better. Better to be optimistic now then to write them off before the season even starts.
Patience is key
Surely the fanbase and the organization would love to see immediate success. Winning and competition are what makes sports great, but rebuilding and finding the right formula is the tricky part. The Hornets haven’t found what they needed to be favored to win the East or championship. They know that they need to trust the process and each other to get to those lofty goals. Thankfully they struck gold in LaMelo Ball. Then they were able to find some young guys that could complement his game well. Kai Jones and Mark Williams could develop into nice big men around a star point guard.
It’s going to take more time for this team to find its identity and niche. Finding a new Coach could help do both of those things. Having Veterans on the team who understand that will also help fast forward that process. It seems like everybody within the organization does understand those things. Success is on the way. Unfortunately, there’s no telling when that will come, but they are trending in the right direction.