A Preview of the 2022-23 Charlotte Hornets

September 16th, 2022

By Alan Lu

LaMelo Ball is a very talented guard that is one of the best players in the Eastern Conference, and he made the All-Star team last season as a member of the Charlotte Hornets.
(Photo:
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images, via Fansided’s Swarm and Sting)

The Charlotte Hornets received a banner year from LaMelo Ball last season, who was able to make his first All-Star team.  He is an agile, skilled point forward that has strong offensive skills, and he is a shot creator that has tremendous court vision.  The Hornets won 43 games under then head coach James Borrego, but they ended up getting blown out of the play-in tournament once again, and were eliminated from playoff contention.  As management was frustrated with their play-in tournament woes and lack of improvement on the defensive end, they fired Borrego and went with head coach Steve Clifford to lead them for the upcoming season.

This year, they didn’t make many changes, aside from changing head coaches, and they also selected Duke’s sophomore center Mark Williams in the draft.  The Hornets project to be mostly the same team that they were before, except they will lose Miles Bridges, as they have elected not to re-sign him, especially since he was arrested and embroiled in a domestic case.  They also lost Montrezl Harrell to Philadelphia and Isaiah Thomas in the offseason, and they will bank on their returning players to improve to try to get to the playoffs.

Star Players:

G-F LaMelo Ball

He is a very agile, skilled point forward that excels at creating shots for himself and others and will rack up many assists on the court.  Ball is a consistent triple-double threat that has improved his long-range skills, and he is the Hornets’ franchise player for the foreseeable future.

Additions:

C Mark Williams

Mark Williams is a very tall, athletic center that will provide a strong interior presence for the Charlotte Hornets.  He is a vertical lob threat that will throw down towering dunks to score on offense, and he excels at rebounding, blocking shots, and protecting the paint.  He will need to expand his skill set on offense, but he will shore up the Hornets’ interior both this season and in the future.

Subtractions:

F Miles Bridges, F-C Montrezl Harrell, and G Isaiah Thomas

Last season, Miles Bridges had emerged as one of the best forwards in the Eastern Conference, and he thrived as a scorer and defender last year.  He appeared to be due for a big payday when that suddenly came to a screeching halt just before the offseason began, when he was arrested and embroiled in a domestic case, and if convicted, that could effectively end his professional basketball career (although he is currently unsigned, and probably won’t sign with an NBA team any time soon).

Montrezl Harrell is a former Sixth Man of the Year award winner that thrived as an energetic big man that would provide points and rebounds off the bench.  Isaiah Thomas is a former star guard that can shoot and score the basketball, but he’s bounced around as a journeyman ever since he was traded away from the Boston Celtics years ago.

Rookies:

C Mark Williams and G-F Bryce McGowens

There will likely be ample playing time for Mark Williams, and he has a skill set that could enable him to play immediately as an athletic rim protector for the Charlotte Hornets.  As for Bryce McGowens, he might not play right away as he is on a two-way contract, but he is a very athletic swingman that has considerable upside and could crack the rotation as the season progresses.

Expected Rotation:

LaMelo Ball is a brilliant playmaking guard that made the All-Star team last year, and he will lead the Charlotte Hornets into the 2022-23 NBA season.
(Photo:
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images, via The New York Times)

Projected Starting Lineup:

C Mason Plumlee

Projected 2022-23 Player Rating:

F P.J. Washington

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F Gordon Hayward

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G Terry Rozier

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G LaMelo Ball (3 stars, 4 stars potential)

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Key Bench Players:

Charlotte Hornets’ rookie center, Mark Williams is a very athletic, shot blocking big man that could make a big impact to his team for the upcoming NBA season.
(Photo:
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images, via Fansided’s Swarm and Sting)

G-F Cody Martin

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C Mark Williams

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G-F Kelly Oubre Jr.

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F Jalen McDaniels

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F-C JT Thor

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The Rest of the Roster (projected to make the team):

C Nick Richards

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G-F Bryce McGowens

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G James Bouknight

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C Kai Jones

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Others In Camp:

G Jaylen Crutcher (Exhibit 10)

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F Anthony Duruji (Exhibit 10)

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G-F Jaylen Sims (Exhibit 10)

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F-C Isaiah Whaley (Exhibit 10)

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Head Coach:

Steve Clifford was named the head coach of the Charlotte Hornets for the 2022-23 NBA season.
(Photo:
Chuck Burton/Associated Press, via Boston Herald)

Steve Clifford
2021-22 (N/A): N/A
Career: 292-345, 5-16 in the NBA Playoffs

Clifford is an old school, defensive minded coach that has coached for Charlotte and Orlando, and has made it to the playoffs in four of his eight seasons, but he’s never gotten out of the first round in any of the seasons he’s coached.  After having been fired by Charlotte years ago, he’s returning back to them, but it’s unclear if they will implement a reliable offensive system and he hasn’t proven that he can sustainably win in big games.

Projected 2022-23 Coach Rating:

Outlook:

The Charlotte Hornets will lean heavily on LaMelo Ball to try to get to the playoffs in 2023, but that might not be enough as they may not have made enough moves in the offseason to be able to get there.
(Photo:
Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press, via ClickOnDetroit)

The Charlotte Hornets drafted Mark Williams, but that said, it didn’t feel like they made major upgrades to their team, as they also lost a couple of solid veterans, and they hired a head coach that they have fired once already.  The Hornets seem to be basically running back the same team, but with Williams, and without Miles Bridges or Montrezl Harrell in their rotation. 

The Hornets do have one of the best guards in the league in LaMelo Ball.  Terry Rozier is a scoring combo guard that is coming off perhaps his best season, Gordon Hayward is a former All-Star that is a versatile role player when healthy, and P.J. Washington is a skilled stretch four that can shoot and defend. But as the Eastern Conference is getting stronger, the Hornets could find themselves falling just short of a playoff bid once again in 2023.

Projected 2022-23 Win-Loss Record and Finish:
Projected Regular Season Finish: 37-45, 13th in the Eastern Conference
Expected Playoff Finish: Projected to miss the playoffs

I went to Basketball-Reference and Spotrac to look up some information for this write-up.  It will be an exciting basketball season this year, and the NBA season will start on October 18th.  Thank you for reading my write-up of the 2023 Charlotte Hornets.

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