a still fun, but stagnant base

Another mixed season for the Hornets. Almost a copy and paste of the last one. The hype remains high, the show is still there, the future of young people seems totally bright, only the NBA is not the neighborhood playground. Too bad it’s not enough to shine in the top 10 of the evening to be successful in your season because otherwise the LaMelo band would be a contender.

WHAT TRASHTALK HAD ANNOUNCED

The expectations, albeit measured, were very real last September. The LaMelo Ball phenomenon had already conquered the planet of basketball in his rookie year, only to be confirmed with a slightly larger squad (but still without a pivot). Players like Kelly Oubre Jr., Ish Smith or Mason Plumlee have come to replace the departures of Devonte ‘Graham, Malik Monk and Cody Zeller. Other boys were expected around the corner. Gordon Hayward had to keep bringing the experience to him, Miles Bridges his explosiveness and Terry Rozier his scoring quality. However, aware of their defensive weakness, they took down the bottom of the play-in with around forty wins. And for once we have seen the future.

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

If we have to remember one thing about the Hornets season, it is that compared to last year and the evolution of this group there is better, but also less, but still much better, but also much worse. It’s all still very vague, so let’s go deeper. In the 2020-21 season, Charlotte surprised her little world by qualifying for the play-in thanks to their # 3 draft pick and Rookie of the Year, LaMelo Ball. It was therefore necessary to confirm in 2021-22 and it is difficult to position oneself on this objective. Indeed, from a purely ranking standpoint, Charlotte once again finished 10th. But with ten more wins! A record-breaking season that would have been rewarded with a seventh place in the East last year. However, this season’s Eastern Conference has been serious and difficult to get above the heavyweights especially with their defensive shortcomings.

Because yes, we’re getting there, the big black spot in Charlotte is in this disastrous defense. We know Jordan is one of PSG’s main sponsors, but what we didn’t know was that he had brought the Avenue des Champs-Élysées to Charlotte and placed it in defense. Spoiler, it’s a seller but not very effective. On a more serious note, the Hornets’ particular home defense has been a wonderful place for the TTFL all year round. We have nothing against Mason Plumlee. His handsome face and his incipient baldness make him a very sympathetic character, but not for all the defender that Charlotte so badly needs. Also, at the Trade Deadline, Charlotte was looking for a pin that could fix this flaw. Several rumors about Myles Turner have been circulating, culminating in … (drum roll) Montrezl Harrell! The type of player who does not solve any problems since in the defensive phase it cannot be said that he is part of the elite. The Hornets finished the season 22nd in the defensive standings with an average of 113 points conceded per game with a peak (not counting extra time) of 144 against the Sixers and Heat one after another at the end of the season. Great art.

However, there was also something very good with our friends in sky blue. First, the start of the season. Three wins in three games, unheard of in the history of the Charlotte Hornets with a beautiful rise to power. First the Pacers, then the Cavs and finally the Nets. Plus, this isn’t the only time Indiana has made Hornets’ history this season since Charlotte destroyed the Pacers 158 – 126 in January and amassed six franchise records. Obviously, LaMelo Ball was one of the protagonists of this butcher’s shop. The franchise player on this team has grown well individually. Improving stats, accumulated experience, confidence still at the top and he’s still a great marketing asset for the NBA and the Hornets with his presence, attitude and looks. All these elements lead him to the All-Star Game, even if it was Adam Silver who named him All-Star to replace Kevin Durant and not the votes of fans, players and journalists. Another big milestone for the second year. This season he also broke the record for points (38 points against the Celtics) and assists (15 caviar against the Knicks). Around him, Gordon Hayward brought his 16 points a night even though he ended up in the infirmary anyway. Kelly Oubre Jr., first as a starter and then as sixth man following the return of team third top scorer Terry Rozier, meanwhile had his highlights. With his 15 points per game, he guaranteed the goal with the second unit. The former Warriors have had explosions on totally random nights with several games over 30 points and 60% shooting. Finally, Miles Bridges was particularly popular, but more on that later.

The Hornets season ends like last year, with the first play-in game. This time, the executioners are the Hawks. A disappointing performance because we were expecting an increase compared to 2021, but logical given their play in their half of the pitch. An elimination that will cost James Borrego the position of coach. Yet in an upward curve (another ten wins anyway), the Hornets management decided to fire their manager. A strange choice that has the air of “we must find a culprit” when it probably only needed time for this group. A strong decision, but one that necessarily jeopardizes the stability of the workforce. It remains to be seen who will come to assume this position of high responsibility with immediate results expected.

THE SEASON BREED IN A FEW ARTICLES

Charlotte Hornets preview 2021-22: the hornet is fine, the time has come to return to the Playoffs

The Charlotte Hornets starting with a 3-0, unheard of in history: therefore, an ephemeral location or the beginning of a good story?

The Hornets continue to win and are now fully booked: Suddenly, do we have the right to hyper or not yet?

Gordon Hayward did it all at the Spurs: 41 points in 29 minutes on the 15/19 shot, let’s just say he was a little cool

Kelly Oubre Jr. approaches Klay Thompson’s record: 8 shots from the parking lot in the last quarter, welcome to 4th dimension

NBA MLK Day: Miles Bridges splashes at Madison Square Garden, 38 points, 10 highlights and keys to the city for Charlotte’s marsupial

The Hornets have their sting on fire: seven wins in eight games and a great streak at home, so many reasons to smile

Hornets in record against Indiana: 158 points, 39 for Kelly Oubre Jr. and a big headache for the Pacers

The Hornets leave the play-ins with their heads down, as in 2021: happy holidays guys, we will have to take advantage of the summer to learn how to defend

IMAGE OF THE SEASON

This image represents a further step towards the success of this group. His franchise player was named All-Star for the first time, a big step forward in his career. LaMelo Ball took its place in Kevin Durant’s absence. Production, play, show, fun, he has all the paraphernalia for the All-Star Game. The next step for him will be to maintain this level and why not be accompanied in 2023 by his friend with him with 1,000 bridges. Exactly…

HOT HAT: BRIDGES OF MILES

If anyone has had any success with the Hornets this season, it’s Miles Bridges. Nothing to do with the Mikal of the Suns neither in the blood nor in the game.For Miles we are more in a walking show, athletic and not angry with the dunk. Longtime MIP candidate before a Memphis alien came to kill the competition, Charlotte’s strong winger still blew his ceiling (20 points – 7 rebounds – 4 assists). We notice an improvement in all the main compartments of the game, if we remove the calculators we really realize it: +7.5 points (at 50% shooting), +1 rebound, +1.5 passes, + 0.2 interception and still 0.8 against. Crazy figures symbolized by certain perfs from another dimension. The highlight was his performance at MLK Day against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. A match in which he beat his career with 38 points at 14/20 shooting after an offensive masterclass. This season, Miles has taken the bridge to the heights, even though his last action of the season is a mouthguard throw that landed badly. We hope to see him perform again next season.

WE ARE WAITING FOR IT AND STILL WAIT FOR IT: A PIN

Like last year, the Hornets are still waiting for a pivot worthy of the name and who knows how to defend himself. As stated above, without prejudice to Mason Plumlee, but seriously, an ambitious team cannot afford to have him as a starting point in 2022. This has to be Charlotte’s main front office mission this summer and there are some fish to catch. This is the essential key to turning the corner and aiming higher. The identity is there. A young, fun, carefree group that wants to win. All that’s missing is a pivot that brings a little seriousness and, if possible, experience to fill the holes in the defense. With all of these ingredients combined, there is a way Hornets can get very boring to play.

THE FOLLOWING

The 2022-23 season will be decisive for Charlotte. Under the cup of a new coach, the Hornets will have to take a step. It’s good to be a fun, spectacular team etc… but you have to win. The Hornets cannot afford to return to the play-ins and be eliminated again. A little more seriousness is expected, especially from the defense. Otherwise the goal is always to raise the ceiling of these young people who have the slab and in particular of the duo LaMelo – Ponti. The second seems destined to obtain a very substantial contract extension this summer, and the first also shortly after. The Hornets may therefore be tempted to make some savings by separating from some players (Hayward? Rozier? Oubre?), Although the arrival of experienced players would probably not hurt this team.

Back-to-back this season for Charlotte, still tenth and still eliminated in the first round of the play-ins. We want to see this beautiful team higher up in the Eastern Conference. And please, use these six months to work on your defense and then we’ll have some real fun every night.

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