Predicting the rest of the Charlotte Hornets season

Charlotte Hornets Malik Monk and Dwayne Bacon (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Malik Monk and Dwayne Bacon (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images) /

With only one-third of the NBA season remaining, how will the Charlotte Hornets close out the 2017-18 campaign?

Here we are at the All-Star Break, and the Charlotte Hornets sit at 24-33. We’re 57 games in, meaning there are just 25 games left in the season. Sitting 5.5 games back of a playoff spot with just a 12% chance of making the playoffs (according to, hope seems bleak.

Sure, the optimistic fan would still say that the remaining schedule is somewhat weak, but maybe it’s not. At the actual midway point of the season, we said the same thing, and nothing has changed. We just have to admit that the Hornets are not a good team. Steve Clifford himself said that how the next few weeks go will determine if the rotation changes at all.

So, how will they go? Let’s take a look at these final 25 games:

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February 22nd- February 28th:

vs. Brooklyn, @ Washington, vs. Detroit, vs. Chicago, @ Boston.

Prediction: 2-3

Fresh off the All-Star Break the Hornets open at home against the Brooklyn Nets. While the Nets didn’t start the year off badly, they’ve lost seven straight. They’re likely to enter tank-mode soon, and the Hornets hopefully should be able to get the job done at home.

The very next night the Hornets will be taking on the Wizards in DC. The Hornets have beaten the Wizards twice this season already. Once in OT, and the other one was a blowout (the Dwight Howard Kiss Game). That streak is likely to end. Not only is the team off of a back-to-back, the Wizards are in the thick of the playoff hunt and cannot afford to drop games like this. Their bench finally seems to be performing, something the Hornets haven’t consistently done.

Two days later it’s yet another Sunday Matinee Game for the team. A 1 o’clock start against the Pistons at home could provide for some Sunday entertainment, but that’s about it. The combination of Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond will likely expose the Hornets. Dwight matched up well with Drummond last time, but he’s had his ups and down games. Also whenever you take into account that nobody on the Hornets can guard Blake, proven by the fact that he always plays well against us, it’s a recipe for a loss.  

After a day of rest, the Hornets will take on a Bulls team at home that they haven’t beaten this year. Let’s just say (and hope) the Hornets win this one.

Finishing off this five games in seven days span will be the Boston Celtics. While they’re a team that’s been on a skid lately, they’re not losing to a Hornets team that is traveling off a back-to-back.

March 2nd – March 10th:

@ Philadelphia, @ Toronto, vs. Philadelphia, vs. Brooklyn, vs. Phoenix.

Prediction: 2-3

The Sixers are finding success quicker than many expected this season. We knew they had potential, but weren’t sure if it’d click right away this year. For the most part, it has. This Hornets team struggled against Philly last year, and this is just the first of four meetings this year. I’d be surprised if the Hornets pulled out more than one against this team, and this won’t be one.

Toronto looks like they may be legit this year. We won’t know for sure until the playoffs come around, but they may have the best bench in the NBA. Just like last Sunday, the Hornets could get embarrassed by this team.

We’ll be seeing Philly again a few days later, but this time at home. I think the Hornets lose this game and a new era begins. Starting 2-6 out of the break subdues any playoff hopes, and this is where Clifford may finally give minutes to Monk and Bacon again. Newcomer Willy will start getting more minutes too, he’s just a second-year guy as well. A loss at home to cap off a three-game losing streak sure does sound like a point where Clifford would make this change, right?

No matter who the Hornets put out there they’d have a pretty decent chance of winning each of these next two games. They should once again be able to handle Brooklyn, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see one of the rookies go for 20+.

Lastly here is an All-time bad defense in the Phoenix Suns. Whether that’s by choice or tanking doesn’t much matter. I expect the young guys to have another great game.

The Remaining 15:

Prediction: 6-9

It can be difficult to slowly come to terms with the fact that your team won’t make the playoffs. Watching 16 teams play a highly intense game for two months, can make you feel left out.  Getting to watch part of what the Hornets future might look like could make it easier.

Following that previous stretch of games are five straight road games. Road losses stack up pretty quickly for this team and I think they could lose all five. The remaining nine games will have some wins and losses here and there, but the final outcome won’t be the most important thing.

Development is the most important thing in this last stretch. The Charlotte Hornets can NOT mess this up. There’s just simply been too many disappointing draft picks. Whether that’s on the players, or the coaches and their development, or a mix of both, is up to you to decide. Malik Monk and Dwayne Bacon could provide us some hope, they almost have to.  

If this record were to hold, the Hornets final record would be 34-48. Regardless of who the team drafts, one more year of this could seriously jeopardize the organization’s chances of re-signing Kemba Walker that summer. That is why these post All-Star Break games are essential for the rookie’s development.  

Next: The roller coaster that is the Charlotte Hornets

It’s a shame that another year of Kemba Walker’s prime has been wasted. It’s a shame that somewhat of a resurgence year for Dwight Howard, a guy with plenty of playoff experience has been wasted. That doesn’t mean there isn’t anything salvageable, so the Hornets cannot miss out on this. I’ve said it over and over, but this is a must for the Hornets.