The Charlotte Hornets enter Sunday afternoon’s game against the Atlanta Hawks with a 27-24 record and remain in fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings. Despite LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward, and Malik Monk missing time with injuries, with Friday’s win against the Milwaukee Bucks, Charlotte finished its recent six-game road trip winning four games.
The Hornets are on track to advance to the playoffs for the first time since the 2015-16 season. Sunday’s game against the fifth-place Hawks could be a first-round preview. Charlotte will play 14 of their last 21 games at home; the home-court advantage could provide additional aid to the Hornets in achieving their postseason goals.
This season is far from over but that does not mean we can’t take an early look at what the Hornets may look like next season. Following the departure of former franchise star Kemba Walker to the Boston Celtics in free agency after the 2018-19 season, the Hornets are well ahead of schedule in their rebuilding plan. This offseason will be key in deciding which of their young pieces will be in the team’s long-term future, adding an impact player in free agency, and selecting another young player in the draft that can possibly slide into the rotation and contribute right away.
There should be no questions on who should start in the Hornets’ backcourt next season, but there are questions in the frontcourt. The Hornets’ have a glaring need at center; they must upgrade the position in order to be more competitive and perform efficiently on both ends of the court. Also, will this be the offseason that Charlotte makes a decision about who they will move forward with at the power forward position? Let’s take a look at our way-too-early predictions for the 2021-22 Charlotte Hornets’ starting lineup.