3 Make or break stretches in the Charlotte Hornets 2023-24 schedule

LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /
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Charlotte Hornets vs Orlando Magic
Gordon Hayward, Charlotte Hornets & Paolo Banchero, Orlando Magic (Photo by David Jensen/Getty Images) /

3. The Charlotte Hornets must prove they belong (3/3-3/11)

One indicator of a successful NBA team is their performance against lesser competition. Truly great teams put away inferior opponents in a convincing fashion – they leave no doubt. Fraudulent teams hiding near the top of the standings find themselves consistently dueling it out in tight games against the bottom of the league.

When March rolls around, there will inevitably be a few teams that have given up on the current season in favor of improving potential draft positions. There’s a solid chance that some combination of the Raptors (3/3), Magic (3/5), Wizards (3/8), Nets (3/9), or Pistons (3/11) will find themselves in that predicament.

In order to be taken seriously, the Hornets must improve against teams outside of playoff contention. Charlotte finished 15-31 against teams below .500 last year, largely due to an inability to stay healthy.

Improved injury luck and continuity are vital pieces to this puzzle. The Hornets were the 6th-most injured team last year when sorted by total games missed due to injury, meaning they’re due for some positive regression.

This stretch of games is a perfect time to make up some ground in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Ideally, the Hornets will have played their way into some respect by this point in the schedule. If all goes according to plan, the Hornets have a chance to be favored in 3-4 of these games.

Having success against this slate of lesser competition is a step in the right direction to breaking the cycle of eternal mediocrity and proving that the Charlotte Hornets belong in the top half of the Eastern Conference.

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