Disappointing outlook for Hornets in future power ranking

LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

It is widely accepted that the Charlotte Hornets are still a little ways away from being a competitive organization. At some point, this is a team that should turn the corner from a perennial bottom feeder into something resembling a competitive franchise. But in the eyes of Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report, three years is not enough for that to happen.

While forecasting future power rankings of teams three years from now, Bailey has the Hornets still being on the lower end of the spectrum. Charlotte comes in ranked 26th out of 30, an outcome that would be pretty disappointing considering the current state of this team. Bailey does happen to mention a bright spot in the current face of the franchise, LaMelo Ball.

"“Things were pretty bleak for the Charlotte Hornets in 2022-23, but they won 43 games the season before and have potential all over the roster. Over the last two seasons, 22-year-old LaMelo Ball has averaged 21.1 points, 7.9 assists, 6.6 rebounds, 3.3 threes and 1.5 steals, while shooting 38.4 percent from deep. He’s already a star and could be a top-10 to -15 player in three years.”"

The talents of Ball have been well documented, but it is not possible for him to do everything himself. If the Hornets are going to turn things around, Ball is going to need quality teammates. Two players in particular are named by Bailey as potential players that could help Charlotte’s quest to improve.

"“If Brandon Miller is the kind of high-volume floor spacer he has the potential to be, and Mark Williams develops into a prototypical rim-runner and -protector, Charlotte could be in pretty good shape.”"

Miller is very much an unknown as he is a rookie yet to play a single NBA minute. Charlotte’s decision to take him over Scoot Henderson resulted in heavy criticism for the franchise, and only time will tell if things work out in their favor. There is potential for Williams to become a starting-caliber center in this league, but it is going to take some time for that to happen if it ever does. The 18 games started by Williams were encouraging last year. However, it is important not to place too much stock into a late-season stretch that can often produce misleading results.

A lot of things are going to have to go exactly right for the Hornets to crawl out of the basement of the Eastern Conference. There are also a few potential roster moves this team should consider making sooner rather than later. And by roster moves, this is specifically about trading away veteran players on a team going nowhere, clearing minutes to distribute to rookies and developmental players who need them.

With so much unknown about how things are going to work out in Charlotte, their ranking of 26th overall three years down the line does not seem unrealistic. Sure, there is an outcome that sees this team far surpass this rather low bar, although there is also the potential for this team to underperform these expectations and be worse off down the line.