3. Identify a path
The Charlotte Hornets must determine which path is the most realistic for them to take this season. It is easy to simply say that the Hornets should look to compete for at least a Play-In Tournament spot or even a genuine playoff spot. But is that truly an attainable goal?
There is a reason why the Hornets ended up with the second overall selection in the NBA Draft Lottery. Charlotte’s 27-55 record was the fourth-worst in the NBA last season and second-worst in the Eastern Conference. It is convenient to blame the absence of LaMelo Ball for where they ended up in the standings at the end of the year, but the Hornets were not exactly competitive with him in their lineup. Charlotte won just 13 of 36 games that Ball appeared in last season, so they were not exactly a powerhouse with him in the lineup.
Charlotte may be in a better position this season to not necessarily tank by handing minutes to undeserving players but trade away a couple of veterans, which can clear the way to playing time for the younger players on their roster who they need to get answers on. Moving Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier could allow the Hornets to acquire some draft capital while also allowing their younger players to develop and build chemistry with the core players for the franchise’s future.
This may not be the most exciting thing to hear from a fan standpoint, but this is about making reasonable decisions to help out down the line. This is not a team that in its current form is ready to make a competitive run.
At the end of the day, the organization needs to make a definitive step in a direction as trying to straddle the line between attempting to compete and tanking is the expressway to nowhere. Teams that operate in this manner are perpetually irrelevant, and that is not a designation the Hornets want to find themselves in.