It does not appear that much is expected from the Charlotte Hornets. This is a team coming off a season that saw just about everything go wrong last year. Additionally, this is a team that is in the transitional phase of their competitive cycle and is more than a few years from being in a position to genuinely contend. With that in mind, it is not exactly a surprising development to see the Hornets considered to be an afterthought in the Eastern Conference.
John Hollinger of The Athletic (subscription required) recently put together an article Predicting how the NBA Eastern Conference’s bottom 8 will shake out, and the Hornets are projected to be outside the Top 10 teams in the east. With a 35-47 record prediction that puts them as the 11th-best team in the conference, is Charlotte.
There is a possibility that the team could be intriguing during the course of the year if their fair share of things going right, which so far they haven’t, but the Hornets could and should be at least in the mix for the consolation prize that is the Play-In Tournament.
"“There’s a playoff upside here if a healthy Ball plays like a top-20 player, Miller is plug-and-play from day one and Williams rewards the team’s faith in him as a starting five. More likely, however, is an at-times-exciting-but-ultimately-forgettable run to almost making the Play-In.”"
What it comes down to is understanding competitive timelines. This is about the talent on the roster, the development of the younger players on the team, and whether or not they ship out veterans later in the year. The Hornets need to use this year as a building year, one to solidify the foundation of what should be a competitive future. Anything more than that, Play-Tournament chances or better, is just a bonus.