Hornets' lottery 'luck' could foreshadow more troublesome events coming soon

Things could get a lot worse for the Hornets this offseason.
Charlotte Hornets, LaMelo Ball
Charlotte Hornets, LaMelo Ball / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Charlotte Hornets won just 21 games and had the third-worst record in the NBA. They hoped to get a top pick to add to their core of Brandon Miller and LaMelo Ball, but Charlotte tumbled to sixth in the lottery. There is plenty of uncertainty in the 2024 NBA Draft. Still, it was rough for the franchise that has not qualified for the playoffs since 2016. Ball’s injuries and the team’s lack of success have fans already worried.

The Hornets have the third-worst record in the NBA over the last eight years with just one winning season during that stretch. Things have been bad, but they could get worse this summer. Charlotte has a future star in Brandon Miller. It is not enough as the Hornets need more pieces.

Was their lottery fall a sign of things to come? There is plenty that could go wrong this offseason as the Hornets look to take a step forward. Here is a look at how things may get much worse.  

Hornets miss on top pick in uncertain draft

There is no clarity on the number one selection in the 2024 NBA Draft, and most have even the best player rated as a late lottery pick in most years. In a class filled with uncertainty, there will be plenty of busts and what looks like wild selections five years from now.

Charlotte is under new management, but they do not have the best track record in the draft. It is why they have the current longest playoff drought in the NBA. The Hornets desperately need to nail this year’s selection, but it could go poorly.

Miles Bridges leaves in free agency

Bridges played the most minutes and led the team with 1,449 points last season. There is no questioning his skill or scoring ability, but the 26-year-old is an unrestricted free agent this summer. He missed the entire 2022-23 season, and there are certainly concerns about giving him a long-term deal.

Bridges is expected to draw interest from multiple teams. The Hornets have his Bird Rights and cannot afford to lose the 6’7 forward as he enters his prime. Detroit and Utah will likely offer massive deals. Do the Hornets win the bidding war? It is up to Bridges.

Charles Lee struggles as 1st year head coach

Lee has a decade of coaching experience but is a first-time NBA head coach. He would not be the first one to struggle in a new position. There are reasons for optimism, but Charlotte will have a young roster. Things could go sideways quickly if he loses the locker room or struggles to help his talent develop.

LaMelo Ball cannot stay healthy

This may be the most important thing for the Hornets' present and future. Ball has played just 184 games in his first four NBA seasons and only 58 over the last two years combined. The 2021 Rookie of the Year has not been available enough, and things must change if the Hornets plan on returning to contention.

The 22-year-old could not get his ankles right this season. He was an All-Star in his only healthy campaign, but will never return playing an average of 46 contests per year. If the Hornets' lottery luck is a sign of what is to come, things could be bleak in Charlotte.

Can the new ownership, front office, and coaching staff turn the franchise around? The Charlotte Hornets need something to go their way. It did not in the draft lottery, but the Hornets will have more chances this summer. Stay tuned to see how things shake out.