Recently, I wrote about the Utah Jazz being the NBA’s hottest team and how they’re my pick to make a dent in the NBA Playoff picture this spring. But it’s easy to say good things about the #1 team in the league. So now I will tell you about my team to watch: The Charlotte Hornets.
It’s funny we talk about Michael Jordan the basketball player, Michael Jordan the brand, even Michael Jordan the meme. What we hardly talk about is Michael Jordan the Owner of the Charlotte Hornets. That’s probably because of his inability to find success in the decade he has been the team’s owner. But that all could be coming to an end with this young team taking from before our eyes.
2020 NBA Draft and Free Agency
The Hornets had 3 picks in the first 2 rounds of this year’s draft and with the no 3 overall pick selected LaMelo Ball. Vernon Carey Jr. from Duke was their selection with the number 32 pick and Nick Richards from Kentucky rounded out their 2nd round at 42. LaMelo is now, Carey and Richards are building blocks for the future.
The Hornets managed to obtain Gordon Hayward from Boston in a sign and trade deal. In Hayward, the Hornets are hoping for an anchor who can lead this young team consisting of P.J. Washington and Devonte’ Graham, Miles Bridges, and Terry Rozier.
The Buzz on LaMelo is real
LaMelo Ball did not have a traditional entry into the NBA. Beginning in Chino Hills, CA, and then skipping UCLA, to playing in Lithuania and Australia, even playing his father’s league for the one season it existed, things got weird for the youngest Ball brother.
The Hornets, however, saw the 19-year-old LaMelo as the missing piece of their puzzle in his rookie season. And on February 1st, he got his first NBA start. LaMelo scored 14 points and 7 assists in that one. Since then, he is averaging 21.6 points per game on 49% shooting. He put up a career-high 34 points on Utah’s top 4 defense. And he is mounting what looks to be an impressive Rookie of the Year campaign. Safe to say I don’t think he’ll be coming off the bench again anytime soon. James Borrego has seen the writing on the walls, LaMelo is a starter in this league.
The Future is Now in Charlotte
The Hornets currently sit at 7th in the East and in a playoff position. If they continue on this path, they could easily be a playoff team in 2021, an experience that would do wonders for this young team. This year they feel like more of a first-round playoff team at best.
But you gotta start somewhere.
Just making the playoffs would be outstanding for this core. And you can build on it from there, considering that the Hornets have the pieces in place. Michael Jordan has built a team that might make the 2020s feel a lot like the 1990s did.
Hey maybe they’ll bring back those sweet Starter jackets too!
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