Evaluating the Charlotte Hornets Roster for 2020-21
For the first time during his tenure in Charlotte, Michael Jordan has reason to be excited about his squad. Not only did Mitch Kupchak draft an exciting young talent in LaMelo Ball, but the organization coughed up top-dollar to lure in Gordon Hayward via a sign-and-trade.
Combine these two pieces with the young core in place, and suddenly the Charlotte Hornets roster looks like a force to be reckoned with. Perhaps that’s jumping the gun prematurely, but this is a team that packs a lot of punch.
Let’s take a look.
Charlotte Hornets Roster in 2020-21
- Key Additions: Gordon Hayward, LaMelo Ball, Vernon Carey Jr.
- Key Losses: Dwayne Bacon, Nicolas Batum
- PG – Devonte’ Graham
- SG – Terry Rozier
- SF – Gordon Hayward
- PF – PJ Washington
- C – Cody Zeller
Cody Zeller may begin the year as the starting center, but don’t be surprised if he’s eventually unseated by either Jalen McDaniels or Vernon Carey Jr. Bismack Biyombo is also in the mix to get minutes at the “5,” and there has been discussion about playing “small ball” with LaMelo Ball acting as a point-forward.
One shakeup concerning the Hornets starting five is Miles Bridges getting kicked to the second unit in order to make room for Gordon Hayward. Along with Ball, the lottery pick from Michigan State anchors a Hornets bench that’s loaded with playmakers.
- LaMelo Ball
- Miles Bridges
- Cody Martin
- Malik Monk
- Jalen McDaniels
- Caleb Martin
- Vernon Carey Jr.
- Bismack Biyombo
Don’t expect James Borrego and the Hornets coaching staff to employ a 13-player rotation, although it never hurts to have a sufficient group of reserves.
Hornets’ Best Player – Devonte’ Graham
You could go with Gordon Hayward here just as easily, and let’s not forget that Terry Rozier averaged 18 ppg to go along with more than 4 rebounds and 4 assists per night.
On the other hand, nobody on the Charlotte Hornets roster possesses as much explosion as Devonte’ Graham.
From an unheralded second-round pick who averaged fewer than five points per game as a rookie to a player who racked up gaudy numbers in year two (18.2 ppg, 7.5 apg, 3.4 rbg, 1.0 spg), the former Kansas Jayhawk PG skipped the “up-and-coming” phase.
Graham is firmly entrenched as a bonafide stud.
The X-Factor – LaMelo Ball
Is he a point guard? Is he a small forward? Could he play the point forward?
That’s the beauty of being 6’8” with incredible court vision and top-notch ball-handling skills.
Gordon Hayward likes what he’s seen so far from LaMelo Ball ? pic.twitter.com/HQm90HSh6l— Hornets Nation (@HornetsNationCP) December 2, 2020
Coach Borrego has his hands full figuring out what rotation works best, and whether Ball ultimately starts or comes off the bench remains to be seen.
In either case, the 3rd overall pick last month is primed for a 30-minute-per-game type roll. In other words – more than enough court time to make a significant impact.
Final Assessment of the Charlotte Hornets Roster
Credit to Mitch Kupchak and the Hornets front office for pulling the trigger on the Gordon Hayward deal. That transaction, coupled with drafting LaMelo Ball, give the Charlotte Hornets roster a legitimate chance to compete.
That wasn’t the case in 2019-20.
More NBA roster assessments from the Southeast Division are available below.