PJ Washington's rebounding, LaMelo Ball's inexperience and more: 3 weaknesses Charlotte Hornets need to address this offseason

PJ Washington
PJ Washington's rebounding, LaMelo Ball's inexperience
(L-R) Jalen McDaniels, LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier and Miles Bridges of the Charlotte Hornets
(L-R) Jalen McDaniels, LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier and Miles Bridges of the Charlotte Hornets

The Charlotte Hornets are an exciting team to look at in the 2022-23 NBA season, but they have several issues that need to be fixed before training camp begins. They have one of the worst playoff records in NBA history, not getting past the first round since 2002.

The Hornets had a history of not drafting well but have now improved drastically in that department. Some of their recent selections, especially LaMelo Ball, have been great, and they are on the right path.

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They have a great young core of Ball, Terry Rozier, Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington while rookies like James Bouknight are waiting for their turn. They have also had qualified veterans to guide them, like Gordon Hayward, Isaiah Thomas, Montrezl Harrell and others. However, they need to retain Thomas and Harrell in free agency or else they lose a lot of their veteran depth.

They signed new coach Steve Clifford after they parted ways with James Borrego and Kenny Atkinson rejected the position. With Clifford will come a new coaching staff as well.

The Hornets enter the season with a lot of uncertainty. Are they going to be a playoff team? Are they going to fight for a play-in tournament spot? Or are they focusing on developing and not rushing into a postseason pursuit?

What do the Charlotte Hornets need to fix this offseason?

Just like any young team looking to make their mark, the Hornets have a lot of unanswered questions. They are looking to improve in the standings while their core group is still developing.

While the East is not expected to be as tough as the West, it still isn't easy to enter the playoffs. Teams like the Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors have all improved. Plus, no one knows what the New York Knicks will look like.

The Hornets players and, most importantly, their front office have some work cut out for them this summer. Let's take a look at a few weakness they need to address before training camp begins.

#1: Defense

Miles Bridges of the Charlotte Hornets defends D'Angelo Russell of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Miles Bridges of the Charlotte Hornets defends D'Angelo Russell of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The biggest issue the Hornets faced last season was defense. They were ranked in the bottom five in most defensive categories, and their perimeter defense was abysmal. They ranked dead last in opponent 3-point attempts and 23rd in opponent 3-point shooting percentage. They were bottom five in on-ball defense among their point of attack defender.

They also have no paint defense, and a lack of rim protection in the East is deadly as there are more talented big men in the East than in the West. That is the main reason why they haven't survived the play-in tournaments.

The lack of size can also be compensated by help defense and weak-side recovery, but the team needs to lock in and not just focus on getting buckets. However, if the Hornets don't acquire more size, they will consistently lose, which brings us to the next point.

#2: Size and rebounding

P.J. Washington of the Charlotte Hornets
P.J. Washington of the Charlotte Hornets

Charlotte desperately needs size on its roster. The Hornets are poor in shot-blocking, paint defense, rebuilding, boxouts and everything else that comes with having taller players. They cannot win without a bonafide center, and the front office needs to constantly look for options. Washington often gets benched, and they let go of Cody Zeller and Bismack Biyombo.

They picked up Mark Williams in the draft with the 15th pick, and many have applauded their selection. The 7-foot-2, 242-pound big man out of Duke is certainly going to get a starting spot on ateam that critically needs rim protection and rebounding.

#3: Bench experience and depth

Mark Williams of the Charlotte Hornets in the 2022 NBA Summer League
Mark Williams of the Charlotte Hornets in the 2022 NBA Summer League

The Charlotte Hornets were 0-7 in overtime last season, and that shows their lack of experience and depth. They are one of the league's youngest teams and need to acquire some veterans. The Hornets specifically need players who are in their mid-to-late 20s and can remain poised under pressure while leading the locker room. Players like Kelly Oubre Jr. and Cody Martin are great examples.

They need to trade Mason Plumlee and possibly even Gordon Hayward to acquire more assets and size. They are both 32 years old and don't fit the timeline of this young group. They can find several pieces in exchange for the two veterans.

Most importantly, they have no proper backup at point guard. Bouknight isn't a natural playmaker and also hasn't blossomed into a solid rotation player. They consistently have Rozier play the role even though he is more accustomed at shooting guard.

The Hornets are certainly going to face issues next season as accomplishing all these goals is going to be tough. However, Ball and company are expected to be better than they were and come out guns blazing.

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Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein
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