The Charlotte Hornets showed great improvement from their 23-42 run in the 2019-20 NBA season. LaMelo Ball's introduction made a huge difference as the rookie quickly acclimatized himself to the NBA.
The Charlotte Hornets came close to bringing their four-year postseason hiatus to an end but failed to take advantage of the play-in tournament. They finished the 2020-21 season ranked 10th in the Eastern Conference with a 33-39 run.
As with most teams, injuries derailed their season as they made a decent start to the 2020-21 season. Ball was phenomenal for the Charlotte Hornets, recording performances that won him the NBA Rookie of the Year.
The addition of Gordon Hayward to their roster also helped boost their performance. Although his $120 million can be seen as expensive, the forward has delivered the goods for the Charlotte Hornets.
The Charlotte Hornets stand a good chance of qualifying for the 2022 NBA playoffs with the same squad if they remain healthy. However, it is only wise that they increase their chances by making a few additions to bolster their roster.
James Bouknight was the 11th overall pick by the Charlotte Hornets in the 2021 NBA Draft. His signing has strengthened their backcourt comprised of Ball, Terry Rozier, Malik Monk, and Devonte' Graham.
That said, let's take a look at three bold predictions for the Charlotte Hornets' 2021 NBA offseason.
#1 The Charlotte Hornets will re-sign Devonte Graham
Devonte Graham has been a revelation for the Charlotte Hornets as the guard has immensely contributed to the offense. With his impressive performances over the last two years, the 25-year-old is worthy of a contract extension.
If the Charlotte Hornets hope to make a run for the 2022 NBA playoffs, re-signing Graham would be a necessity. He has proved himself to be a top-tier scorer and will be a great fit to lead the second unit.
Given their backcourt depth, it might be a hard decision to make. Graham has been on a minimum salary since joining the Charlotte Hornets but will be worth every penny going forward.
The Charlotte Hornets will have to make him a Qualifying Offer of $4.7 million if they hope to keep him on as a restricted free agent. Graham's performance will make him appeal to teams that need rotation point guards. It is hard to imagine the Hornets letting him go with how impactful he has been.
#2 The Charlotte Hornets will pursue an elite rim protector
The Charlotte Hornets struggled on defense during the 2020-21 NBA season. They finished 18th in defensive rating and were one of the league's worst perimeter defenders. To help improve their defensive rating in the new season, the Hornets need to pursue an elite rim protector.
Cody Zeller and Bismack Biyombo were average at best defending the basket. Moreso, the Charlotte Hornets have acquired Mason Plumlee, which would make their return unlikely as they are headed to unrestricted free agency. To further beef up their defense, the Charlotte Hornets could pursue Nerlens Noel or Richaun Holmes in free agency.
If they are looking to explore trade routes, they could pursue Myles Turner. Rumors suggest the big man might be on the Indiana Pacers' trade block this offseason. If the Charlotte Hornets play their cards right, they could land him.
The acquisition of any of these players will bolster their defense, and by a significant margin. His presence in the paint will allow their defense to put more pressure on the perimeter as they are guaranteed a top shot blocker is behind.
#3 The Hornets will offer Miles Bridges an extension
Miles Bridges is one of the Charlotte Hornets' most notable extension-eligible players. He has proven to the franchise that he is a talent they need to hold on to.
Bridges is eligible for a rookie five-year $168 million rookie contract extension. It would pay the Charlotte Hornets to seal the deal now as their commitment might get higher if they allow it dally.
The 2020-21 season was his best so far as he became a more efficient scorer, recording 50.3 percent from the field and shooting 40 percent from three-point range. Overall, the 22-year-old showed improvements in all areas of his game and is definitely a keeper.
If the Charlotte Hornets agree on a deal with Bridges this offseason, they stand a good chance of making the playoffs. He is very effective on offense and has partnered well with Hayward and Ball so far. If the trio spend more time on the court, they will provide the Hornets with an unstoppable offensive unit.