Michael Jordan's Charlotte Hornets really had a successful 2020-21 NBA season by the team's recent history and standards. LaMelo Ball's displays after being selected third in the 2020 NBA Draft changed the team's outlook, while the controversial signing of Gordon Hayward paid some dividends as well.
The team finished the regular season with a 33-39 record and entered the NBA's Play-In tournament. However, the Hornets had to cope with Hayward's absence and were eliminated by the Indiana Pacers in the first game of the Play-In round. Ball also dropped out with a wrist injury when the team had a 20-21 record and was fighting for the fourth seed.
3 Players the Charlotte Hornets can use to improve in the 2021 NBA off-season
Still, the Charlotte Hornets seem to have a good future in the Eastern Conference, mainly behind Ball's prowess. The 19-year-old won the 2020-21 NBA Rookie of the Year award for his solid display of talent, basketball passion, and confidence on the court.
However, every team needs to consistently get better before direct rivals catch up and eventually leave you behind. The Charlotte Hornets were 22nd in Offensive Rating, 18th in Defensive Rating, and were also 19th in rebounds per game, so a top big man could work for them.
Entering the postseason or the Play-In tournament is not a given for James Borrego's Charlotte Hornets in the 2021-22 NBA season. With that in mind, the team's front office could think about moving some solid players to acquire talent who would resolve certain issues on the roster.
In this article, we will take a look at three players that the Charlotte Hornets can use to improve the team for next year.
Without further ado, let us start.
#3 P.J. Washington
P.J. Washington is a second-year player for the Charlotte Hornets and he's been solid in his young NBA career so far. Washington was a good contributor for the Charlotte Hornets in last year's regular season. A trade package involving him could work for several teams in the league looking for a power forward, as Washington can be an offensive threat even on the three-point line.
In two NBA seasons so far, Washington has averaged 12.6 points, six rebounds, 2.3 assists, a steal and a block per game (122 appearances). Moreover, he has made 44.7% of his field goals and a solid 38.1% of his three-pointers in 520 attempts in his career. Washington also shot 74% from the free-throw line last season and is a solid NBA player.
#2 Devonte' Graham
The Charlotte Hornets have a crowded backcourt with LaMelo Ball, Devonte' Graham and Terry Rozier all playing similarly on the court. While it was a good thing and the team benefitted from it in the 2020-21 NBA campaign, losing a bit of backcourt depth to bring in one or two players of high caliber would work for GM Mitch Kupchak.
Graham, a third-year player, has showed his capabilities since his second season in the league, when he was given more minutes of action on the court. Over the last couple of seasons, he has recorded an average of 16.6 points and 6.5 assists per game.
Scoring-wise, Graham is heavily reliant on three-point shots, as he has averaged 13.8 field-goal attempts per game over the last two seasons. Nine of these came from three-point range and he made 37% from beyond the arc.
#1 Terry Rozier
Terry Rozier is one of the three best players on the Charlotte Hornets' roster. However, he might be the team's biggest asset in possible trade talks in the 2021 NBA off-season.
Although Gordon Hayward proved to be arguably the best player on the team, moving him and his huge contract would be difficult for the Charlotte Hornets.
On the other hand, Rozier will be in the final year of the three-year, $56.7-million deal he signed in 2019 (with the Boston Celtics on a sign-and-trade). He is owed around $17 million for the 2021-22 NBA campaign, making him a possibility for some contending teams.
Rozier has averaged 19 points, four rebounds and four assists per game in two years with the Charlotte Hornets and has proven that he is a solid NBA starter. He's also put up 43/39/84 shooting splits for the Hornets (in 132 games) and would surely draw plenty of attention from multiple NBA teams if he's on the trade market.
Also Read: 3 players Charlotte Hornets should trade for in the 2021 NBA offseason