2021 Charlotte Hornets Depth Chart
|Point Guard||Devonte' Graham||4||LaMelo Ball*||2||Brad Wanamaker||9|
|Shooting Guard||Terry Rozier||12||Malik Monk||1|
|Small Forward||Gordon Hayward||20||Cody Martin||11||Caleb Martin||10|
|Power Forward||PJ Washington||25||Miles Bridges||0||Jalen McDaniels||6|
|Center||Cody Zeller||40||Bismack Biymobo||8|
After another disappointing season for the Charlotte Hornets, Michael Jordan decided to shake things up from the top down within the organization. He hired former Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak to run the front office and fired head coach Steve Clifford. The Hornets brought in former Spurs’ assistant James Borrego in hopes of turning the team around and getting into the playoffs. Borrego is a relatively unknown name amongst the casual NBA fans but he has spent the last three seasons coaching alongside Gregg Popovich and has also spent time with the New Orleans Hornets and the Orlando Magic. They finished just 36-49 last season and missed the playoffs by seven games. Even though the Eastern Conference got significantly weaker with LeBron James heading to Los Angeles and the Cavaliers most certainly becoming a basement dwelling team, the Hornets will need to drastically improve this season if they want to make their way back into the playoffs. Dwight Howard is no longer wearing a Hornets uniform, and not having his presence in the paint could hurt them, while they added Bismack Biyombo and Tony Parker to their squad via free agency.
Kemba Walker is coming off his second-straight season of being an Eastern Conference All-Star and he will once again spearhead an offense that ranked 10th in the league last season, scoring 108.2 points per game. Walker had the second-best season of his career last year, averaging 22.1 points and 5.6 assists per game, while shooting 43.1 percent from the floor and 38.4 percent from beyond-the-arc. Depth at the point guard position was an issue for them last season with Michael Carter-Williams and Malik Monk getting minutes behind Walker, although that won’t be much of an issue this season. Charlotte went out and signed Tony Parker in the offseason and he brings a veteran presence to the second unit and one some familiarity with James Borrego. Parker had an injury-riddled season last year and was only able to average 7.7 points and 3.5 assists in 19.5 minutes per game but with a full offseason under his belt he should be back to full strength this year. Nicolas Batum will share the backcourt with Kemba Walker and will look to improve on a season where he only averaged 11.6 points and 5.5 assists per game and should enjoy having Parker on the team, as well, so he won’t have to handle the ball at times with the second unit. The Hornets have veteran Jeremy Lamb backing up Batum and Malik Monk back there, as well, and Monk could benefit from seeing minutes ahead of Lamb. Monk was a little bit of a disappointment for Charlotte last season and struggled to find consistency on the offensive end. He shot a measly 36 percent from the floor and averaged just 6.7 points in 13.6 minutes per game.
Depth at the small forward position could be a major concern for Charlotte if Michael Kidd-Gilchrist continues to have issues staying healthy, as they have rookie Miles Bridges backing him up, so Lamb could spend some time playing that position this season. Both Marvin Williams and Frank Kaminsky give the Hornets much needed shooting at the power forward position, while they will likely be offensively challenged at the center position. Losing Dwight Howard will most certainly hurt the Hornets this season as he was the only other Hornets player to average over 15 points per game last season. Howard’s biggest contribution to the team was his 12.5 rebounds per game, a mark that ranked him third in the NBA and helped the Hornets rank third in the NBA with 45.5 per game, and that rebounding will be sorely missed.
Cody Zeller and Bismack Biyombo will have to step up to replace Howard with Zeller being the most likely candidate to start for the Hornets. Zeller is coming off an injury-riddled season where he averaged just 7.1 points and 5.4 rebounds in 19 minutes per game. Biyombo was supposed to be a defensive specialist for the Magic last season but he struggled to defend the rim and keep opponents off the boards, and the Magic were 4.3 points per 100 possessions better with him off the floor last season. Beyond those two big men, Charlotte also has Willy Hernangomez waiting in the wings and he has shown flashes of brilliance at times in his young career. Hernangomez has been buried on the depth chart in both Charlotte and New York but could end up overtaking both Biyombo this season and could fill in for Zeller if he can’t stay healthy.