NBA North Carolina: A Guide to the NBA Charlotte Hornets

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Charlotte Hornets Stadium

The Charlotte Hornets were established as an expansion team in 1988, but moved to New Orleans in 2002. After operating as the New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans, the franchise returned to Buzz City in 2004 as the Bobcats before reclaiming the Hornets name in 2014.

They did not qualify for the playoffs last year and have the longest current playoff drought in the NBA. The expectation is that they turn it around under returning head coach Steve Clifford and break the drought this season.

Charlotte Hornets Team

The Hornets go into the 2023-2024 NBA season with high expectations, returning a young and talented core to complement with rookie Brandon Miller, though the Hornets NBA Championship odds remain long. Charlotte is led by its star point guard LaMelo Ball, who averaged 23.3 points per game and 8.4 assists per game in only his third year in the Association.

Charlotte Hornets Offense

The Charlotte Hornets offense goes as star point guard LaMelo Ball goes. He currently leads the team with 22.2 points per game and 8.6 assists per game.

His backcourt mate Terry Rozier is the other offensive powerhouse, averaging 22.0 points per game, although he is struggling with 25.8 3-point percentage. Forward Gordon Hayward, forward P.J. Washington, and center Mark Williams round out the top scorers for the Hornets offense, which will be welcoming back forward Miles Bridges soon after suspension.

Their offensive efficiency ranks in the top half of the league, currently ranking 12th with an efficiency rating of 1.100, according to

Charlotte Hornets Defense

The Charlotte Hornets currently rank last in the league in defense with a rating of 120.3 according to Whether it's steals, blocks, or rebounds, they rank in the bottom half of the league by many defensive stats.

Center Nick Richards leads the team in blocks with 1.3 per game, followed by center Mark Williams and forward Gordon Hayward with 0.7 per game. Hayward leads the team in steals with 1.7 per game, followed closely by point guard LaMelo Ball, who averages 1.6 steals per game.

Notable NBA Hornets Team Players

LaMelo Ball enters his fourth year with the Charlotte Hornets as the face of the franchise. He fell in to the team's lap when the Hornets selected him third overall in the 2020 NBA Draft. Since then, Ball looked every bit the first-rounder he is.

He's steadily improved, impressing peers, fans and fantasy managers alike with his dazzling assists and shots from 3-point range. If one of the Hornets were to make a future All-Star team, he is the most likely candidate.

LaMelo Ball of NBA Charlotte Hornets

The Hornets signed veteran point guard Ish Smith in October as an insurance policy; Ball broke his ankle last season and has struggled with lingering ankle injuries.

The next-highest profile player on the Hornets is forward P.J. Washington. The 25-year-old power forward signed a three-year contract extension this offseason in the hopes that he develops into a dependable and productive running mate for Ball. He peaked with a 43-point game last season, and fans are relying on him to take his game to another level so the franchise can vault into contention.

The biggest question mark for this team is forward Miles Bridges. After a domestic incident, he was out for the year during the 2022-2023 season. At his best, he was a consistent 20+ point scorer and leader of the team. His production upon return from his suspension will play a big role in how the Hornets perform this season.

Charlotte Hornets Most Important Games

🏀 Nov. 26 at Orlando Magic: The Hornets head to Orlando at the end of November to try to take down a division rival. If they want to ascend the division rankings and make the playoffs, the Magic is one if the teams they need to defeat.

🏀 Dec. 11 vs. Miami Heat: The first of a home and home series, the divisional games against the defending Eastern Conference champion Heat will be a true test to see how close the Hornets are to contention.

🏀 Dec. 13 at Miami Heat: This game marks the second of two back-to-back games in Miami. At minimum, the Hornets should at least win one of these games against the Heat for respectability.

🏀 Dec. 16 vs. Philadelphia 76ers: Within the same week, the Hornets play another team atop the Eastern Conference in the 76ers. Again, this gives Charlotte another opportunity within the Conference to show where they are at.

🏀 Feb. 14 vs. Atlanta Hawks: The Hawks currently sit right above the Hornets in the Eastern Conference and Southeast Division standings. A win against them in the middle of the season could either leapfrog the Hornets past them or increase their lead.

Charlotte Hornets Rivals

Having a rivalry will make North Carolina sports betting that much more fun and engaging. The Hornets have a few of their own in the Washington Wizards, Miami Heat, and Atlanta Hawks.

Washington Wizards

The geographically close Wizards and Hornets have a mini-rivalry, considering they are division rivals who play near each other. The other commonality they have is former Hornets owner Michael Jordan once played for the Wizards.

They have yet to play a truly meaningful playoff game or series, but in their bouts in the regular season they have been evenly matched. So far, their rivalry has been limited to playing each other to try to get atop the division.

The Hornets are 70-60 against the Wizards all time.

📅 Date of the Rivalry Games: November 22 and March 8

Miami Heat

Both the Hornets and Heat were established in the NBA in the same year, 1988. Despite having the same birth year, the franchises have gone in two completely directions, with the Heat experiences much more frequent experiences of success, including three NBA championships.

Some may say an actual rivalry budded between the teams in the 1990s when the Hornets traded fan-favorite center Alonzo Mourning to the Heat in November of 1995. Since then, the Heat have gone on to success, leaving the Hornets in the dust, wondering what could have been. More recently, the Heat actually knocked the Hornets out of the playoffs in 2014 and 2016.

The Hornets are 48-74 against the Heat all time.

📅 Date of the Rivalry Games: December 11, December 13, January 14

Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks are the closest NBA team geographically to the Hornets, naturally sparking a rivalry between teams that are separated by about 250 miles. The Hornets have surprisingly done well against the Hawks, despite Atlanta's recent success. They currently have a 68-63 record against the Hawks, and the last time Atlanta won the season series was in 2019-2020.

They have played once in the playoffs, when the Hornets beat the Hawks in four games in 1998.

📅 Date of the Rivalry Games: February 14, March 23, April 10

NBA Hornets 2023-2024 Season Outlook

The Hornets enter the 2023-2024 season with high hopes, returning a developing team from last season, while adding No. 2 overall pick Brandon Miller and forward Miles Bridges from suspension. While the Hornets playoff chances suggest it will be awhile before they make any postseason noise, this team has the pieces to make it happen eventually.

Led by star point guard LaMelo Ball, who is now in his fourth year, the expectations are higher more this year than ever in Ball's tenure with the Hornets.

Charlotte Hornets Stadium

The Hornets play in the beautiful Spectrum Center, located in the Uptown area of Charlotte, North Carolina. It seats 19,077 for NBA games and 20,200 for college basketball games. It opened in 2005 and has been the home of the Hornets ever since.

The Hornets recently announced a partnership with bet365 North Carolina, so visitors at the Spectrum Center could see more sports betting integrations as North Carolina gets ready for launch.

How to Get Tickets to Hornets Games?

The most direct method is to buy tickets for Charlotte Hornets games at the Spectrum Center through the team's official website and their Official Ticket Marketplace, Ticketmaster.

Another popular option is an online ticket resale marketplace like VividSeats or StubHub. These sites allow fans to shop for previously purchased tickets being resold by other individuals. 

Memberships and packages are also available through the Hornets Ticketing office for season tickets or multi-game deals.

Charlotte Hornets FAQs


Edgar Salmingo, Jr. is a lifelong Carolina Panthers fan residing in Los Angeles. He has written extensively about the Panthers for major outlets including USA Today SMG and SB Nation. His Panthers analysis has also been featured on radio shows such as WFNZ and FOX Sports Radio, as well as numerous Panthers podcasts. He currently freelances and you can find his work on Twitter/X.

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