NBA North Carolina: A Guide to the NBA Charlotte Hornets

Fact Checked by Editorial Staff
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 Charlotte Bobcats expansion franchise was formed in 2004 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

Now under new majority ownership, the Hornets and Head Coach Steve Clifford appear committed to rebuilding around LaMelo Ball and Brandon Miller after trading several key assets before the 2024 trade deadline. 

Charlotte Hornets Team

The Hornets are 13-41 on the season through Feb. 22, 2024, which ranks them as the 27th team in the NBA. They are No. 13 in the Eastern Conference, which means they would miss the playoffs if the season ended today.

πŸ€ 2023-24 Record13-41
πŸ€ NBA Rank27 of 30
πŸ€ Eastern Conference Rank13 of 15
πŸ€ Southeast Division Rank4 of 5
πŸ€ ESPN BPI Power Index30 of 30 (-9.3)
βœ… Rankings Last Verified:February 23, 2024

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Charlotte Hornets Offense

Here's a look at the Hornets offensive stats and rankings, per ESPN.

πŸ€ Points Per Game108.6 (28th)
πŸ€ % of Points off Fast Breaks11.7 (20th)
πŸ€ % of Points off Turnovers14.6 (12th)
πŸ€ % of Points in Paint45.8% (9th)
πŸ€ Assists Per Game25 (24th)
πŸ€ Field Goal %45.9% (28th)
πŸ€ 3PT %35.9% (19th)
πŸ€ Free Throw %78.7% (12th)
πŸ€ Offensive Rebounds Per Game10.5 (T-17th)
πŸ€ ESPN Offensive BPI-5.4 (29th)
βœ… Rankings Last Verified:February 23, 2024

The Charlotte Hornets offense goes as star point guard LaMelo Ball goes. He didn't play between Nov. 26 and Jan. 12, but still leads the team in points per gameβ€”which should give you some indication of how the team is faring as a whole. 

His backcourt mate Terry Rozier stepped up in Ball's absence, averaging 24.3 points a game. However, Rozier was traded to the Miami Heat in exchange for Kyle Lowry and a future first-round pick on Jan. 23. Lowry, by comparison, is averaging 8.2 points per game this season, so this trade is clearly about future growth for the Hornets. Lowry is not expected to play until Feb. 8 at the earliest, per CBS Sports.

On Feb. 8 trade deadline, Gordon Hayward was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder and PJ Washington was traded to the Dallas Mavericks, as the organization looks to get a head start on rebuilding. 

Forward Miles Bridges took on some of the offensive load, ranking third in scoring and leading the team in average minutes played (36.8).

The Hornets offense struggles from three-point range, as they rank 19th in three-point percentage and gain just under 46% of their points from the paint. While the Hornets offense does struggle in many areas, they have found success scoring off turnovers and fast breaks. 

The problem, as you'll see below, is that they don't force many turnovers on defense.

Charlotte Hornets Defense

The Hornets defense ranks in the lower third in most major defensive stat categories:

πŸ€ Defensive Rebounds Per Game30.5 (29th)
πŸ€ Defensive Rebound %70.8% (20th)
πŸ€ Steals Per Game6.5 (28th)
πŸ€ Blocks Per Game5.0 (19th)
πŸ€ Opponent Points Off Turnovers17.8 (26th)
πŸ€ Opponents 2nd Chance Points14.3 (20th)
πŸ€ Opponents Points off Fast Breaks14.2 (16th)
πŸ€ Opponents Points in Paint53.7 (23rd)
πŸ€ ESPN Defensive BPI-3.3 (29th)
πŸ€ NBA.com Defensive Rating121.4 (30th)
βœ… Rankings Last Verified:February 23, 2024

The Hornets struggle to rebound and keep opponents from getting second-chance points. Center Mark Williams is perhaps the only player close to double-double range, averaging 12.7 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. He and Nick Richards average just over 1 block per game, while every other Hornets defender averages less than 1 per game.

Three of the team's top five players in stealsβ€”Cody Martin,  LaMelo Ball, and Gordon Haywardβ€”have been dealing with injuries this season, which is limiting the Hornets' ability to create turnovers.

Notable NBA Hornets Team Players

⭐️ Starters

PG Tre Mann

SG Cody Martin

SF Brandon Miller

PF Miles Bridges

C Nick Richards

πŸ“ˆ Contributors Off the Bench

PG Seth Curry

PF Grant Williams

PF Davis Bertans

G Nick Smith Jr.

G Bryce McGowens

C Nathan Mensah

πŸ’¬ Backups

PG Vasilije Micic

F JT Thor

F Leaky Black

G Amari Bailey

PG Theo Maledon

πŸ€• Injuries

PG LaMelo Ball (ankle)

C Mark Williams (back)

LaMelo Ball enters his fourth year with the Charlotte Hornets as the face of the franchise. He fell into 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. 

However, he's only played in 22 games so far this season and only 36 total games the season before. Ball broke his ankle last season and has struggled with lingering ankle injuries. 

Power forward P.J. Washington signed a three-year contract extension this offseason. Still, Washington was traded to the Dallas Mavericks for a 2027 first-round draft pick and two Charlotte natives, F Grant Williams and G Seth Curry. The Hornets also sent two second-round picks to Dallas as part of the deal. 

Veteran, Gordon Hayward was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder for G Tre Mann, G Vasilije Micic, and F Davis Bertans, and two second-round picks.

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: L, 130-117
  • ❌ Dec. 11 vs. Miami Heat: L, 116-114
  • ❌ Dec. 13 at Miami Heat: L, 115-104
  • ❌ Dec. 16 vs. Philadelphia 76ers: L, 135-82
  • ❌ Jan. 14 @ Miami Heat: L, 104-87
  • ❌ Jan. 20 vs. Philadelphia 76ers: L, 97-89
  • βœ… Jan. 23 @ Minnesota Timberwolves: W, 128-125
  • βœ… Feb. 14 vs. Atlanta Hawks: W, 122-99
  • πŸ€ March 1 @ Philadelphia 76ers
  • πŸ€ March 5 vs. Orlando Magic: If the Hornets want to ascend the division rankings and make the playoffs, the Magic is one if the teams they need to defeat after failing to do so earlier in the season.
  • πŸ€ March 16 @ Philadelphia 76ers
  • πŸ€ March 19 vs. Orlando Magic
  • πŸ€ March 23 @ Atlanta Hawks
  • πŸ€ April 5 vs. Orlando Magic
  • πŸ€ April 10 @ Atlanta Hawks

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. Michael Jordan still looms large as one of the most-searched people in North Carolina.

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.

πŸ“… 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.

πŸ“… 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.

πŸ“… 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 fourth-year point guard LaMelo Ball, the Hornets' expectations are higher more this year than ever in his tenure, though the Hornets NBA Championship odds remain long.

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 at the arena and on broadcasts.

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

Author

Shannon Lane is a commercial editor and fact-checker for BetCarolina. She's spent the last decade working in sports media, including at NFL Media and as a reporter/fact-checker at Sports Illustrated. She covers everything NFL football to give North Carolina sports betters the best information on the Panthers and other NFL teams.

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