What Does the Charlotte Hornets Starting Lineup Look Like for the 2021–22 Season?

Published 09/10/2021, 2:56 PM EDT
Feb 20, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Charlotte Hornets forward P.J. Washington (25) and Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball, right, hug Charlotte Hornets guard Terry Rozier after Rozier hit the game-winning shot against the Golden State Warriors at Spectrum Center. The Charlotte Hornets won 102-100. Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports


The Charlotte Hornets possibly surprised experts and fans around the league the most, last season. And not just with their entertaining and flashy game on the court, but also with their ability to yield results and build a strong core to build their franchise around. The biggest surprise of last season for them was arguably the performance of LaMelo Ball.

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He not only won the Rookie of the Year, but he did that despite having missed 21 games because of injury. Whereas in the MVP discussion, Joel Embiid lost a lot of his votes because of his injury, LaMelo Ball still kept the support of experts around the league. After all, despite this break in his season because of a wrist injury, they still voted for him as the Rookie of the Year over Anthony Edwards.

Nearing the start of the upcoming season, let’s look into what the Hornets’ starting lineup might look like with some fresh additions.

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Mar 18, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball (2) greets Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) before the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Potential starting lineup for the Charlotte Hornets

Guards

Point Guard: LaMelo Ball

The son of former NBA star, LaVar Ball, Lamelo has entered the league with a statement victory of being the Rookie of the Year. This puts him on a trajectory that leads to a path of becoming a legend in the league. In the past 10 years, 7 out of 10 players who won Rookie of the Year became All-Stars. His passing IQ and ability from beyond the arc make him a perfect fit for this position in the starting lineup.

Shooting Guard: Terry Rozier

This dynamic scorer has taken the league by surprise. A point guard by choice, he will have to change his role slightly to become a shooting guard in the starting lineup. His speed, athleticism and shooting ability make him a lethal offensive asset for the Hornets. However, he will have to ensure that he is consistent. This comes after the Hornets recently signed Kelly Oubre Jr. from the Golden State, who is keen on becoming a starter soon.

Forwards

Small Forward: Gordon Hayward

One of the two veterans in this lineup, he has several ways in which he can contribute to the success of the team. His priority will be to remain healthy as he missed a huge part of last season due to an injury.

Considering that he can provide a steady offense to this team along with some playmaking and rebounding, his health will be of key importance to the franchise. As Oubre can also play as a Small Forward, Hayward will have to be extremely consistent in order to keep his position as a starter.

Jan 16, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Charlotte Hornets forward Gordon Hayward (20) makes a layup over Toronto Raptors center Aron Baynes (46) during the first quarter at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Power Forward: Miles Bridges

The astonishing athlete, Miles Bridges, has cemented his name in the starting lineup of this franchise. His athleticism and speed make him an unstoppable force on the court. His classic dunks have given several spectators around the league a new set of highlights to watch.

However, PJ Washington started more than him in this position last season. So this position will actually be a tough choice for the coaching staff to decide on, since both PJ Washington and Miles Bridges have similar stats yet very different style on the game.

Centre: Mason Plumlee

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Mason Plumlee is the only player on this roster who was a center in the league last year as well. So by default, being the most experienced with this position on the team, he will be a starter for sure. He is a nightly double-double threat, averaging 10.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per game last season.

What does this mean for the Charlotte Hornets?

Michael Jordan has found a young core asset to build his roster around. LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier are the keys to success for the Hornets. It is crucial for them to remain healthy for the Hornets to have any chance of qualifying for the playoffs. Plumlee needs to be on constant rotation to give the young draft picks more exposure in the game at first.

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However, towards the end of the season, Plumlee’s defensive skill can be a make-it-or-break-it factor. Because while their offense is as strong as it is, their defensive holes were the main issue that cost them a loss in the play-in tournament last season.

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Chaitanya Dadhwal

156 articles

Chaitanya Dadhwal is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Even though his journalism is driven by his desire to understand both sides of an argument and give a neutral perspective, he is biased towards Houston Rockets and Arsenal, and he has shown exactly how loyal he can be through tough times. Currently a Law student at Jindal Global Law School, he aims to have his own sports management firm one day and enjoys rap music during his time off.

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