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As the 2020-21 season ends with the Milwaukee Bucks winning the NBA championship, we reflect on this season while looking forward to the next.
For the Charlotte Hornets, the 2020-21 season showed promise led by Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball. The Hornets finished the regular season 33-39 and as the 10th and final seed in the play-in tournament, ultimately losing to the Indiana Pacers.
Looking forward to the 2021-22 season, ESPN and Bleacher Report put together early power rankings for the league.
See below to find out where the Hornets land in both rankings.
ESPN: No. 18
In the ESPN 2021-22 power ranking, the Charlotte Hornets landed at No. 18. Nick Friedell of ESPN explained his thinking behind Charlotte's ranking.
"The Hornets just missed a playoff berth, but the future still appears bright in Charlotte thanks to the breakout play of LaMelo Ball. The 19-year-old point guard gave the Hornets the type of electricity they've been searching for in recent years, and with the improved play of a young core that includes Devonte' Graham, P.J. Washington, Miles Bridges and Malik Monk, the Hornets appear to have the pieces in place to push back into the postseason. Gordon Hayward's ability to stay on the floor will be crucial for a young team that has a promising future with Ball paired alongside veteran guard Terry Rozier."
Friedell is right -- the success of the Hornets going forward depends on the health of Gordon Hayward and the continued growth of the young core of Rozier, Washington and Bridges alongside Ball, who is on the brink of stardom. https://twitter.com/LonzoWire/status/1417967731132010502?s=20
Bleacher Report: No. 16
Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report slotted the Hornets at No. 16 in B/R's 2021-22 power ranking.
"The Hornets looked like a surefire playoff team before LaMelo Ball fractured his wrist last season and should find themselves in the postseason next year as long as the 2020-21 Rookie of the Year can stay healthy.
Ball conducts the orchestra in Charlotte, but there's a lot to like about the rest of the roster."
The Hornets were surely on their way to a playoff berth before Ball's injury, which can only leave the organization and fan base excited for what's to come in Charlotte following what's hoped to be a successful offseason through the draft and free agency.
"The Hornets still need a starting center, however, a position they'll need to either fill in the draft (11th overall pick) or free agency (up to $26.8 million in cap space if the team renounces Malik Monk and Devonte' Graham)."