2021 NBA Season Recap Charlotte Hornets: Highs, Lows, & The Future

After each team gets knocked out of the 2021 NBA Playoffs, The Game Day gives each team a season recap, highlighting the highs and lows of the season and looking into the future. This NBA season recap wraps up the 2020-2021 NBA season for the Charlotte Hornets.



2021 NBA Season Recap Charlotte Hornets: Highs, Lows, & The Future

2021 NBA Playoffs Run

Eliminated in Play-In Game by Indiana Pacers

The Play-In game against the Indiana Pacers was a disaster from the start. The Pacers beat the Hornets in blowout fashion, 144-117. Indiana jumped out to a 40-24 lead after the 1st quarter and never looked back. Even with Charlotte scoring 72 in the second half of the game, the Pacers were always one step ahead. The Hornets shot 45.7% from the field but struggled from deep, shooting 30%. It felt like the Pacers couldn’t miss as they shot 55.2% from the floor and 45.7% from three.

Miles Bridges led the team with 23 points and 8 rebounds, while fellow starters Terry Rozier and LaMelo Ball contributed 16 and 14 points, respectively. Off the bench, Cody Zeller went a perfect 7-for-7 from the field to contribute 17 points, and Malik Monk put up 13 points. P.J. Washington and Devonte’ Graham struggled to get going in the matchup, as the two combined for 12 points on 4-for-18 shooting (3-for-12 from deep).


2021 Season Recap Highs: Young Stars Shined

The Hornets have a lot to look forward to as their young stars shined this season. Miles Bridges became one of the most important players on the team down the stretch, which was felt when he was out for 6 of the last 8 games of the season. Averaging 12.7 PPG, a slight dip from last season, Bridges made his impact down the stretch, averaging 20.2 PPG in his previous 10 games. He also proved himself as one of the best dunkers in the league.

LaMelo Ball had a much better season than anyone anticipated, and it could’ve been better had he not missed a month due to injury. The Rookie of the Year candidate averaged 15.7 PPG, 5.9 RPG, and 6.1 APG – he did it all when he was on the court. Ball put up 20+ points in 17 different contests and 6 double-doubles on the year.

Both P.J. Washington and Malik Monk made significant strides this season, with Washington entering his second season and Monk entering the final year of his contract. Washington averaged 12.9 PPG and 6.5 RPG with 10 double-doubles, highlighted by a 42-point performance against the Sacramento Kings on February 28. When Monk was on the court, he looked good, averaging 11.7 PPG and shooting above 40% from the field and from deep.



2021 Season Recap Lows: Injuries Kill Momentum

The biggest downfall of the Hornets season was all the games players missed due to injuries and COVID-19 protocols. The following players missed 15 or more games this season: Gordon Hayward (28 games), LaMelo Ball (21 games), Devonte’ Graham (17 games), Malik Monk (30 games), Cody Zeller (24 games), and Jalen McDaniels (25 games). Combined, those players averaged 78.6 PPG.

Those missed games came at key moments during the season, too. Hayward missed the end of the season, including the Play-In game. Ball got hurt right when he was picking up steam. Zeller missed a large chunk at the beginning of the season. Even though Miles Bridges only missed 6 games at the end of the season, the Hornets went 2-4 and finished the season on a 6-game losing streak.


Looking Towards The Future

The season didn’t finish the way the Hornets wanted, but this was a step in the right direction for an organization that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2016. The people of Charlotte are excited to watch their team, and that has to do with the breath of fresh air their young stars have given them. LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges seem to make an exciting play happen every other possession while Terry Rozier has established himself as a guy to put the team on his back.

With the excitement going on in Charlotte, free agents might be more inclined to join the young and exciting Hornets team. They aren’t there yet, but the Hornets are on their way to becoming a serious playoff contender.


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