Their rise in the Eastern Conference as a playoff contender was one of the biggest surprises of the 2020-21 campaign. But despite the unmistakable improvement, the Charlotte Hornets could have had an even better season. Had certain factors fallen in their favor, they could have been in the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
Here are five things that didn’t go as planned for the Charlotte Hornets.
#5 Charlotte Hornets’ offensive struggles
The 2020-21 season showed just how much work the Charlotte Hornets need to do offensively next campaign. They were 23rd in the league in offensive rating (110.1) and in points per game (109.5). Part of the reason is number one on this list but the Hornets could have made up for it with better defense, but they were just mediocre at best in that area (16th in offensive rating).
Additionally, they coughed up the ball 14.8 times, which is seventh-worst in the league.
With so many young players on the Charlotte Hornets roster, these offensive struggles should be expected. But things should change next season with a season under their belts.
#4 Three-point defense
The Charlotte Hornets surrendered the second-most three-pointers to their opponents last season, giving up an average of 14.5 threes per game while also allowing the most three-point attempts per game (39.5). Allowing opponents so shoot and make so many three-pointers was a recipe for disaster and it had everything to do with their decision to surrender threes rather than points in the paint.
However, coach James Borrego’s emphasis in defending the paint made it seem as if defending the three-point arc was merely an option, and not one that also needed his players’ attention. It got so bad late in the season that in their last five games (all losses), they allowed teams to make 39.3 percent of their three-point attempts after giving up just 36.4 percent in the first 67 games of the season.