Last season — the most successful one since the franchise returned to Charlotte — ended in Florida.
It ended crazily, as things often do in that state. It ended in Game 7, only one removed from future Hall-of-Famer Dwyane Wade staring down an overgrown boy in purple and morphing into a sharpshooting version of our own beloved in-game announcer (and one-time long range sniper) Dell Curry.
But now, He-Who-Must-No-Be-named has taken off to his home Chicago, and a once-immortal franchise who for years held the Southeast Division hostage, now looks to be cooling its jets, rejoining the rest of the pack.
However, the Heat did made sure that occasionally-dominant big man (and Charlotte native) Hassan Whiteside would be hanging around for some time, giving the promising young giant a massive extension this off-season, ensuring the teams capacity to block shots — and deliver cheap ones — for years to come. A massive extension that potentially inspired the Hornets’ signing of Roy Hibbert. The former All-Star was not expected to be on the team’s radar this off-season, but its not crazy to think that the arrival of Dwight Howard in Atlanta — as well as the issues presented by Whiteside — influenced the franchise’s decision to bring in a legitimate rim protector who just so happened to come up huge in the team’s season opener in Milwaukee.
So while we will in fact be witnessing a rematch of last year’s heartbreaking playoff defeat, these squads are mid-makeover. Miami’s rebuild has slowly begun, and the Hornets are inching towards their potential as a top Eastern Conference contender.
It’s time for the Hornets to exact revenge. Yes, small potatoes in game two of 82, but a win against their former overlords would set the appropriate tone to what could be a fantastic season.