When: 7:00 pm EDT
Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, NC
How to watch: FOX Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
It’s been 196 days since the Hornets have played a meaningful basketball game. The Summer League and the preseason are fine, but there’s nothing like real NBA basketball.
The Hornets get a good match-up to start their season. The Bulls finished last season with a 22-60 record. They’re looking to take the next step towards being a playoff team in the East, but that could take some time.
Offseason acquisitions Tomas Satoransky and Thaddeus Young will help with their ascension. Both are tabbed to come off the bench, where they’ll add stability to a young team that badly needs it.
Zach LaVine was this team’s go-to scorer a year ago, and he’ll probably retain that role this year. He averaged 23.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game, numbers that could’ve warranted an All Star selection if his team was better and his defense wasn’t so bad. Lauri Markkanen is looking to build off a strong sophomore season where he averaged 18.7 points and 9.0 rebounds per game while Otto Porter, Wendell Carter, and Kris Dunn are expected to fill in the gaps and play strong defense. And of course, tonight will mark the debut of rookies Coby White and Daniel Gafford.
The Hornets will probably use the same starting lineup they used at the end of the preseason—Terry Rozier, Dwayne Bacon, Miles Bridges, PJ Washington, and Cody Zeller. It’s a really young group, but they’ll be fun to watch. They’ll get eased into the season against a less-than-elite Bulls team before a tough stretch of games against Western Conference foes.
There’s a lot to watch for tonight. Is PJ Washington’s preseason play for real? Is Malik Monk actually putting it all together? Can Terry Rozier efficiently lead this team? Tonight won’t answer all those questions, but it’ll give us an idea of what to expect as the season unfolds.