In short - no. The likelihood that the Hornets, or any team, sweep the NBA Awards is about as likely as Tyrus Thomas coming back to win MVP. However, Charlotte’s play in the last two games has the serotonin flowing so it’s time for some optimism. What would the path look like for Charlotte to take home every NBA Award?
Coach of the Year
Potential Candidates - James Borrego
Now obviously Borrego is the only guy that would be eligible to win this award for the Hornets, and with the way things are going don’t expect this to happen in this universe. The Hornets are in the hunt for a play-in spot this season and a team with that projection will simply not be good enough to warrant a bid for coach of the year. Just look at some of the past winners and where they ranked in the standings - Nick Nurse (2nd in the East), Mike Budenholzer (1st in the East), Dwayne Casey (1st in the East), etc. There would have to be a major turnaround in Charlotte that catapulted them to the top of the East. That’s the only possible miracle that could get Borrego in the running for this award.
Most Improved Player
Potential Candidates - Miles Bridges, Terry Rozier
This is one of the more realistic possibilities on the list, with both Bridges and Rozier having solid starts to the season. Obviously Bridges had that one game where he really struggled to score the ball, but since then he’s looked great off the bench. Just take a look at the games against the Thunder and the Mavericks. The dude was a torch from behind the arc and provided a real spark in the rebounding game. With some more minutes and some more touches, maybe this could be a breakout season.
This stepback 3 from @MilesBridges was filthy: pic.twitter.com/rGfMNUt2yX— Richie (@RichieRandall) December 31, 2020
As for Rozier, he’s had an extremely hot start and has been the best scorer on the Hornets so far. He’s been red hot from the field and from deep, and has been able to get buckets seemingly at will. Whenever the Hornets need a basket Rozier just seems to be there. With Devonte’ Graham and LaMelo Ball in town there was some speculation as to whether or not he could be on the trade block, but he’s made a pretty good case that he should stay thus far. (Not to mention that the dunk on KD was a thing of beauty.)
Sixth Man of the Year
Potential Candidates - LaMelo Ball, Miles Bridges
It may seem weird to see a rookie in the race for the Sixth Man of the Year award, but it wouldn’t be the first time it happened. Back in the 2005-06 season Ben Gordon took the award home as a rookie on the Chicago Bulls. He averaged 15.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.0 assists on roughly 41-41-86 splits. Ball is currently averaging 10.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.5 assists on roughly 45-53-83 splits. Now obviously he most likely won’t keep that efficiency up, but if he can up his scoring a bit and the Hornets are a respectable seed in the East, you never know what could happen.
As for Bridges, as mentioned in the previous award breakdown he’s been really solid thus far. If he can keep up a solid amount of production off the bench and start garnering more minutes, it’s very possible that his scoring will improve. This could put him in a solid place to be a candidate for this award.
Rookie of the Year
Potential Candidates - LaMelo Ball
LaMelo Ball with the deep 3️⃣— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) December 27, 2020
9 PTS - 3/4 FGM in 5 Minutes. pic.twitter.com/RWzKlxiEoq
This one is probably the most likely of the bunch. Ball has been really good so far this season in the four games the Hornets have played and there’s a ton of buzz around his name. The media has eaten up every little thing the kid has done from his passes to his first bucket. This dude could do jumping jacks on the sideline and make it onto national television. If his efficiency can remain solid and his overall stats start to get better and better there’s no reason he shouldn’t be a finalist for this award.
Defensive Player of the Year
Potential Candidates - Miles Bridges, Gordon Hayward, PJ Washington
Surprisingly enough the Hornets have been one of the better defensive teams so far this season. They rank sixth in points allowed per game (108.3) and fourth in defensive rating (104.6) as a team. Regardless, the DPOY award has just as much to do with stats as it dies with defensive play as a team, and the Hornets don’t really have any players that are able to put up amazing defensive stats. As of now Bridges (0.8 SPG, 1.5 BPG, 100 DRtg), Hayward (1.3 SPG, 0.0 BPG, 106 DRtg), and Washington (1.0 SPG, 1.0 BPG, & 104 DRtg) have the best looking stats to win the award, but realistically it’s just not going to happen.
Most Valuable Player
Potential Candidates - Gordon Hayward
. @gordonhayward weaving his way through the defense for an easy ✌️!#AllFly | @hornets | #CHAatDAL pic.twitter.com/qi7mTGFbJX— FOX Sports: Hornets (@HornetsOnFSSE) December 31, 2020
In all reality, Hayward is the only guy on the Hornets that could have any slim chance at taking home the MVP trophy. In order for this to happen a lot of things would have to fall perfectly into place. First of all he would have to bump up his scoring numbers to around 25 or so a game at the very least. This would be in addition to the roughly six rebounds and six assists he’s currently averaging. On top of that, he would have to lead the Hornets to a top seed in the Eastern Conference, thus giving him a solid narrative to build the MVP campaign off of. Again, the likelihood of this happening is almost zero, but crazier things have happened.