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Preview: The surging Hornets face the misfiring Pistons

Can the Hornets extend their win steak to five games tonight at home?

Atlanta Hawks v Charlotte Hornets Photo by David Jensen/Getty Images

What: Charlotte Hornets (19-43) versus Detroit Pistons (X-X)

When: 7:00 PM EST

Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, NC

How to watch: Bally Sports Southeast, NBATV

It’s a battle of the Eastern Conference cellar dwellers as the Hornets host the Pistons.

Despite their lackluster overall record, the Charlotte Hornets have won four straight games, including an impressive win against the Miami Heat on Saturday. The Pistons, meanwhile, have lost 13 of their last 16 games.

This game could have implications in the 2023 draft lottery odds as Charlotte currently has the fourth worst record in the league and Detroit has the third worst.

As At the Hive’s fearless leader Johathan DeLong recently wrote, “If the Hornets do finish with the fourth worst record, they’ll have a 12.5% chance of landing the number one overall pick. If they manage to get into the bottom three, those odds will increase to 14.0%. With the fourth worst record, the Hornets will have a 48.1% chance of picking fourth or higher. With a bottom three record, those odds increase to 52.1%.”

So, yes, a Hornets loss tonight could ultimately improve Charlotte’s odds of landing the No. 1 overall pick and winning the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes, but only slightly.

Beating the Detroit Pistons at home is something the Hornets should be able to do.

Point guard Killian Hayes is averse to scoring and averages just 9.5 points in 27 minutes per game and has started much of the year after an unfortunate season-ending injury to Cade Cunningham. Rookie guard Jaden Ivey, the No. 5 pick in last year’s draft, is having a solid season averaging 15.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game. Veteran forward Bojan Bogdanovic leads the team with 21.4 points per game while hitting over 40% of his 3-point shots. Power forward Isaiah Stewart averages over 11 points and eight rebounds per game, but shoots below 45% from the field. Rookie center Jalen Duren, the No. 13 picks, averages just over eight points and eight rebounds per game.

Detroit’s bench consists primarily of veteran guards Cory Joseph and Alec Burks, both of whom are solid rotational players. Burks averages 13 points per game and is hitting a blistering 43% from the 3-point line. The Pistons traded for former Golden State big man James Wiseman who has fit in nicely thus far with his new team.

Tonight’s game will be a good opportunity for Hornets young big men Mark Williams and Nick Richards to show what they can do. Detroit has one of the least imposing collections of power forwards and centers in the league. One of the biggest goals Steve Clifford should have for the rest of the season is developing Williams and Richards, so getting them some extra involvement in some offensive sets in this one could help in that development process.