The Charlotte Hornets enter the 2022-23 campaign having not made the playoffs since the 2015-16 season, but the franchise has high expectations this year after making a few changes over the summer.
One of the biggest changes was firing head coach James Borrego and hiring Steve Clifford, who previously coached the franchise from 2013-18.
However, it'll still be difficult for the Hornets to compete in a tough Eastern Conference that includes the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat.
That said, here's a look at some of Charlotte's top games, championship odds and a record prediction for next season.
2022-23 Hornets Schedule Details
Season Opener: Oct. 19 at San Antonio Spurs
Championship Odds: +12000 (via FanDuel)
Full Schedule: NBA.com
Atlanta Hawks (First Game: Oct. 23)
The Atlanta Hawks beat the Hornets 132-103 in last season's play-in tournament, which marked the second straight year Charlotte had been blown out in the play-in round.
After being embarrassed, the Hornets will be looking to get a little revenge in 2022-23.
However, that will be no easy task as Atlanta bolstered its starting rotation over the summer by acquiring Dejounte Murray from the San Antonio Spurs. It now boasts a starting five that includes Murray, Trae Young, De'Andre Hunter, John Collins and Clint Capela.
While the two teams split their regular-season series in 2021-22, it seems Atlanta might have the upper hand in 2022-23, though Charlotte should not be overlooked.
Boston Celtics (First Game: Nov. 28)
One of the more difficult matchups of the season for the Hornets will come against the Boston Celtics, which reached the 2022 NBA Finals before falling to the Golden State Warriors.
It won't be easy for LaMelo Ball and Co. to go up against one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, but the Celtics offense should also see a boost in 2022-23 following the acquisition of Malcolm Brogdon from the Indiana Pacers, making things even more difficult for Charlotte.
That said, if the Hornets can hang with the likes of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart, it will be a good sign for a team that will likely be battling for one of the lower playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.
The Hornets are one of the most exciting teams in the NBA with their mix of young talent and athleticism. But that's not going to be enough to help them get over the hump in 2022-23.
Ball can be reasonably expected to take another step forward this coming season. Miles Bridges remains a free agent, though it's hard to know what his future in the NBA is after being accused of domestic assault by his girlfriend. The 24-year-old pleaded not guilty to three felony domestic violence charges in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Wednesday, per ESPN's Baxter Holmes.
The Hornets will have to hope Gordon Hayward can remain healthy. He hasn't played more than 49 games in a season since the 2019-20 campaign but, he's a solid contributor when healthy.
Charlotte could be a competitor for the East's No. 5 seed, but it could also fall anywhere from the No. 8-10 seeds with competition in the conference on the rise.
Record Prediction: 45-37
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