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Hornets 2019-20 Schedule: Top Games, Championship Odds and Record Predictions

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 12, 2019

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 27:  Miles Bridges #0 and Nicolas Batum #5 of the Charlotte Hornets box out Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers on October 27, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

The Charlotte Hornets are set to begin charting a new path after Kemba Walker, the franchise's cornerstone since being selected with the ninth overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft, left the organization to join the Boston Celtics.

Although the Hornets still feature some promising building blocks, led by Miles Bridges and Terry Rozier, the roster's overall level of talent isn't up to par in a league dominated by star power. That could result in a lot of losses in the short term while trying to find a new elite player to build around.

Let's check out all of the important details for Charlotte's slate for next season after the NBA schedule release. That's followed by a look at some key matchups and a record prediction.

               

2019-20 Hornets Schedule Details

Season Opener: Oct. 23 vs. Chicago Bulls

Championship Odds: 10,000-1 (via Cesars)

Full Schedule: NBA.com

        

Top Matchups

Boston Celtics (Nov. 7, Dec. 22, Dec. 31)

Walker should receive a warm reception in his return to Charlotte. He did everything in his power to help build a winner over his eight seasons with the organization, the front office just couldn't accumulate enough talent around him to seriously contend.

"It was one of the hardest decisions of my life," Walker told reporters about leaving the Hornets. "Charlotte's all I know. I've been there for eight years."

He's now on a Celtics squad with far higher expectations that should handily win the season series with the Hornets.

The head-to-head games will still attract plenty of attention because of the returns of Walker and, to a lesser extent, Rozier to their former home arenas.

                 

Cleveland Cavaliers (Dec. 18, Jan. 2, Mar. 13)

Games between the Hornets and Cavs could end up playing a major role in determining which team ends up having better draft lottery odds. It's a race to the bottom that could also feature the New York Knicks, Washington Wizards and Oklahoma City Thunder.

That said, both teams also feature some exciting young players that should make the meetings quite entertaining. Cleveland has a backcourt consisting of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland that should be expected to steadily improve during the course of the campaign.

Both teams hope their rebuilding efforts result in a relatively quick return to playoff contention, but this season's battles will carry a different vibe.

             

Season Forecast

The Hornets' roster isn't short on depth. Nicolas Batum, Marvin Williams and Cody Zeller will likely join Bridges and Rozier in the starting lineup, while Dwayne Bacon, Malik Monk, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and PJ Washington lead the group of reserves.

That's enough talent to win some games, especially with the rise of load management for top teams to rest players, which they're more likely to do against a non-contender like Charlotte.

So the question is whether the Hornets are merely going to let the season play out or take active steps to reduce their chances of winning during the course of the year. The NBA would like to believe tanking isn't happening, but it's just the reality of the sport in 2019.

It creates a wide range of potential outcomes for Charlotte this season. It could push beyond 30 wins if the front office keeps the roster together and it avoids serious injury issues, but it could fall below 20 if the main goal is finishing as low in the standings as possible.

In turn, somewhere in the middle of those outcomes is the safest bet.

Record Prediction: 25-57