Hornets, LaMelo Ball Predicted to Miss Playoffs in 2021-22 Season

LaMelo Ball and the Hornets aren't predicted to be a playoff team next season.
LaMelo Ball and the Hornets aren't predicted to be a playoff team next season. / Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

LaMelo Ball fever came to Charlotte last season, and Ball nearly helped lead the Charlotte Hornets to the playoffs one season after they had the No. 3 overall pick in the draft. 

Charlotte lost five straight games to end the 2020-21 season, which caused it to slip all the way to the No. 10 seed in the NBA’s Play-In Tournament. 

The Hornets weren’t able to climb out of the play-in, and oddsmakers expect more of the same in the 2021-22 campaign. WynnBET currently has the Hornets favored to miss the playoffs next season at -225 odds. They are just +185 to make the postseason. 

Charlotte certainly improved this offseason, as it added forward Kelly Oubre Jr. to improve its wing depth after Gordon Hayward missed time at the end of last season. Charlotte also extended guard Terry Rozier’s contract after Devonte Graham left in free agency. 

Losing Graham (14.8 points per game last season) hurts, but I love the two picks the Hornets made in the draft. Charlotte added UConn guard James Bouknight, a pure scorer, to the roster even though he was projected to land inside the top 10 in the 2021 NBA Draft.

The Hornets also picked up University of Texas big man Kai Jones in the first round after making a trade with the New York Knicks, and Jones had some serious highlights in the NBA’s Summer League.

Full of young talent, the Hornets are going to be an exciting team to watch this season even though there will be growing pains as the odds suggest. 

The problem for Charlotte’s playoff chances is that the Chicago Bulls, who missed the postseason last year, got a lot better with the additions of Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan. Vegas now has the Bulls as -150 favorites to make the postseason. 

The Indiana Pacers, who also missed the playoffs last season, are -175 favorites to make the postseason. Outside of that, the only team predicted to miss the postseason after making it in the 2020-21 campaign is the Washington Wizards

That leaves Charlotte on the outside looking in, with the Knicks, Miami Heat and Boston Celtics all improving this offseason to hopefully solidify their spot in the playoffs. 

Maybe a healthy Hayward changes the Hornets’ fortune, but he’s shown that he’s injury prone over the past few seasons. Ball and company will be a great watch for their high-flying, alley-oop throwing offense, but it doesn’t seem like it’ll be enough for them to compete for a playoff spot.

Get in on the action with the WynnBET app.