Hornets projected lineup and rotations heading into 2023-24 season

The Charlotte Hornets will pair LaMelo Ball with No. 2 pick Brandon Miller next season. Here's how the rotation looks for Steve Clifford's squad.
LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, P.J. Washington, Charlotte Hornets
LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, P.J. Washington, Charlotte Hornets / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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The Charlotte Hornets continue to stumble blindly around the NBA basement without much sense of purpose or direction. Michael Jordan sold the team over the summer. That's probably good, but it only furthers the instability plaguing the franchise.

Before Jordan signed off on the sale, the Hornets selected Alabama wing Brandon Miller with the No. 2 overall pick in June's NBA Draft. There were mixed opinions on Miller as a prospect — he was No. 7 on the FanSided big board — but plenty of smart folks pegged him as Charlotte's best option.

There is natural excitement for any team adding the second pick, especially in such a loaded draft class. Miller was a historically productive freshman for one of college basketball's best teams. Now, he will join former No. 3 pick LaMelo Ball as the Hornets try to build some level of upward momentum.

On paper, the roster has plenty of talent. All-Star forward Miles Bridges is back in the mix after disturbing domestic violence charges kept him away last season. The team recently re-signed P.J. Washington. Terry Rozier and Gordon Hayward are both seasoned vets. The player pool is deep enough to make legitimate progress. It's up to Steve Clifford to put the pieces together.

It's also up to the basketball gods. LaMelo was held to 36 games last season because of injury. He's the lifeblood of Charlotte's organization and the one proven star on the roster. He's still 22 years old too, fully on the upswing. If he's simply on the court, that charges the feel around the team completely.

That said, here is how the rotation will probably shape up.

Charlotte Hornets starting point guard: LaMelo Ball

LaMelo Ball has been a victim of circumstance across three NBA seasons. He is getting wildly disrespected in the broader national conversation because the Hornets are bad and he hasn't been placed in an ecosystem conducive to winning basketball. Ball is not without flaws, but he's one of the most creative passers in the league, a prolific 3-point threat, and a consistently improving all-around scorer.

The Hornets should have absolute, unwavering confidence in Ball as the franchise centerpiece. He's the exact player a young team should want to build around. He's all pace and tempo, run-run-running in transition. His best attribute is the ability to lift up teammates. Ball processes the game at rapid-fire speeds and can make every pass in the book. His sheer ingenuity with the ball generates a lot of clean looks for teammates at every level.

At 6-foot-7, Ball has great positional size. He doesn't always make the most out of the size, but it gives him a foundation to build on physically. It's easy to forget, again, that Ball is 22 years old. He's not a great defender yet, but the size and instincts should translate eventually. He's not a great finisher yet, but he has nutty touch, broad shoulders, and a stretchy 6-foot-9 wingspan. He should eventually get better around the rim.

Ball is a real headache for opposing defenses. He keeps the ball popping and isn't predisposed to dribble into oblivion like some young guards. His 3-point range stretches several feet behind the 3-point line. His floater is butter. If the rim finishing ever comes around, LaMelo is going to be a top-10 offensive engine — plain and simple.

Primary backup point guard: Terry Rozier

Terry Rozier will be the nominal backup point guard whether he starts next to LaMelo Ball or not. Charlotte can stagger ball-handlers to keep one on the floor at all times. That said, whether or not Rozier will — or should — start is one of the more compelling questions facing the team.

Rozier has three years and roughly $73 million left on his contract. He averaged 21.1 points and 5.1 assists on .415/.327/.809 in 35.3 minutes last season. Rozier is a born shot-maker and his 3-point volume is important to Charlotte's offense. The incoming Brandon Miller is a good shooter too, however, and Rozier's defensive limitations could be marginalized with a move to sixth man.

It wouldn't be Rozier's first rodeo as a bench spark plug. He once thrived in that very role for a more competitive Celtics team. Rozier has proven that he can lead the offense and be more than a shot-chucker, but by that same token, he's still a largely inefficient scorer inside the arc who is prone to questionable shot selection.

Charlotte has more wing depth than normal and it's not hard to imagine a world in which Rozier is a full-time reserve.

Other players who could receive minutes at point guard: Theo Maledon, Brandon Miller