The Hornets‘ season came to a disappointing end on Tuesday night, as the team’s defense provided little resistance in a 144-117 blowout loss to the Pacers. Indiana made 55.2% of its shot attempts, including 16-of-35 threes (45.7%) en route to the play-in win.
Despite the anticlimactic end, there was plenty to like about the Hornets’ season, says Brendan Marks of The Athletic. LaMelo Ball‘s promising rookie season was the most obvious bright spot, but the development from other young players such as Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington also showed that the club is on the upswing, as Marks writes. And participating in the play-in game at all was a good first step toward developing into a contender.
“It’s just a matter of how do we respond this summer? Do we use this as fuel, or do we feel sorry for ourselves?” head coach James Borrego said after the game. “Part of this is etching this in our memory bank, so as we grow, as we get better, as we work this summer, we don’t forget this moment right now. Next time we’re in this position, we’ll respond better. We’ll be better.”
Here’s more on the Hornets:
- While he declined to identify specific players or positions that the team will be targeting in the offseason, Borrego expressed confidence that Charlotte will be an attractive destination for free agents this summer, per Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter links).
- One of the Hornets’ own free agents, Malik Monk, is open to re-signing with the team, he said today. “If they want me here, I’d love to be here,” Monk said (Twitter link via Bonnell). “But I want to feel wanted.” Monk will be a restricted free agent as long as the Hornets issue him a $7MM qualifying offer.
- Devonte’ Graham‘s free agency and potential contract extensions for Bridges and Terry Rozier are among the issues facing the Hornets this offseason, writes ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link). In his own preview of Charlotte’s offseason, Bonnell notes that finding a solution at center and adding shooting will be among the club’s top priorities.