Southeast Notes: Hornets, Bridges, Magic, Hawks

The Hornets took a major step back in 2022/23, going 27-55 after finishing ’21/22 with a 43-39 record. However, there’s an “unmistakable aura” of optimism surrounding the team entering the ’23/24 season, according to Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer.

Oh, definitely,” head coach Steve Clifford said. “But I think a big part of it is the veteran players, their attitude and the fact that they came back for all of September. They are in great shape, they’ve shown great leadership.

I think having Miles (Bridges) back is part of it. I think the older players’ confidence and how Mark Williams and Nick Richards played at the end of last year is part of it. And they have a lot of confidence in Brandon (Miller) already. But, yeah, we are definitely in a good place.”

Here are a few more notes from the Southeast Division:

  • As part of his suspension following a plea of no contest to felony domestic violence charges, Bridges will be ineligible to compete in preseason games, Boone writes for The Charlotte Observer. The Hornets forward, who missed all of last season while his legal case played out, will be suspended for the first 10 games of ’23/24.
  • The Magic have plenty of depth at guard, with several players vying for regular playing time. Markelle Fultz, who started all 60 of his games last season at point guard, says the group has had a competitive yet supportive training camp, as Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel writes. “We’re all interchangeable and we can learn from each other,” Fultz said. “The main thing is competing while we’re out there on the floor but also supporting each other while we’re not. When the next guy is in, you cheer them on and learn from their mistakes and what he’s doing well.”
  • The Hawks and Quin Snyder are still learning from each other in the head coach’s first training camp with the team, but veteran guard Patty Mills says things have gone well so far. The next step is transitioning from practices to preseason games, per Lauren Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (subscriber link). “I think that’s where we want to see the carry-over,” Mills said. “You know, we can do it perfectly in practice and at a slower pace, but you get game speed, game action, live looks in a real game and that’s where we want to see the carryover. So I think it comes at a perfect time with how we’re moving forward with a lot of the stuff. So bring on the games and let’s do what we’ve been practicing and doing such a great job of in an actual game.”
  • In case you missed it, Hornets center Kai Jones has submitted a trade request. Details here.
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