What: Charlotte Hornets (0-0) vs Atlanta Hawks (0-0)
When: 7:00pm Eastern
Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, NC
How to watch: Bally Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
Outfitting: Hornets–Classic (teal); Hawks–Statement (black)
Odds: Hornets +3.5, O/U 235
Hornets – Cody Martin-out (knee), Miles Bridges-out (suspension), James Bouknight-out (knee), Frank Ntilikina-out (leg), Bryce McGowens-doubtful (ankle)
Hawks – Wesley Matthews-out (calf)
It’s time for some Hornets basketball, and they’re already debuting the classic unis too. For the second straight year, I can say that the offseason has mercifully come to a close, though some of its fallout still may yet be felt. We’ll cross those bridges when we get to them. For now, it’s time to talk about actual basketball.
The Hornets, who were badly bitten by the injury bug last season, start the 2023-24 season on a similar note. They’ll be without expected starter Miles Bridges for 10 games (for now) and key bench piece Cody Martin for who knows how long. They’ll also be without Frank Ntilikina for a few weeks, which led them to go out and sign Ish Smith for guard depth. We’ll probably see the same starting lineup that we got in the preseason finale:
PG: LaMelo Ball
SG: Terry Rozer
SF: Gordon Hayward
PF: PJ Washington
C: Mark Williams
Rookie second overall pick Brandon Miller should lead the bench unit in minutes. He looked more composed in the preseason than he did in the summer league. It’ll be interesting to see how he looks now that the games count and the rotations are set.
The Hawks look a lot like the Hawks we’ve known for a couple of years now. They notably unloaded forward John Collins for just a second round pick after years of supposed tension between he and Trae Young. It’s hard to gauge what they’re going to do with their starting lineup given how much they rotated the squad during the preseason, but Saddiq Bey seems like the most likely candidate to get Collins’ spot. He and Hunter will provide spacing for the Hawks pair of ball dominant guards while Clint Capela and Onyeka Okongwu are the prototypical rim defenders. Bogdan Bogdanovic and Patty Mills are scary microwave scorers off the bench.
The Hornets have won their last two when they opened the season at home. Tonight is the first of three straight winnable home games to open the season, so the Hornets have every opportunity to get the season started on the right foot.