As I look at it right now, I would say YES! Where they fall will remain to be seen and will depend a lot of the health of this team.
Remember just a year ago, most folks thought they would be a playoff team, but the injury bug killed this team. Started in the pre-season when both Gerald Henderson and Lance Stephenson missed a lot of time in training camp and it would continue into the season with both Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson missing a ton of games.
One thing I can say with strong confidence is scoring will be much better for the Charlotte Hornets. Last season, this team was 28th out of 30 in scoring in the NBA. That's not going to get you in the playoffs most years and it didn't in 2014-15.
Look at the current roster for the Hornets and 7 of the 14 players have scored in double figures in a single season in the NBA at some point in their career.
Here is a list with their highest average in a single season.
Al Jefferson- 23 ppg
Kemba Walker- 17 ppg
Nicolas Batum- 14 ppg
Jeremy Lin- 14 ppg
Marvin Williams- 14 ppg
Spencer Hawes- 13 ppg
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist- 10 ppg
NOW, I'm not saying all of these guys will average double figures in scoring for next season, but it shows they have the ability to do it because they have done it before.
Of the other guys on the roster, Brian Roberts has averaged 9 points per game in a season, Jeremy Lamb has averaged 8, and Cody Zeller has averaged 6 and 7 ppg in his 2 years in the league and is still developing.
The offensive potential continues with the players who have 1 year in the league and the rookies.
During Summer League play in Orlando, 1st round draft pick, Frank Kaminsky averaged 15 points per game, Aaron Harrison averaged 13, Troy Daniels averaged 13, and PJ Hairston averaged 12. Once again, you have to temper expectations because it is Summer League.
Another big difference fans will notice with this roster is the amount of combinations head coach Steve Clifford can play in each line up.
The starting five of Kemba, Batum, MKG, Kaminsky, and Big Al is nice, but the combos after that are solid as well. At point guard, coach can come with Lin, Harrison, and Roberts in a pinch. At shooting guard, he can play Hairston, Lamb, Lin or Roberts. At small forward, he can trot out Marvin, Lamb, Hairston, or Batum who can guard 3 positions on the floor. At power forward and center, he can rotate Hawes and Cody in either spot.
When you got this kind of scoring punch and players who can play multiple positions on your roster, coaches can manage injuries better and let's face it, injuries are a part of the game-- they will happen. This season, the Hornets will be more capable of handling them when they do occur.
With so many combinations to work out, training camp will be REALLY competitive this fall for the Hornets. There will be a lot of jocking for playing time and this is a great problem to have for coach Clifford and the Hornets coaching staff.
The potential for this team is very high. Why can't they be the Atlanta Hawks of 2015-16?
They can be IF they have time to develop chemistry during training camp.
If you are a Panthers and a Hornets fan, there is plenty to look forward to in the upcoming sports seasons. So much potential, Potential, POTENTIAL. Then again, waiting on potential can get coaches fired and frustrate fans, but let's not even think like that. It's going to be a good season in both football and basketball in the Queen City!
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