Washington Wizards 2019-20 Season Preview: Charlotte Hornets

Washington Wizards Bradley Beal (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Bradley Beal (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Neither of these two teams will be competing for a championship this season, but we could be in for some compelling games when the Washington Wizards meet the Charlotte Hornets.

Washington Wizards record vs. the Charlotte Hornets last season: 1-3

Hornets added: Terry Rozier, PJ Washington

Hornets lost: Kemba Walker, Tony Parker, Frank Kaminsky, Jeremy Lamb

Alright, folks. As we continue our preview of the upcoming Washington Wizards season and our tour through the Southeastern Division, we have arrived at the matchup every NBA fan is anxiously awaiting for: the Washington Wizards vs. the Charlotte Hornets.

Just kidding. Unless of course, you’re into contests against conference cellar dwellers. It’s like the inverse of Los Angeles Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers.

The betting lines over at OddsShark have the Wizards and the Hornets as the two longshots to win the division. They also both have some of the worst odds of making the playoffs. But even if the teams aren’t great, the scores might still be high. Neither team scored less than 110 in any of last year’s matchups.

While the Wizards didn’t fair too well against the Hornets last season, winning just one of their four games against Charlotte, they should be much more successful this season. Kemba Walker’s gone, and he killed the Wizards last season, averaging 30 points, 6.3 assists, and 4.5 rebounds against Washington. He was quite literally doing it all for Charlotte during most of those games, putting up an insane 34.9 Usage Percentage. No other Hornets player scored more than 20 points in more than one of their games against the Wizards last year.

Of course, Charlotte is hoping Terry Rozier can help supplement some of the obvious dropoffs Charlotte will experience at the point without Walker. Right now, Walker is obviously the better player, but he’s also the older player by four years. Rozier could develop in a Walker-like player. Their fourth seasons’ stats, per Basketball-Reference, are probably closer than many would think.

From a pure scoring perspective, Rozier posted better numbers last year (his fourth season) than Walker did during the 2015 season (his fourth season). Their shooting percentages, both inside and beyond the arc, are nearly identical. Rozier actually edges out Walker by thousandths of a percent in both. And while Rozier may have a better effective field goal percentage and true shooting percentage now than Walker did at the same point in his career, Kemba was proving to be a better point guard. The one glaring point guard-y stat that jumps out is Assist Percentage. Walker’s was a whole ten percentage points higher in 2015 than Rozier’s was last season. 27.1 percent for Walker in 2015 vs. 17.7 percent for Rozier last season.

Wizards to Watch

With a lot of youth on both the Charlotte and Washington rosters, these matchups should give us a glimpse into the future for both franchises. Are they onto something with the cores they’re building, or will they find themselves back here again in a couple of seasons?

Whether or not the Wizards take that next step and break out of the NBA’s bottom tier is tied to, at least in some part, last year’s lottery pick, Troy Brown Jr. After spending the beginning of his rookie year with the Capital City Go-Go, Brown impressed at times towards the end of the Wizards season, especially against the Hornets.

Brown only played in three of the team’s four games against the Hornets last season, but certainly made the most of his time on the floor. Averaging just over 17 minutes in those three games, Brown put up 9.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game.

We should see more of Brown this season…a lot more. He could even work his way into the starting lineup by the time the Hornets make their second trip to DC. Expect Brown to be buzzing against the Hornets this season.

2019-20 Game Predictions

Friday, November 22 in Washington

This game is the last of a four-game road-trip for the Hornets. They’re playing the New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors, and Brooklyn Nets in the six days leading up to this game. They’re tired. They lose in Washington.

Tuesday, December 10 in Charlotte

While game one was the last of a road trip fro Charlotte, game two is the last of a long homestand for the Hornets. Plus, it’s the first game of a three-game trip for Washington. Charlotte ends their homestand with a win and will kick off the Wizards’ road trip by handing them an L.

Thursday, January 30 in Washington

In their first meeting of the new year, the Wizards will have a new addition to their starting lineup since the December 10 meeting. By this time, expect Troy Brown Jr to be getting starter minutes. Wizards win at home.

Next. Wizards 2019-20 Season Preview: Atlanta Hawks. dark

Saturday, April 11 in Charlotte

One of the Wizards’ last games of the season will have big implications…on lottery odds. There will be no playoff aspirations insight during this game. By season’s end, rookie Rui Hachimura will be comfortable on the NBA level. This game could turn into a late-season showcase for Washington’s Rookie of the Year hopeful.