The Atlanta Hawks are the blueprint for the Charlotte Hornets

The Atlanta Hawks are gearing up for their final preseason game, a re-match against the division-rival Miami Heat. They might look to exact a little revenge for that on Thursday. But they’re also more concerned with the regular season and reaching it healthy. They’ve dealt with a litany of injuries this preseason that has made that difficult.

Atlanta also took two out of the three meetings between the franchises last season. Surely that adds a little bit of swagger to the strut regardless of the outcome of a preseason game.

One team which the Hawks have not faced this preseason, but will see plenty off in the regular season and could have trouble with is the Charlotte Hornets. Another division rival, the Hornets had the 2-to-1 advantage in their season series with the Hawks.

The Atlanta Hawks are a blueprint for up-and-coming teams like the Hornets

LaMelo Ball is the primary factor for this comparison. As Hawks fans can attest to, no position on the court gives you as much hope as the dynamic point guard. Back in the day, centers might have earned that designation. Wing players have long gotten plenty of love as well. But even then, the differentiating factor for those positions was having “guard skills”.

The 6-foot-6 ball certainly has all of that but they come in a package more closely resembling a modern-day wing.

His arrival led them to Charlotte playing for their first playoff berth since 2016.

It’s a similar path to what Trae Young has done with the Hawks going from a bottom-feeder to a budding playoff threat. Ball even has a high-flying forward for a running-mate in Miles Bridges to be the John Collins to his Young.

Charlotte has tried to put some key veterans in place in Terry Rozier, Gordon Heyward, and added Kelly Oubre this offseason. They’re also continuing to supplement through the draft with P.J. Washington, Jalen McDaniels, as well as this year’s 11th-overall pick in James Bouknight and the 19th overall pick in Kai Jones.

We all saw the Hornets get absolutely demolished by the Mavericks on Wednesday.

There really is no excuse for letting an opponent more than double your score. But we also can’t ignore that Ball played just over 11 minutes in that game.

He wasn’t particularly good in his short time on the floor, scoring just four points on 2-of-10 shooting and 0-of-2 from beyond the arc. Ball also had just one assist and one steal.

Dallas led by just seven points after the first quarter but that ballooned to19 points by the time Ball checked out for the night. Still, that was just one (extremely) poor performance in the preseason.

It does, however, highlight just how important Ball is to his team’s success, very much in the way Young is to the Hawks.