Editor’s Note: From here until Dec. 21, the day prior to the NBA season starts, we’ll reveal two group previews from The Athletic’s John Hollinger, who will be examining groups going into this season on a range of elements.

The last word on in 2015

23-42, 9th in Eastern Conference

29thin Offensive Performance (106.3 )

24thin Defensive Performance (113.3 )

In many respects, it was every bit as horrible as expected. The wake of Kemba Walker bolting for Boston left the Hornets high and dry, with just the leftovers of a team that wasn’t sufficient even with Walker. The error of not trading Walker led to a lotto team that was far worse than its record suggested; only three teams were outscored more terribly than the Hornets, with abnormally good luck in close games restoring a last win-loss record that was merely bad rather of dreadful.

Look deeper, however, and there were small kernels of optimism. For once, …