A few weeks ago, The Charlotte Hornets were one of the most surprising teams coming out of the Eastern Conference. Not too long ago, Charlotte’s record was 17–12 and were sitting at the 4th seed in the East. The Hornets are 4–6 in their last 10 games and they are now at 6th place. None of that, however, changes the fact that Charlotte is 1–6 Vs Cavaliers, Celtics, and Raptors.
Kemba Walker is giving his team all he got, while averaging career bests: 23.0 PPG, FG% 46, and 4.1 REB. The centerpiece of this team is Nicolas Batum, who’s there to help take the load off Kemba. Batum is averaging 14.7 PPG with 7.5 REB and 6.7 AST.
Coming off another hard loss against the Wizards, this Hornets team is falling apart. There are now questions about the Hornets lack of help other than Nicolas Batum, and Kemba Walker. The Hornets poor play will question Kemba Walker’s leadership and his All-Star status.
The Charlotte Hornets are 23–22 and, collectively, haven’t been great. There’s more than one problem with this Charlotte team. Kemba Walker is not passing the ball enough, Batum needs to do a better job scoring, as he ranks sixth worse in secondary scoring (15.7 PPG), Micheal Kidd-Gilchrist’s lack of outside shooting (he’s shooting 16.7% from the 3) makes him a no threat on offense, and Marvin Williams’ numbers are down all across the stat board.
Let’s look at the bench because the Charlotte Hornets’ bench is 7th in the league in 38.6 PPG. Their bench is giving the best support they can for the team. The Hornets’ bench features the hot shooting Marco Bellini, and he is shooting 42.9 % from the 3 pt line and can change any ball game real quick.
It’s clear that the bench is not the problem, but rather their ability to stop their opponents from scoring.
Their defense is averaging NBA worse 1.12 PTS per possession.
“It starts with communication. The problem is more what happens after an opposing player’s first move” Marvin Williams said. “Whether it’s missed help or a lack of communication”.
In the last 10 games, the Hornets is ranked near the bottom in the league in opponents PPG. They are also ranked near the bottom in opponents AST per game (24.3) and 19th in opposing team 3Pt %.
The Charlotte Hornets solution to this bad stretch and problem is to trade for a defensive player and upgrade at the Small Forward position.
With the trade deadline coming up in February, defensive players like PJ Tucker, Tony Allen, and Nick Young (offense) will be key for the Hornets.
Micheal Kidd-Gilchrist is not proving that he’s a starting small forward in the NBA. His stats shows that he is regressing, and is now shooting career low 44.8% for only 9 PPG.
The lack of production from the SF position is huge in the Eastern Conference because of the amount of great SF’s such as Carmelo Anthony, Lebron James, Jimmy Butler, Giannis Antetokumpo, and Paul George. He’s getting outmatched almost every night he’s out there on the court. If the Hornets want to compete in the East, they need to go after a good offensive SF before the trade deadline.
The key word to sum up the Charlotte Hornets this year? Inconsistency.