Whew that was brutal!!!! In their last preseason game before the regular seasons starts the Charlotte Hornets were flat out abysmal getting dragged by the Dallas Mavericks, 127-59. Yes, you read that right. The Hornets got beaten by 68 points. Preseason or not, that is unacceptable. Some of the Hornets’ top dogs like Terry Rozier and Gordon Hayward were out nursing injuries. Kelly Oubre was also out and Mason Plumlee was returning from health and safety protocols. Given all that, this was still a poor effort.
Here are some observations from tonight and some trends as the Hornets have a week to prepare for their home opener, October 20th against the Indiana Pacers.
3 Point Shooting: A trend that has been consistent so far during the preseason is that the Hornets have not shot the ball well from outside. Against the Mavs, the Hornets shot 3-19 from three. In four preseason games the Hornets have shot 27%, 24%, 32%, and 16% from 3-point range. Again, key players have been out, but hopefully that shooting doesn’t carry on into the regular season.
Injuries: Both Miles Bridges and PJ Washington walked back into the locker room briefly with injuries, but came back out. PJ Washington dislocated his left middle finger and Miles had right knee discomfort after bumping knees with anothefr player. With about a week to get guys ready for the season, hopefully the Hornets can get Oubre, Hayward, and Rozier ready to go and in sync in practice.
Bench Scoring: I believe the Hornets are going to have to rely on James Bouknight to get buckets off the bench. Charlotte lost both Malik Monk and Devonte Graham this off-season. Whatever you feel about Monk, when he was on he scored points in flurries and could create his own offense. Graham did most of his damage from behind the three-point line and when his shot was falling he could also score points in bunches. Not to mention he was trusted by James Borrego. Ish Smith is a solid back-up point guard, but he isn’t a scorer. Kelly Oubre is a slasher and defender, but his three-point shooting has been inconsistent throughout his career. Bouknight will play a key role for the Hornets out the gate, as he’ll be relied on for a scoring punch off the bench.
Backup Center: PJ Washington has played mostly backup center when Mason Plumlee has been in the lineup and the starting center when Plumlee was out due to Covid protocols. Against the Grizzlies we saw Stephen Adams have his way against the Hornets’ front line. Washington is only listed at 6’7 and against bigger lineups is put in tough spots against bigger players. Ideally, PJ would play the four – unless other teams go small. Nick Richards appears to be ahead of Vernon Carey, as he was called into the rotation before Carey throughout the preseason, but we’re not sure how much he will play during the regular season? Kai Jones needs to add strength and is raw. This will be an area to keep an eye on throughout the season. The Hornets’ front court will get tested from the opening tip as they will face Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis in their first game.