This week includes stats & thoughts from games against the Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings, and the Golden State Warriors. Let’s dive in.
Cody Martin: Defensive Specialist?
Borrego is beginning to realize the value that Martin can bring on the defensive end. He’s put Cody in at moments when the Hornets need a stop or a change of pace defensively. Cody has delivered. On a night when no one could stop Eric Paschall, Cody could:
Cody’s best feature on defense is his terrific team defense though. Here is a beautiful rotation from him courtesy of our guy Cole:
Martin is already a clear positive on the defensive end. If he can turn into a solid 3 point shooter, he’ll be legit. So far, he’s only 0-3 from three point land but it’s a super small sample size (32 minutes played). Hopefully, even with Batum coming back, we can see Cody get some more minutes. Then, we can learn if he’s viable on the offensive end.
PJ Washington’s Perimeter D
For some reason PJ had a lot of trouble with Paschall this game. He was able to utilize his size and speed to get to the basket with ease against PJ:
Paschall defintely played out of his mind this game but this has almost become a trend. PJ’s greatest value is always going to come from his team defense but you’d like for him to be able to hold up some on the perimeter. I don’t think PJ is a true “switch everything” guy, but still would like this to be cleaned up. Earlier this year against the Lakers, even Quinn Cook dusted him on a switch. I think he’ll improve but it’s definitely something to watch going forward.
Otherwise, PJ is still playing well at the other aspects of the game. He’s still averaging around 15 & 7 a night and his true shooting percentage has gone up (now 67.4%!!) after a week in which he worked well with post finishes and attacking closeouts. PJ’s good man:
Malik Monk Improving
Malik Monk’s numbers are normalizing. After a string of good games, he’s up to 58.3% TS. There’s still work to be done but he’s improving which is great to see. His game vs the Kings was his best of this season and @RichieRandall gives a good breakdown of it here:
Monk has cut the bad midrange shots out (only 4.8% of his shots are coming from between 10 feet on to the three point line) and has showcased some touch (shooting 75% from 3-10 feet). That 75% is unsustainable but it shows that Monk does have touch which is why I expect him to be a much better three point shooter than he has been in the past. He’s figuring it out on the offensive end. The only thing we need better there is for him to stop turning the ball over (20.8 TOV%) but he’s look good out there.
On defense, Monk is no stopper but he gives a lot of effort and has shown the ability to make some smart rotations. He’s drawn some charges and has blown up screen actions:
It’s a simple play but I like his recognition and use of his athleticism to blow it up. He’s starting to do this more often. He’ll never be good on ball but if he can minimize the lapses off-ball and leverage his athleticism to get skills then he’ll be salvageable.
Dwayne Bacon Overstretched
Bacon’s been pretty bad this year but I’m honestly not too worried. This isn’t the role he’s suited for in the NBA and once the Hornets get an actual star *cross fingers*, he’ll look a lot better. 14 shots a game is too much for him but he’s one of the only guys on the team that can create his own shot. Once he’s in a lower usage role where he’s expected to just shoot or attack closeouts, his efficiency numbers should skyrocket. The number to watch is his catch and shoot three point percentage. Right now, he’s only at 30.8% and we want that number to be higher. That’s something to pay attention to this season to see if he’s an actual rotation guy. If he can shoot, it opens up his bruising driving game.
Hornets Team Update
Some numbers to look at:
The Hornets are 28th in the league in turnover percentage. I’m not too worried about this though. We’re still a young team and young teams turn the ball over. In addition, a lot of the guys on our team just aren’t in the correct role so they’re being overstretched which can expose more mistakes. We’ll likely be at the bottom of the league in turnovers for the whole year.
We have the fifth worst net rating in the league (-7.1). It’s nice to be 3-3 but we should expect some regression. There’s going to be some tough weeks this season so we definitely should enjoy this record while it lasts. Ultimately, I think we should just be watching for young player improvement. We want a high pick this year to have a chance at guys like Cole Anthony, Tyrese Maxey, Anthony Edwards, and LaMelo Ball.
We shoot the fourth least amount of free throws a game. I’d like to see guys like Terry Rozier, Bacon, Miles Bridges, and Monk utilize their athleticism more and get to the rim and get fouled. Monk hasn’t even attempted a free throw all year. This’ll help us get a lot of easy buckets and bring efficiency up.
The Hornets are 5th in the league in three point percentage and 11th in three pointers attempted. I think this might be a thing. We actually have some pretty good shooters from distance. We defintely should keep getting them up from deep.