This week includes stats & thoughts from games against the Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics, New Orleans Pelicans and the Philadelphia 76ers. Let’s dive in.
Cody Martin Needs More Minutes
Watching Cody Martin play defense is awesome. He truly might be our best defender. He does it all. He can guard at the point of attack, guard one on one, and is an incredible team defender. It was all on display this week:
In a game where no one else could stop Malcolm Brogdon, Martin was key in slowing him down. He was able to deny Brogdon the ball a lot down the stretch and showcased his perimeter prowess as he almost got the steal there.
Martin stays with Josh Richardson on the drive to force the pass and then rotates beautifully to contest Mike Scott at the rim. Masterful.
Martin fights on the switch and denies the entry pass to Grant Williams in the post. Then, he rotates to guard the ball and his man which forces the pass out. Great rotations by the Hornets all around here and the turnover is forced.
Borrego has realized Martin’s defensive prowess and inserts him in moments when the Hornets need a stop or need a spark. Now, it’s time to up that. Even with Batum coming back, Martin should be a regular rotation guy. The offense still is a concern but Martin has been bouncy at the rim (3 ridiculous dunks this week and hit an above the break three against the 76ers. It all depends on the shot but Cody’s a good decision-maker and I think his defensive value outweighs any negative he might be on the offensive end. Get this man more minutes:
Terry Rozier’s Rough Start
It hasn’t been pretty for Rozier. He’s averaging over 15 points a game but it’s on 50.5% TS which is terrible efficiency. Rozier looks like he’s lost every time in the P&R and the numbers show it. He’s averaging almost five of those possessions a game and he’s in the 19th percentile as a the ball-handler. His eFG% in those situations is 37.5%. Yikes.
He’s just not really a guy that you want leading your offense. He’s been better with Devonte’ Graham as it allows him to be off-ball and make use of his catch and shoot ability:
Rozier is actually pretty good off-screens (76th percentile among all players) and is shooting 45.2% from three on catch and shoots. There are some nice skills there and if he’s put in a better position with Devonte’ out there, Hornets could reap more benefits from him. This would kill our bench if Devonte’ was inserted into the starting lineup but our starting lineup is getting killed anyways. The starting lineup of Rozier, Dwayne Bacon, Miles Bridges, PJ Washington, and Cody Zeller has a -29.6 net rating in 85 minutes player together. It’s probably time for a shakeup.
Miles Bridges’ Offensive Uptick
Miles’ shooting has regressed some from where it was earlier in the week but he still has shown some intriguing flashes. He’s at 36% from 3 on about five attempts a game. Keeping it around that area is important because it allows him to be perceived as a threat which can open up his drive and finish game. Bridges is shooting 71.4% from 0-3 feet so we want him there as much as possible.
I’m not sure about Miles as an offensive creator but flashes like this always make me think twice:
Extremely small sample size but Miles has been terrific in P&R as the ball-handler. He only gets a little over one possession of it a game but he scores 1.14 points per possession in those plays which would be in the 90th percentile of all players. I’m not saying Miles deserves the P&R maestro badge but there may be some potential for him with the ball in his hands.
Right now though, I think Miles can be a legitimate plus on the offensive end. He has shown the ability to shoot ATB 3s, post mismatches, and can attack closeouts really well. That makes him really valuable next to a really good creator on that end. I’m not optimistic on him being an initiator because I don’t think his decision-making is all there but I’m sure that he’ll be a positive on that end. His defense still needs a lot of work but it’s nice to see some promise in my guy.
Devonte’ Graham as the Hornets Best Player?
It’s crazy how we got here but Te’ is without a doubt our best player at the moment. Speaking of pick and roll maestros, Graham is in the 87th percentile as a pick and roll ball-handler with over seven possessions a game. He’s a great decision-maker and his pull-up 3 has opened up his whole game:
Watching DG go to work on offense has been incredible and his performance against the Pacers earlier last week was legendary. I thought for sure he’d be a terrific back-up guard but he’s exceeded all of my expectations. I know it’s only been 10 games but I think he’s for real. Basically 18 and 8 a night on 59% TS off the bench is amazing and some real 6MOY type stuff. He should defintely be starting.