Hornets NBA

Views from the Nest: Week 4

This week includes stats & thoughts from games against the Memphis Grizzlies, Detroit Pistons, and New York Knicks. Let’s dive in.

Malik Monk, Stock Rising

We got another good Malik Monk week and he’s starting to become more and more consistent. The strangest thing though is that it isn’t happening how we all expected it. He rained 3s on everyone in college so we expected him to bomb away in the league. He has his lowest three point rate of the his career this season and is shooting a career low from behind the arc at 31.9%. Instead of draining threes, Monk is living at the rim and in the floater range and is converting with great efficiency.

Monk is shooting 70% from 0-5 feet and 54.5% from 5-9 feet. He’s showcased his great touch in that five feet to nine feet range and his added strength this past off-season may have something to do with his better finishing numbers at the rim. Monk was never bad at finishing at the rim (58.9% from 0-5 feet past two years) but there has clearly been a significant jump. Look here:

Monk legitimately might be strong than Thon Maker but the man is still seven feet tall. This was a terrific finish through contact. Later, he finshes against a better defender in Andre Drummond:

This is a cliche term but the game is truly slowing down for Monk. He’s always had the crazy athleticism but the addition of these creative finishes is really good for his development.

Overall, it’s been really fun to see Monk’s confidence grow. He’s never been shy about shooting the ball but I think the two previous years you could see he was playing tentative and worried about coming out after making a mistake. Borrego has shown some trust in him and Monk has delivered with a lot better decision-making. Monk is defintely feeling himself now:

Deep catch in rhythm. No hesitation. Cash.

We want Monk’s three point percentage to go up because that truly unlocks him but I think it’ll come in time. The man has incredible touch and is a good free throw shooter. It’s good to see the other parts of Monk’s game grow. It was a rough start for my guy so it’s good to see him having some success:

PJ Washington’s Post-up Game

I was annoyed during the Piston game because Dwayne Casey decided to put Luke Kennard on PJ for some possessions to take away the three point shot and we didn’t take advantage of it. PJ can punish mismatches. However, we corrected this down the stretch against the Knicks:

RJ Barrett had a good game against us but he can’t handle PJ in the post. Our son is too good:

PJ has great touch. Next time down, they switch again and can’t handle PJ as he gets the foul:

This is what separates PJ for me from a regular 3 and D type. Along with his passing feel, PJ can legitimately score. He could post mismatches all day long. PJ gets about two post-ups a game and is in the 87th percentile out of all players. It’s a real weapon for the Hornets to use. This can be extremely valuable come playoff time (not this year but hopefully soon). Switching won’t work very well against PJ because he can post the mismatch. He shoots the 3 extremely well so he can pull bigs out and make space for drivers. PJ is so extremely versatile and I can’t wait to watch him grow even more.

Terry Rozier being used better offensively

Some of it was because of injuries but I liked this week that Rozier was always on the court with one of Devonte’ Graham and Malik Monk. Rozier isn’t a primary initiator type so using him in multiple ball-handler lineups is way better for him. Rozier is actually very good off the catch and he showcased that in Memphis with 33 points on 7-11 shooting from downtown. It’s kind of suprising but Rozier is pretty elite off the catch:

Hopefully, we can continue to use Rozier off screens and salvage whatever value we can get. It’s obvious that Te’ is better than him and we shouldn’t have given him that contract but it’s all in the past. Borrego just has to look to put him in the best positions to succeed and Rozier has to accept that role. Let’s hope he does.

Hornets Lineups

Batum actually wasn’t bad yesterday and had some really nice feeds to PJ Washington. This makes things complicated for me. I don’t like that Cody Martin’s minutes were cut for Batum. I’d rather our young wings (Miles Bridges, Dwayne Bacon, Martin) get all the minutes they can because they’re our future and it’s not as if we’re competing right now. However, Batum may be able to help some of our young guys be better because of his passing ability. I still think I come down on the side of play the young guys but it was good to see Batum do some nice things against the Knicks. He only scored 3 points but was a team-high +18 and dished out six assists. There is some value that he brings to this team. It’ll be interesting to see how Borrego handles the rotation.

Also, the new starting lineup (Graham-Rozier-Miles Bridges-Washington-Cody Zeller) is less of a disaster than the previous iteration but still a disaster. In 71 minutes played, they have net rating of -11.7. It’s the reason that we’re always coming back from down 10. We get off to horrible starts. Expect it to be continued to be shaken up.

Some interesting small sample size lineups:

Graham-Monk-Bridges-Washington-Zeller – +50.4 net rating in 11 minutes

Graham-Monk-Bacon-Washington-Zeller – +31.1 net rating in 11 minutes

Graham-Bacon-Bridges-Washigton-Zeller – +54.6 net rating in 16 minutes

Rozier-Graham-Bridges-Martin-Biyombo – +50 net rating in 17 minutes

I wonder if Borrego would ever consider moving Rozier to the bench. Graham and Monk being paired together to start off intrigues me and I’d like to see more of it.

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