Hornets mid-season report

The Charlotte Hornets are 20-21, a half game out of the eighth spot in the NBA's Eastern Conference Playoffs race. They struggled to the midpoint of the season having lost five straight games.

Is it possible for the Hornets to be better NOW? Are they in touch with reality? Who are the five most efficient at each position? And, which players have defensive ratings better than the team defrtg? These are the questions we will answer in our Hoop Obsession mid-season report.

Kemba Walker and the Hornets are sliding.

The Charlotte Hornets could be better. They started the season winning eight of their first eleven games. Since then they are 12-18. Their weakness is perimeter shooting. Outside of Kemba Walker, Marco Belinelli, and Marvin Williams, the Hornets do not have guys that are accurate from long range. As a result the team ranks 19th (of 30) in three-point field goal percentage.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is shooting 21% from deep (career). Ramon Sessions is hitting just 29% of his threes this season. Spencer Hawes is only connecting on 31% of his three balls. Nicolas Batum is struggling this season. He is hitting just 32% 3-pt. fg., despite being a career 35.8%. Frank Kaminsky, meanwhile, is shooting 28.9% from beyond the arc.

Although Jeremy Lamb also struggles with deep shooting his overall game is screaming for more minutes. Lamb is an excellent perimeter defender and he is so much more efficient overall than Marco Belinelli, that we think more Lamb and less Belinelli would improve Charlotte's chances to win. Lamb averaged only 17.8 minutes per contest in the first 41 games.

Additionally, the Hornets really need to upgrade the backup point guard spot. Sessions is a career 31% 3-pt. shooter that has regressed this season to 29.4%. It is very difficult to win in the NBA today if your point guard is not a three-point threat.

Are the Hornets in touch with their reality?

We say the answer is more NO than YES. Charlotte added veteran players like Roy Hibbert and Marco Belinelli when clearly this team was not and is not ready to compete for an Eastern Conference championship.

The Hornets would be wiser, in our estimation, to continue to grow and build through the Draft. If you have not noticed, the state of North Carolina is not a top destination for the NBA. The North Carolina right-wing stance on social issues does not fit the progressive professional sports league or its progressive players.

The Hornets will likely have a hard time finding top free agents. Charlotte, instead, looks like a place a free agent would 'settle for' more than they would desire.

Five most efficient by position

PG - Kemba Walker .628, SG - Jeremy Lamb .598, SF - Nicolas Batum .557, *PF - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist .452, C Cody Zeller .569

* Kidd-Gilchrist does not shoot the three-ball well enough (21% 3-pt. FG - career) to be a floor stretching NBA four. "MKG" is more of a small-ball pivot.

Which players have defensive ratings better than the team defrtg? (players w/ 300 minutes played minimum)

The Hornets TEAM defensive rating is 107 (10th of 30). The players with defensive ratings better than the team average: Jeremy Lamb 105, Roy Hibbert 105, Spencer Hawes 105, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 106, Nicolas Batum 106, Cody Zeller 106.


NBA related. Trade targets.