The Hornets have a new coach in James Borrego so I thought it’d be fun to take a look at how he has done after his first week, giving my quick thoughts on a few things.
The first, and most obvious thing that is different is the unleashing of Kemba Walker. He has been given the ultimate green light and has taken advantage, breaking the record for most 3’s made (19) through the first three games of the season, earning Eastern Conference player of the week honours for his trouble. In fact, the team in general is shooting a bunch more 3’s which, as long as they keep falling, will help their offense improve from last season, but it can’t get much worse. Last season, the Hornets only made 10 3’s a game while attempting 27, good for 20th in the NBA. So far in this young season, the Hornets are 1st in 3’s made (58) and attempted (146), averaging out to 14.5/36.5 3’s per game. The three most frequent shooters, Kemba, Batum and Monk, are all hitting above 40% as well, which never hurts. Lamb and Marvin need to start hitting theirs though.
The second thing I like is the lineups/rotations that Borrego is using so far. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is an excellent (and underrated) perimeter defender and rebounder but his game just isn’t suited to start in today’s NBA. Borrego has been starting Lamb and Batum as the wings with MKG coming off the bench as the backup 4, which is an infinitely better fit for him. Just look at his blocks and FG% numbers so far. I also like that Willy Hernangomez is getting playing time as the backup Center spot over Kaminsky, a big guy who is too slow to really be an offensive threat but is also a terrible rebounder and defender, while Hernangomez is the best per-minute rebounder on the team so far.
Things I’m not so hot on include the inefficiency of Nic Batum. He’s been hitting his 3’s but nothing else. He is also way down on his assists this season and I think Batum is better as a facilitator. While I am very happy with the changes Borrego has made so far, maybe he needs to get more plays with Batum as a facilitator. Speaking of facilitators, Tony Parker hasn’t been good, plus he still looks so weird not in a Spurs uniform. However, I’ll take this Tony Parker over Michael Carter-Williams every day and twice on Sunday because MCW is THE WORST player in the NBA. Take that for data!
As a Hornets fan,I’m not entirely sure how I want the Kemba situation to play out. I love Kemba. With so many players in the NBA playing with no heart *cough* Wiggins and Melo *cough* having someone like Kemba leading my favourite team makes me happy. However, if we keep Kemba, what is our ceiling? 5th in the East? 6th? I think the best case scenario, in my opinion, is that Kemba keeps balling out and we get a Godfather offer for him FROM A TITLE CONTENDER (that part is super important to me). I don’t want to see Kemba sent to Phoenix or Orlando…I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. However, I can’t see MJ ever agreeing to a rebuild so if Kemba extends, I won’t be too mad.