Michael Jordan’s Hornets Still Can’t Score

Hawks 94, Hornets 92

The Charlotte Hornets were one of the busier franchises this summer. Because they were a top-10 defensive team last year but couldn’t put the ball in the hole, and because Michael Jordan is intent on making the playoffs, Jordan jettisoned familiar players across the country and brought new players in. It all had a very specific purpose.

The Hornets were 28th in offensive ratings in 2014-15. Individual percentages were eye bleeding bad. Kemba Walker shot 38%. Lance Stephenson shot 37%. Brian Roberst shot 38%. Gary Neal shot 35%. P.J. Hairston shot 32%. Collectively, the Hornets shot 31% from three.

Their answer was get rid of dead weight like Lance Stephenson and bring in perimeter threat Spencer Hawes. Trade Gerald Henderson in order to get shooter/defender Nic Batum who is in the last year of his deal. Add Jeremy Lin. Draft shooter Frank Kaminsky.

The Hornets lost one preseason game but to no one’s surprise their preseason success didn’t cross over into the holy grail of Hornets regular season misery. The opening game was in Miami against the Heat. They shot 39% which will guarantee a loss on most nights. They took 24 three pointers and made 6 of them. Their newcomers did this:

  • Nic Batum: 9 points, 25% shooting, 33% on 3-point shots
  • Jeremy Lin: 17 points, 50% shooting, 66% on 3-point shots
  • Spencer Hawes: 7 points, 60% shooting, 0% on 3 point shots
  • Frank Kaminsky: 0 points, he missed the two shots he attempted

To add insult to injury, the Hornets defense was abysmal as the Heat shot 60% from three and the Hornets made Gerald Green look like Kevin Durant.

Their second game of the year was in Atlanta. They Hornets shot better from the three, 40%, but struggled everywhere else. They had a 30 point second quarter but then followed that up with a 17 point third quarter. Their newcomers did this:

  • Nic Batum: 14 points, 60% shooting, 25% on 3-point shots
  • Jeremy Lin: 12 points, 25% shooting, 50% on 3-point shots
  • Spencer Hawes: 8 points, 66% shooting, no 3-point shots attempted
  • Frank Kaminsky: 5 points, 40% shooting, 50% on 3-point shots

The Atlanta game was close mid-way through the third when Charlotte had a 62-61 lead but on cue the Hornets missed shots, turned the ball over and committed bad fouls. The Hawks controlled the fourth and the game was never in any real jeopardy.

This afternoon, the Hornets played the Hawks again. And again they had no offense. They missed 54 shots, shooting 37%.

  • Nic Batum: 16 points, 35% shooting, 44% on 3-point shots
  • Jeremy Lin: 7 points, 22% shooting, 16% on 3-point shots
  • Spencer Hawes: 2 points, 12% shooting, missed all his 3-point shots
  • Frank Kaminsky: 3 points, made the only shot he attempted

It must be hard for Michael Jordan, who was sitting courtside this afternoon, to watch this sorrowful display of offense. Jordan, the brilliant offensive tactician who could get any shot he wanted, seems to be living out a curse, a reverse karma kind of thing for all the times he humiliated opponents with his brilliance. The greatest scorer in NBA history has to be subjected to mediocre if not abysmal shot making.

Only five NBA teams are averaging fewer points than Charlotte’s 94 points per game (Indiana, Denver, Brooklyn, Houston and Philadelphia). It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

 

 2015-16 Points Per Game  Field Goal Percentage  3-Point Percentage
 Nic Batum  13 points  38%  36%
 Jeremy Lin  12 points  33%  38%
 Spencer Hawes  5.6 points  42% 0%
 Frank Kaminsky 2.6 points  37%  50%

 

photo via llananba