Key Matchup vs. Utah Jazz: Nicolas Batum vs. Donovan Mitchell
The Hornets will look to rebound from a disappointing loss to Dallas in the first outing of their three-game homestead as they play host to the Utah Jazz on Friday night.
It’s been an up-and-down two months or so for Hornets shooting guard Nicolas Batum, who looks to still be trying to find his rhythm following a preseason elbow injury. The Frenchman is averaging 10.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game this season, although has connected on just 4-of-18 shots for eight total points over his last two appearances.
The 10th-year veteran will be paired up against rookie, Donovan Mitchell, who is having an explosive debut NBA season for the Jazz. The 13th overall pick last summer, Mitchell is ranked first amongst all rookies in scoring (18.4 points) and third in steals (1.46) to go along with averages of 3.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game this campaign.
Batum has experience as well as a size advantage on the former Louisville Cardinal, although will most certainly need to contribute more from a scoring, facilitating and playmaking standpoint. His ability to get more involved offensively and limit the talented rookie to a modest night could be the key to the Hornets picking up an important home victory over Utah.