Film Room: Scouting the Hornets

By Josh Cohen
Sept. 30, 2015

The Hornets were one of the worst offensive teams in the league last season. They ranked 28th in points, 26th in offensive rebounds and 30th in 3-point percentage. By drafting Frank Kaminsky and trading for Nicolas Batum, Charlotte hopes to improve its scoring capacity. However, the Hornets are still not expected to be an offensive juggernaut. It’s usually smart for opponents to go under screens and let their perimeter guys fire up long-range shots. In the play featured below, Lou Williams goes under a Bismack Biyombo (no longer on team) screen, allowing Kemba Walker to settle for the outside jumper. WATCH:

Jefferson is brilliant when he gets the ball deep in the post. He shot 60 percent from the field on shots taken within five feet from the basket, 49 percent on hook shots and went 6-for-6 on bank shots inside last season. The No. 1 rule when guarding Big Al is to bully him off the block. It’s best to make sure he catches entry passes closer to the 3-point line because he doesn’t like dribbling too much (only 11 percent of shots came after he took at least two dribbles). In the play featured below, Jefferson is denied on his pick-and-roll attempt and then is forced off the block by Marcin Gortat. WATCH:

When playing the Hornets, you don’t want them to get into a half-court rhythm. They are excellent at protecting the ball (fewest turnovers in league last season, 11.2 per game). Walker and Jefferson are superb pick-and-roll players. Walker is explosive but if you close off passing lanes he will dribble excessively and sometimes make a bad pass. Over 32 percent of Walker’s shot attempts came after he dribbled at least seven times. He does limit turnovers, however (only 1.6 per game last year). In the play featured below, Kyrie Irving goes under the Marvin Williams screen, which allows him to stay in front of a driving Walker and force him into an ill-advised pass. WATCH:

The Hornets were really hard to score on last season because they limit fouls and rarely give up second-chance scoring opportunities. It’s important to speed up the game against Charlotte because they aren’t good in fast break situations and prefer to grind it out in the half court. Only the Knicks last season had fewer fast break points. In the play featured below, Nikola Vucevic scoops up a loose ball and tosses it ahead to an all-alone Victor Oladipo for a transition dunk. WATCH:

The Hornets hope Kaminsky can transform into one of the league’s premier stretch fours. He shot 42 percent from 3-point distance last year at Wisconsin. When trying to contain him, it’s important to force him off the 3-point line. While he’s capable of scoring inside, Kaminsky is not comfortable yet putting the ball on the floor and creating offense for himself. In the play featured below, the Nets do a good job not giving Kaminsky any space to take the outside jumper. WATCH:

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