Weekly Scouting Report

Weekly Scouting:

I was feeling a little under the weather on Sunday, so I didn’t get this written when I wanted. But I’m sitting here now soaking in a Panthers win and ready to talk about the Hornets!


Even though the Hornets played only 2 games this past week, they still managed to make it the most frustrating week of this season, so far. They had two roads games and got up big in both of them, yet still managed to find a way to lose them both. If the Hornets are serious about contending this year, then they better figure out how to win those games, and fast. With that being said, there is a long season ahead of them and this week offers a chance to bounce back, so let’s get on to some scouting.



Cleveland Cavaliers (7-7) Wednesday, 11/15 at 8:00pm

Image result for cavs v. hornets

(Image from Cleveland.com)

Matchup Overview:


Kemba Walker and the Hornets versus LBJ and the Cavaliers at the Hive on throwback night! What more do I need to say to get you hyped for this matchup? This is the Hornet’s first matchup of the season against the team that has represented the Eastern Conference in 3 straight Finals. They also are supposed to get Batum back in this game, which hopefully can act as a catalyst for the Hornets to propel their record above .500. The teams met 4 times last season, with the Cavs sweeping the season series.


Recent Form:


The Cavs and their struggles have been one of the biggest storylines from this young NBA season. They have some decent wins against the Celtics and the Wizards, but have struggled immensely against some of the worst teams in the league like the Hawks and the Nets. They will come into this matchup with the Hornets 4-2 in their last 6 following their win on Monday v. the Knicks at MSG.


Key Players and Recent Performers:

Image result for lebron james cavs

(Image from USA Today)

It all starts with LeBron. The last few years, LeBron has been satisfied being more of a facilitator and letting the offense come to him, but with the team’s struggles, he has been in attack mode. He currently leads the team in points, assists, blocks, and steals per game. Outside of LeBron, the next guy up is Kevin Love who is current4ly averaging a double double of 18.5 ppg and 10.8 rpg. With Thomas still out, the team has been relying on D-Rose who is averaging 14.3 ppg, but only 1.7 apg. Also worth noting, Dwayne Wade is averaging less than 9 ppg on less than 40% shooting. There are a lot of household names on this roster, but most of them have already put their best years behind them, which might explain some of the Cavs struggles this year.


Key Team Stats:


One Positive for the Hornets: 112 Def RTG


The Cavs are the worst defense in the league bar none. They have struggled to stop anyone and that is the main reason that they are still under .500. Hopefully the Hornets can take advantage of the Cavs defensive rating of 112 and put up a lot of points.

One Negative for the Hornets: 108.9 Off RTG


On the other side of the ball, the Cavs excel at pointing up points in a hurry. Their offensive rating of 108.9 is the third highest in the league and could give the Hornets some trouble if they aren’t locked in.


Matchup to Watch:

Image result for lebron james v MKG

(Image from At The Hive)

LeBron James v. Michael Kidd Gilchrist. One of the main reasons that MKG is on the roster is due to his defensive prowess, and Wednesday will be his chance to prove that worth. In matchups in the past, MKG has struggled to slow down the King, but if he can force him to be a jump shooter, then he might be able to slow him down.


Final Thoughts:


With the Cavs coming to town, an appearance on national TV, the return of a key player, and the Hornets wearing their throwbacks for the first time, there should be plenty of excitement in the building on Wednesday. Hopefully the Hornets have used their longer rest to prepare for this game, and can really give the reigning East champs some trouble.


@. Chicago Bulls  (2-9)                                                                      Friday, 11/17 at 8:00pm

Image result for chicago bulls v hornets old school

(Image from Pinterest)

Matchup Overview:

The Hornets will follow up their meeting against the Cavs with another Central Division matchup, this time against the Bulls. Last year, the Hornets won 1 out of their 3 match ups with the Bulls. The Bulls lost a lot of talent this offseason though, and the Hornets hope to have a better record against them this season.


Recent Form:


The Bulls were expected to be one of the worst teams in the league this season, and it is safe to say that they have no disappointed. They have wins against Atlanta and Orlando, but other than that have come up empty. They have a matchup Wednesday against the Thunder on the road before traveling home to face Buzz City on Friday.


Key Players and Recent Performers:

Image result for chicago bulls bobby portis and mirotic

(Image from NBA.com)

Where to begin with this roster? Their best player, by a mile, has been Bobby Portis, but with a sample size of only three games, who knows how long that will continue. In his limited action, the Bulls big man has 19 ppg and 10 rpg, while shooting almost 50% from the field. Beyond Portis, the Bulls have Lauri Markkanen, Robin Lopez, and Justin Holiday all averaging around 14 ppg. They also will be getting Mirotic back from injury following his fight with Portis during preseason, so it will be worth keeping an eye on his performances as he gets back into the rotation.


Key Team Stats:


One Positive for the Hornets: -12.4 Net RTG


The Bulls have been bad in all aspects of the game. Their struggles are evident in their league worst Net RTG of -12.4. The Hornets are going to be the favorites in this game and should take care of business.


One Negative for the Hornets: 81.3% DREB


The Hornets are top 5 in the NBA in defensive rebound percentage, so there are few teams that are better than them in this category, yet the Bulls are one of those teams. They are currently 3rd in the league with a defensive rebounding % of 81.3, meaning that the Hornets will not have many second chances on offense.


Matchup to Watch:

Image result for Marvin williams mirotic

(Image from Daily Herald)

Marvin Williams and Dwight Howard v. Lopez and Portis/Markkanen. The key matchups in this game are going to take place in the paint. All three of their leading scorers are PF or Centers and 4 of their top 6. If Marvin and DH12 can find a way to limit their effectiveness in the paint, the Hornet’s guards should be able to feast on the inexperience players on the Bulls.


Final Thoughts:

This is an extremely winnable game for the Hornets coming off a day of rest and they should be able to take care of business. If they have high intentions this year, then this is a must have game.


LA Clippers (5-7) Saturday, 11/18 at 7:00pm

Image result for clippers v hornets\

(Image from Zimbio)

Matchup Overview:

Following their Friday matchup with the Bulls in the Windy City, they will travel home to take on the Clippers at home on Saturday. This is their first matchup of the season against LA and they look to improve on their 0-2 record from last year.


Recent Form:


The Clippers have been one of the perennial playoff teams in the NBA over the last few years, but are off to a rough start this season at 5-7. They started the season off with 4 straight wins, but have only won 1 in their last 8 and have severely struggled. They open the week against the 76ers on Monday night, but then don’t play again until they travel to Cleveland on Friday. That matchup could be a tough one for the Clippers and hopefully will leave their team a little more worn out before this matchup on Saturday.


Key Players and Recent Performers:

Image result for blake griffin

(Image from Mercury News)

With Chris Paul gone and DeAndre Jordan underperforming so far, this is undoubtedly Blake Griffin’s team. The PF has responded well to this role and is averaging 22.6 ppg, 7.9 rpg, and 4.7 apg. He is the guy who makes this team tick and has been instrumental in everything they do. Another player who is off to a good start for LA is SG Lou Williams. He’s averaging 16.4 ppg with 45% FG and 36% 3FG. Jordan is doing his usual job of dominating the glass to the tune of 14 rpg, but to go along with that, he only has an average of 10 points and 1 block per game.


Key Team Stats:


One Positive for the Hornets: 37.2% 3FG Defense


The Hornets are middle of the league in 3-point shooting, but this matchup might give them a chance to get some open looks from the 3-point line. The Clippers are in the bottom 10 in the league at defending the 3, and allow their opponents to shoot 37.2% 3FG.


One Negative for the Hornets: 45.9 RPG


The Clippers are one of the best teams in the league at dominating the glass and this matchup could be huge. They currently are 7th in the league with an average of nearly 46 rpg. This will be one of the battles to watch if the Hornets hope to be successful in this matchup.


Matchup to Watch:

Image result for lou williams v. hornets

(Image from Swarm and Sting)

Bench Units. One of the most important matchups in this game is the way that the Hornets bench unit will perform against the Clippers second guys. The Clippers bench is lacking in scoring options behind Lou Williams, so the Hornets need to take advantage of this lack of punch and use the time that Kemba and DH12 and others are on the bench, to extend the lead.


Final Thoughts:


This is another one of those indicator games for the Hornets this season. The type of games that they have to find a way to beat teams that are on about the same level as them if they want to make the playoffs. With both teams coming off a back to back, except a slightly sloppy game where the benches play a bigger role than usual.



Predictions for the Week:


My predictions last week were not great. I correctly predicted the loss against the Celtics but missed the game against the Knicks. If the Hornets could close out a game, they would’ve gotten both wins this week, but obviously they didn’t so hopefully this week will help them move on and get somemore wins.


W v. Cavs: Taking a risk here, but I believe that the excitement surrounding this game will help the Hornets pick up a big win.


W @ Bulls: Chicago is arguably the worst team in the league and the Hornets will win this one.


L v. Clippers: I think Blake Griffin and the Clippers will take this one in Charlotte to end the week 2-1.


A bounce back week for the Hornets that ends 2-1. Have a great week everyone!


Sunday Scouting (11/6-11/13)

Sunday Scouting:

Image result for knicks v hornets

(Image from NBA.com)

I don’t really know what to make of the last week for the Hornets. They started off with a great win over Memphis and followed that up with a solid home win over a good Bucks team. But the second half of the week has been a little rough with losses on the road to the Spurs and Timberwolves. The loss to the Spurs was somewhat expected, but getting blown out against the Timberwolves off a day of rest when Minnesota was playing on the second night of a back-to-back is less than ideal.


This week is a much lighter week, but still includes a tough trip to Boston for a meeting with the red-hot Celtics. Following that game on Friday, the Hornets will have 4 full days of rest to prep for their meeting with LeBron and the Cavs. Let’s get on to the scouting for the Knicks and Celtics.




@ New York Knicks (5-4)                                                                 Tuesday, 11/7 at 7:30pm

Image result for kemba walker v knicks

(Image from Newsday)

Matchup Overview:


On Tuesday night, the Hornets will open their season series with the Knicks. Last year, the Hornets went 1-2 in 3 games against New York, with both losses coming at MSG. If the Hornets hope to compete for a playoff spot in the East, then they will need to post a better record against the Knicks this year. Meanwhile, the Knicks hope to continue their surprising start with a win over Charlotte.


Recent Form:


The Knicks have been off to one of the more surprising starts in the league this season. After losing Carmelo and with all the madness that surrounded their offseason, little was expected of them. Yet here they are 9 games into the season with a record above .500.  They started out 0-3 but have won 5 of their last 6, including wins over the Cavs and the Nuggets. To an extent, they have found success beating bad teams like the Suns and the Nets, but they have still managed to win. Like Charlotte, they will be coming into this matchup off 2 days of rest.


Key Players and Recent Performers:

Image result for courtney lee and enes kanter

(Image from SNY)

The Knicks start and end with Porzingis. In their 5 wins this season, Porzingis has been the highest scorer in 4 of them. He is currently averaging 29 ppg, 8 rpg, and almost 2 bpg. In their last 2 games, he scored 37 and 40 respectively. Needless to say, he is playing extremely well in his second season and will definitely taking some stopping if the Hornets hope to contain him. Outside of Kristaps, the Knicks are led by Tim Hardaway and Enes Kanter who are both averaging over 14 ppg this season. Kanter in particular has been extremely efficient and is posting a fg percentage over 63% and has chipped in with 10.5 rpg as well. Another player worth mentioning is a player that we all know well from his time in Charlotte, Courtney Lee. Lee is never going to light up the score board but he is an efficient 3 and d player who finds ways to contribute and help the team win.


Key Team Stats:


One Positive for the Hornets: 32% 3-point fg


The Hornets have struggled against teams who shoot the 3 well, as seen in the games against the Rockets and the T-Wolves. But in this matchup with the Knicks, the Hornets will be facing the 3rd worst 3-point shooting team in the league. They are currently hitting the deep ball at a 32% clip, which means the Hornets should be able to force them to beat them from the interior, which is where the Hornets traditionally excel defensively.


One Negative for the Hornets: 27.2 % oreb


The Knicks are the second-best team in the league at turning their missed shots into second opportunities on offense. The Hornets are one of the best defensive rebounding teams in the league, but will have their work cut out for them in this one against a club who gathers 27.2 % of their misses.


Matchup to Watch:

Image result for marvin williams kristaps porzingis

(Image from WSJ)

Marvin Williams v. Kristaps Porzingis. This is a tough one for the Hornets. For the last few years, they have utilized the smaller Marvin Williams as a stretch 4 to help space the floor and get some more athleticism on defense. But this is a tough matchup due to Porzingis’s height and his ability to score in so many different ways. Clifford will have to decide if he wants to roll with Marvin here or maybe try MKG, but he’s even shorter than Marv. Whatever happens, the Hornets will need to find a way to slow him down if they hope to win this matchup.


Final Thoughts:


This game, similar to the games against Milwaukee will come down to whether or not the Hornets can make someone else beat them. Hopefully, they will come out with more energy than they had against Minnesota and get some early offense. If they can get some stops, they should have a good chance to pick up a much-needed road win. On the flip side, if they do not commit to defending the paint, they might struggle against a team that they need to beat.


@. Boston Celtics (8-2)                                                                      Friday, 11/10 at 7:30pm

Image result for Celtics v hornets

(Image from Fadeaway World)

Matchup Overview:

The Hornets will follow up their meeting against the Knicks with another Atlantic Division matchup, this time against the Celtics. Last year, the Hornets came up empty against the Celtics in 4 tries. Getting wins in this series this year looks to be a tough task, but would be a huge boost for the Hornets as they attempt to get back to the playoffs this season.


Recent Form:


Similar to the Knicks, the Celtics started off the season poorly with 2 losses right out of the gates. Since then, they have proceeded to win 8 straight and take their place at the top of the NBA standings. They have big wins against the Spurs, the Thunder, and a blowout of the Magic on Sunday. Not only have they been winning games, but they have been winning them fairly easily, the closest margin of victory during their streak is 6 points. They will be coming into this game following an away matchup with Atlanta on Monday and a home meeting with the Lakers on Wednesday.


Key Players and Recent Performers:

Image result for kyrie horford and Brown

(Image from NBC Sports)

As is typical of Brad Steven’s coached teams, the Celtics have been getting solid contributions from numerous players, but at the heart of it all is Kyrie Irving. The summer acquisition has picked up the hole left by the Hayward injury and leads the team in ppg, apg, and spg while still shooting over 44% from the field. Behind him, the Celtics have Al Horford filling up the stat sheet with a stat line of 14.7 ppg, 9rpg, 4.3 apg. Couple these two guys with the scoring burst of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum and you begin to see why the C’s have started the season so well. They are getting contributions for numerous guys and it makes them hard to stop.


Key Team Stats:


One Positive for the Hornets: 102.9 ppg


The Celtics have been extremely successful in the early weeks of this season, but it is not really because of their offense. They are in the bottom 10 in the league with 102.9 ppg, and the Hornets strong defense should be able to cause some problems for the Celtics.


One Negative for the Hornets: 94.7 drtg


I could use almost any defensive stat in this spot, and the Celtics would probably be in the top 5 in that category. They are the best defense in the league by a fairly wide margin and there are numerous stats to back that up. Overall, they have a Defensive rating of 94.7, which is the best in the league by almost 3 full points.


Matchup to Watch:

Image result for kemba and kyrie celtics

(Image from Getty Image)

Kemba Walker v. Kyrie Irving. What more could you ask for in a point guard matchup? Two of the best point guards in the league will be going at it in this one and there are sure to be some slick highlights. Both guards are similar in play, with Kyrie being slightly better at getting to the rim and Kemba being a better shooter. Either way, these two are two of the very best and it’s gonna be a lot of fun to watch them go at it. If Kemba can outduel his counterpart, it will go a long way towards the Hornets locking up a victory.


Final Thoughts:


Away at TD Garden against the Celtics is going to be one of the toughest matchups that the Hornets will have all season, but if they play well for a full 48 minutes, they might have a shot at taking down the East leaders. It figures to be a defensive slugfest, but should still provide lots of fireworks.



Predictions for the Week:


My predictions last week were a little off. I correctly predicted the games against the Bucks and the Spurs, but was surprised by the win at Memphis and the loss to Minnesota. Hopefully this week, the Hornets can get a couple of quality wins and go into their longer break with good momentum.


W @ Knicks: Porzingis will be tough to stop, but I think the Hornets will be able to put up enough points in this game to get a much-needed win on the road.


L @ Boston: Boston has won 8 in a row for a reason, and I don’t think that the Hornets will offer enough offensively to win at the Garden.


Hope I’m wrong and we win both games! Have a good week everyone!


Sunday Scouting (On Monday?) 10/30-11/5

Sunday Scouting:


Last week was a mildly successful week for the Hornets. They got good wins over the Nuggets and the surprising Orlando Magic, while dropping games on the road to Giannis and the Bucks and Harden and the Rockets. (It was also a successful week for my predictions as I was able to get all 4 correct haha). This upcoming week might be one of the Hornet’s toughest weeks of the season purely from a matchup stand point. They begin the week on the road tomorrow with the second half of a back to back and then play every other day for the rest of the week. This week will be a huge indicator of the Hornet’s intentions this season in the Eastern Conference. So let’s get cracking on some scouting reports.


On a personal note, I go to school in VA, so I don’t get to make it to the Hive all that often, but I will be there Wednesday night for the Bucks game. If any of you are going to be there, let me know. I’d love to make some new Hornets friends!




@ Memphis Grizzlies (5-1)                                                                Monday, 10/30 at 8pm


Matchup Overview:

Image result for Hornets v. grizzlies

(Image from NBA.com)

On Monday night, the Hornets will take on the Grizzlies for the first time this season. The two teams met twice last season and split the meetings with the away team taking both matchups. The Hornets are going to be playing on the second night in a row with the chance to move their record above .500. The Grizzlies meanwhile will be hoping to maintain their spot at the top of the tough Western Conference with a win.


Recent Form:


The Grizzlies have been arguably the best team in the league so far in the young season, with 2 wins over the Rockets and a win over the defending champs. The Hornets will be the 3rd in a 4-game home stand and their second game in 3 days. Their lone loss on the season came on the first night of a back-to-back against the Mavs, who they then defeated the following day by 5 points.


Key Players and Recent Performers:

Image result for Marc gasol and conley

(Image from ClutchPoints)

The Grizzlies had the same core of players for many years, but the band was broken up a little bit this summer when Z-Bo left to sign with the Kings. But in his absence, Conley and Gasol have continued to play at a high level and have carried this team so far. The younger Gasol brother is averaging a double-double at 22 ppg and 10 rpg. Meanwhile, Conley is averaging 17.5 ppg and 4 apg as one of the top PG’s in the West. One thing to note with Conley is that his shooting percentage is hovering around 40% which is lower than his career average of 45%. This might be a direct result of the increased responsibility that he has in the offense with the absence of Z-bo.


Key Team Stats:


One Positive for the Hornets: 25.6 FTA


The Hornets have been one of the best teams in the league at getting to the free throw line and the Grizzlies have allowed opponents to take 25.6 FT per game, which is one of the 7 worst averages in the league. Hopefully the Hornets will be able to take advantage of this and get a lot of free points in a matchup that promises to be a defensive battle.


One Negative for the Hornets: 40% FG


The Grizzlies are one of the best defensive teams in the league and hold their opponents to the lowest shooting percentage in the league at 40%. This means that the Hornets could struggle to get and make quality looks against this physical team from the Western Conference.


Matchup to Watch:

Image result for Hornets v. grizzlies

(Image from Charlotte Observer)

Kemba Walker v. Mike Conley. This is a matchup of 2 PG who have one skill at which they excel and it helps vault them into the league’s elite. We all know that Kemba is an excellent pick-and-roll ball handler and has been balling this year with DH12 to work with. Conley on the other hand is one of the best defenders in the league at the PG spot. This matchup will go a long way towards determining who wins this game.


Final Thoughts:


This game features 2 of the slower paced teams in the league and will most likely be a physical, defensive battle. Points are going to be hard to come by, so the Hornets need to be sure to make the most of their trips to the FT line. This game will be made even more difficult by the fact that the Hornets played on Sunday before having to travel and get ready to go less than 24 hours after beating the Magic. A win would be a major victory for the Hornets and would help build some confidence going into games against Milwaukee and San Antonio.

RESULTS: Since I was a little late getting this week’s article published, we have some exciting things to talk about from tonight’s game. On the second night of a back to back, with Howard only putting up 2 points, and playing against the #1 team in the West, it doesn’t seem like the ideal scenario for the Hornets to get a win. But that is exactly what they did.

They managed to come back from down 11 to beat the Grizzlies. A huge game from Kemba Walker, a solid night from Jeremy Lamb, and strong contributions off the bench allowed the Hornets to take this one. Also, as we pointed out earlier, the Hornets needed to take advantage of the Grizzlies tendency to foul and turn it into free points, and they managed to do this really well. The Hornets got to the line 29 times and managed to convert that into 23 points. Kemba was the main guy here, shooting 12/13 on the night.

Another major key is that MKG and the rest of the Hornets matched up well with Conley and forced him to shoot 4-18 from the field. Hopefully they can take this defense and use it to slow down Giannis on Wednesday.

The Hornets are now above .500 for the first time this season. Hopefully they will use the confidence from this game to beat the Bucks and begin something great.

Milwaukee Bucks (4-2) Wednesday, 11/1 at 7pm

Image result for Hornets v. bucks

(Image from Behind the Buck Pass)

Matchup Overview:

The Hornets and Bucks met for the first time this season last week in Milwaukee with the Bucks taking the contest by 9 points. They used a big 3rd quarter to secure the lead and never gave it back. Overall the Bucks are one game ahead of the Hornets in the playoff race after the first 6 games of the season. This matchup will be an important one throughout the season as both teams seem set to fight for seeding in the East.


Recent Form:


Since that game, they’ve gone 1-1 with a loss to the Celtics at home and a win on the road in Atlanta. Prior to the game on Wednesday, they have a meeting with Russell Westbrook and the OKC Thunder at home on Tuesday. From a Hornets’ perspective, the hope is that the Thunder can beat up on Bucks a little bit so the Hornets might be able to get a little bit of an advantage.


Key Players and Recent Performers:

Image result for Giannis v hornets

(Image from YouTube)

I may sound like a broken record, but the Bucks are more reliant on Giannis than perhaps any other team in the league is reliant on a single player. If you take a look at the Bucks leaders for the season, Giannis leads the team in every single category (points, assists, rebounds, and steals) except blocks (he’s second). He has also been the highest scorer on the court in every game that the Bucks have played this season. Needless to say, Giannis is going to be the Hornets main concern on Wednesday. The only other player worth mentioning is Khris Middleton. After starting the season out slowly, he’s caught fire the last few games and has averaged 20 ppg over the last 4. He had 20 in the game against the Hornets last week, and can supplement Giannis enough to help the Bucks be successful.

Key Team Stats:


One Positive for the Hornets: 38.7 rpg


Mainly thanks to the efforts of one Dwight Howard, the Hornets have been one of the best rebounding teams in the league through the first 6 games. The Bucks meanwhile are the worst team in league for rebounds with their average of 38.7 rpg. The hope is the Hornets will be able to dominate the glass and get extra chances on offense while preventing the Bucks from getting more than one shot per possession.


One Negative for the Hornets: 34.7 ppg


Often over the past few years, the Hornets have had trouble slowing down the number 1 option for many of their opponents. This means that Giannis and his 34.7 ppg might be able to cause some major issues for the Hornets defense. The main saving factor here is that the Hornets will have MKG back who they did not have when Giannis went for 30 in the first matchup.


Matchup to Watch:

Image result for malik monk hornets

(Image from NBA.com)

Malik Monk v. Rashad Vaughn. One of the biggest problems for these two clubs is that when the starters are not on the floor, the bench struggles to keep up with the opposition. That being said, I believe that the Hornets should have a major advantage when the second units are on the floor. The Buck’s bench is mainly filled with players who ususally struggle to score the basketball. The highest ppg of any of their rotation guys is Greg Monroe at 6.7 ppg. The hope here is that Monk and the rest of the second unit will be able to take advantage of this and allow Kemba, Dwight, and the other starters to get some rest.


Final Thoughts:


This will be a tough game for the Hornets but just like last week, if they can slow down the Buck’s options behind Giannis, then they will have a chance to win the game. Hopefully being at home this time will the difference needed for the Hornets to come out with a W.


@ San Antonio (4-2)                                                              Friday, 11/3 at 7pm


Matchup Overview:

Image result for spurs v hornets

The third game of the week for the Hornets might be the toughest of them all. On Friday, they will travel to Texas to take on Popovich’s Spurs for the first time this season. The Hornets lost both of their matchups with the Spurs last year, but hope to get the series off to a better start this season with a win.


Recent Form:


The Spurs started off the season 4-0 before inexplicably dropping both of their last 2 games to the Magic and the Pacers. The Spurs will look to get right on Monday night against the Celtics on the road for their 4th straight game away from home. Following that matchup, they have 2 days of rest to prepare to face the Warriors at home on Thursday before playing the Hornets come to town.


Key Players and Recent Performers:

Image result for lamarcus aldridge

(Image from Project Spurs)

In the absence of Leonard and Parker, who have yet to play this season due to injury, LaMarcus Aldridge has been the go-to man for the Spurs, and he has answered the call. He’s averaging nearly 27 points and 9 rebounds per game to go with 1.33 blocks on the defensive end. Even as the focal point of the offense, he has been able to remain efficient and has shot over 50% from the floor. Outside of LA, the options get pretty thin. The next highest scorers are Rudy Gay and Danny Green who are both averaging less than 12 ppg.


Key Team Stats:


One Positive for the Hornets: 2 games


The Hornets seem to be catching the Spurs at the best possible time in the season. With Leonard and Parker still injured, the Spurs are not nearly as strong as they are going to be at full strength. The other thing is that the Hornets will be playing them on the second day of their back to back with the first game coming against the Warriors. All of this seems to make the Spurs more valuable than they usually are under Pop.


One Negative for the Hornets: 1 win


History is not on the side of the Hornets. Since the start of the 2010-2011 season, the Charlotte franchise has won exactly 1 game against the Spurs in 13 tries. This win came 2 years ago at the hive when Jeremy Lin led an incredible comeback to overcome a 23 point deficit and finally take down a Popovich led team.


Matchup to Watch:

Image result for jeremy lamb and danny green

(Image from Charlotte Observer)

Jeremy Lamb v. Danny Green. In both of the Spurs last 2 losses, there has been one common denominator: excellent guard play. In the loss to the Pacers, Victor Oladipo went off for 23, while Fournier had 25 for Orlando. Danny Green has been an excellent role player off the bench for the Spurs during his career, but is not cut out to be a starting shooting guard. As such, Lamb, who has started the season on fire, should be able to take care of Green’s defensive weakness to the benefit of the Hornets.


Final Thoughts:


The Spurs are an experienced and well-coached group of players who play in a system designed to make the whole greater than the sum of the parts. Playing at home, this is going to be one of the Hornet’s toughest matches of the season. The hope is that they will be able to take advantage of the absences in the Spurs lineup to pull out a major W.


@ Minnesota (3-3)                                                                  Sunday, 11/5 at 8pm


Matchup Overview:

Image result for minnesota v hornets

(Image from Zimbio)

To end the week, the Hornets will travel to Minnesota to take on the young Timberwolves. The Hornets met the T-Wolves twice last season and they split the series 1-1 with the away team winning both matchups. This is one of the matchups that could do the Hornets a lot of good if they can manage to take 2 games from the Wolves.


Recent Form:


The Timberwolves are very inconsistent so far this season with losses to Indiana, Detroit, and Spurs while managing to beat the Thunder twice and the Utah Jazz. They have beaten 2 sold teams, while the loss to Indiana seems to be a little bit troubling. Ahead of this matchup with the Hornets, they have games against the Heat, Pelicans, and Mavs. The Mavs game is the first of a back to back


Key Players and Recent Performers:

Image result for KAT, Butler, Wiggins

(Image from Cody Schilling on Twitter)

The Timberwolves big 3 of KAT, Wiggins, and Butler have all performed well so far this season. Towns is the main guy for this team with a line of 24.8 ppg, 11.8 rpg, and 1.8 bpg. He excels in many areas and allows the Timberwolves to a do a lot on the offensive end of the floor. The other two guys are both averaging more than 16 points with Jimmy Butler in particular filling up the stat sheet in other areas as well. The main thing to notice about these 3 is that they all score the ball efficiently, with over 45% shooting from each of them.


Key Team Stats:


One Positive for the Hornets: 51.7% FG


The Timberwolves are one of the worst teams in the league defensively and should allow the Hornets to get good looks at the basket. They currently are allowing opponents to shoot 51.7% from the floor which is the worst mark in the league.


One Negative for the Hornets: 106.5 OFFRTG


On the other side of the ball though, the Timberwolves excel. They have the 7th highest offensive rating in the league at 106.5 and could hurt the Hornets if they do not lock in on that end of the floor.



Matchup to Watch:

Image result for karl anthony towns v howard


Karl Anthony Towns v. Dwight Howard. This game features one of the best centers in the league from years past against one of the main futures of the center position in the NBA. KAT has been a good player since being drafted number 1 overall, but will go against one of the best defenders in the league at the center position. On the other end of the court, Howard and Kemba should be able to eat against a poor pick-and-roll defender in KAT. Winning this matchup will go a long way towards a Hornets win.


Final Thoughts:


The Timberwolves are extremely young and exciting to watch, but they have yet to find their identity on the defensive end that is usually so standard of Tom Thibodeau coached teams. If they get hot, they could create some issues for the Hornets defense, but the Hornets are typically one of the most disciplined teams in the league and this should be a major factor in this game.



Predictions for the Week:


This is a tough week for the Hornets and I would not be entirely surprised if they end up going 1-3 or 0-4, but I’m going optimistic here and predicting 2-2. Hopefully I’m wrong and we see them get some major success against some of their best competition to date.


L @ Memphis: I think the Grizzlies will take this one on their own floor. The Hornets bench is not strong enough to outlast the Western Conference leaders. (Oops, missed this one)


W v. Milwaukee: I think the Hornets will get revenge on the Bucks in this game at home.


L @ San Antonio: Popovich is one of the best coaches in the league for a reason, and I don’t

see the Hornets being able to reverse their fortunes in this one.


W @ Minnesota: Minnesota has some great pieces on offense, but the Hornets are a good enough defensive team to slow them down. I think we can win this one on the road.


Hornets Sunday Scouting: 10/23-10/30

Amid our busy lives, it can be difficult to find the time every Hornets game day to properly research who the Hornets will be playing, how they have been playing, and how they match up with our boys from Buzz City. Sure it’s easy to follow teams like the Cavs or the Warriors who are constantly on ESPN, but what about teams like Portland or Utah? The media never talks about them so it’s hard to keep up. But, no need to fear, because throughout the season I will be providing your weekly one-stop scouting report on all the Hornets’ upcoming opponents.


Full disclaimer, I am a numbers guy, so expect to see lots of stats. The hope is that when you turn on the game, you will have a better understanding of places that the Hornets should succeed against a particular opponent and places that might be a point of concern. As always, I would love to discuss your thoughts and opinions on my scouting, so hmu on Twitter @dallaswpeyton18


@ Milwaukee Bucks (2-1)                                                                  Monday, 10/23 at 8pm


Matchup Overview:Image result for charlotte hornets vs milwaukee

(Image from At the Hive)

On Monday night, the Hornets will take on the Bucks for the first time this season. The two teams met 3 times last season with the Bucks taking 2 of the 3 on the year. The Hornets, coming off of 2 days of rest, will be hoping to push their record above .500 with a win. The Bucks meanwhile are coming off a 2-game home-stand that finished up Saturday night and hope to begin a push towards the top of the Eastern Conference.


Recent Form:


The Bucks have started off the season with a tough slate of games against 3 playoff teams from last year. Yet, they still find themselves at 2-1 after a nice road win over the Hayward-less Celtics and a 3-point home win over the Blazers. Their lone loss is a 19-point blowout at the hands of the Cavs.


Key Players and Recent Performers:

Image result for giannis dunk

(Image from NBA.com)

Giannis, Giannis, and more Giannis. The Greek Freak is BALLING to start the season and is averaging 38.3 ppg, 5 apg, and 9.7 rpg in the young season. 3 games is an extremely small sample size but those numbers are still out of this world considering that he is leading the league in PER by a significant margin. Outside of that, there is not much to speak of on this roster. The Bucks have yet to have a player not named Giannis score over 20 points in a game. Malcolm Brogden is the only other player worth noting, as the second-year player out of UVA has upped his ppg by 6 points to 16 and is shooting the 3 at a 50% clip.


Key Team Stats:


One Positive for the Hornets: 24th in DEFRTG


The Hornets have not started the season all that well on offense, the 3rd quarter against Atlanta notwithstanding. But the Bucks will come into the matchup ranked 24th in DEFRTG which bodes well for the Hornets.


One Negative for the Hornets: 2 practices

Giannis is one of the toughest players in the league to defend, and the only player on the Hornets roster with the athleticism to possibly cause Giannis some trouble is MKG. The problem is that MKG has been away from the team dealing personal matters and has only practiced twice since returning on Saturday.


Matchups to Watch:


Thon Maker v. Dwight Howard. At 7-1, the Bucks are hope that the 20 year-old Maker will develop into a solid player at the NBA level. And he has done well to gain the starting role over 7-year vet Greg Monroe, but Howard has about 12 years and 30 pounds on him. The Hornets hope that Howard will be able to bully the slighter man on the inside in the same way he was able to against the Hawks. This matchup might well prove vital for either team if they are going to be successful in this game.


Malcolm Brogden v. Kemba Walker. We all know what Kemba can do. He was Charlotte’s first all-star since Gerald Wallace and has gotten better each and every year in the league. Brogden, on the other hand, is a lesser known commodity. At 6’5, he has quite a bit of size on the smaller Walker, but also lacks a little bit when it comes to quickness. The key here will be whether Kemba, or whoever Clifford matches up on him, will be able to keep Malcolm off the scoreboard on the other end.


Final Thoughts:


Giannis is going to get his regardless. The key to this game is whether the Hornets defense, 4th in DEFRTG, will be able to keep anyone else from helping Giannis out enough for the Bucks to win this game. Both teams are coming off at least one day of rest, so both should be well-rested for this matchup. The series might be important at the end of the season in determining seeding in a weak Eastern Conference, so the Hornets hope to start it off with a win.


Denver Nuggets (1-1) Wednesday, 10/25 at 7pm


Matchup Overview:

Image result for charlotte hornets vs nuggets

(Image from NBA.com)

On Wednesday night, the Hornets will begin a 3 game home-stand with their first matchup against the Nuggets. The two teams met 2 times last season with the Hornets sweeping the season series. The Nuggets play Monday night against John Wall and the Wizards in Denver before traveling cross country for the tilt with Charlotte. Last year, the Nuggets barely missed the playoffs and are expected by many to compete for one of the last few spots in the West this upcoming season.


Recent Form:

The Nuggets started off the season with a double-digit loss to Utah away before picking up their first win at home against the Kings. That game against the Wizards might go a long way towards showing us what kind of team Denver is going to be this year.


Key Players and Recent Performers:

Image result for nuggets paul millsap

Image from The Denver Post)

Summer-addition, Paul Milsap has been off to a fairly hot start in his new home with his averages sitting at around 18 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Shooting guard, Will Barton, has also gotten off the mark quickly and leads the team in scoring while still managing to keep his fg % and 3pfg % above 50%. Another unheralded player worth mentioning is Nikola Jokic who is only averaging 3 points per game but has been able to contribute with over 10 rebounds and 7 assists per game. His ability to pass out of the post has been a major factor in the Nuggets posting the 3rd highest Assist % in the league so far.


Key Team Stats:


One Positive for the Hornets: 5.5 Steals/game


The Hornets have been uncharacteristically bad about giving the ball away so far this season and average more turnovers than every other team except 2. The good news about this matchup is that the Nuggets are one of the worst teams in the league at taking the ball away, which might help the Hornets throw off these early season cobwebs.


One Negative for the Hornets: 92.5 ppg


The Nuggets have been one of the stingiest defenses so far this season, and have only allowed their opponents to score around 92 points a game. This is a small sample size, but could spell trouble for a Hornets squad that is near the bottom of the league in both scoring and offensive rating.


Matchup to Watch:


Paul Milsap v. Marvin Williams. Marvin Williams is typically one of the better defenders that the Hornets have to offer, but he seemed to struggle more last year then he did in the Hornets last playoff appearance in 2015-16. In this matchup, he is going against the crafty Milsap who has made a career scoring in the low post. The hope is that the presence of Howard in the middle to block shots will influence Milsap’s game on one end, and Williams ability to step out and knock down 3’s on the other end (we think?) could help space the floor.


Final Thoughts:


The Nuggets are a talented, young team that is hungry to make the playoffs after last season’s failure. But on a trip across country to face a well-organized Hornets defense who will be playing in front of their home crowd, the expectation is that the Hornets will be able to come away with the win.


Houston (3-0) Friday, 10/27 at 7pm


Matchup Overview:

Image result for charlotte hornets vs rockets

(Image from Sports Chat Place)

Unrelated, I don’t know where this picture has been my whole life, but it’s everything I could ever ask for. Anyway…on to the match up.

On Friday night, the Hornets will play game 2 of a 3-game home-stand with their first matchup against the Rockets this season. The two teams met 2 times last season with the Rockets sweeping the season series. The Rockets play twice this week against the Grizzlies on Monday and the 76ers on Wednesday before their trip to Charlotte. The Rockets were one of the top 5 teams in the league last year and appear to be just as strong, if not stronger this year. A win here is expected from the Rockets perspective, but would be a huge confidence booster for the Hornets if they manage to pull it out.


Recent Form:


The Rockets have started off red hot with a win against the defending champs in California, to go alongside wins against the Kings and the Mavericks. The game against Memphis should be fun to watch on Monday and might go a long way towards determining how the Western Standings will look early in the season. The game against Philly shouldn’t be too tough for a team with as much talent as Houston.


Key Players and Recent Performers:

Image result for james harden

(Image from Forbes)

Who else can you start with besides James Harden? The bearded wonder is one of the best players in the league and has the stats to back it up. So far this season he is averaging around 28 ppg, 9 apg, and 4 rpg. These types of performances are what made him an MVP candidate last season. After Harden, the Rockets have guys like Eric Gordon (22.3 ppg) and Clint Capela (15.7 ppg 10.3 rebounds) who are more than capable of winning a game with their play.


Key Team Stats:


One Positive for the Hornets: 4 Weeks


Luckily for the Hornets, this matchup comes during a stretch when 9-time NBA All-star Chris Paul is more than likely going to be sidelined. Paul, acquired from the Clippers over the summer, is dealing with a left knee injury and is expected to miss up to 4 weeks.


One Negative for the Hornets: 111.3 ppg

The Rockets have one of the highest scoring offenses in the league and will look to get it going against the Hornets on Friday.  They are currently averaging 111 points per game which is in the top 10 in the NBA so far this season.


Matchup to Watch:

Image result for james harden kemba walker

(Image from Zimbio

James Harden v. Jeremy Lamb/Kemba Walker/ Whoever ends up with this assignment. This matchup will hinge almost entirely on the defensive side of the ball for the Hornets. Harden is not known for his defense, so whoever ends up drawing him on the offensive end should look to take advantage matchup for the Hornets. On the other side, the question is who will be able to slow down the Beard. With Paul out, Harden is in the top 10 in the league in usage percentage meaning that whoever is guarding him is going to be have to be turned on throughout the entire possession. If they can force the ball out of his hands, or force him to take bad shots, they might have a chance at the upset.


Final Thoughts:


The Rockets are deep and experienced and will provide a major measuring stick of where the Hornets are at this point in the season. Realistically and statistically, it will appear that the Hornets should be happy if they can merely manage to keep the game close, but I believe this Hornets team could be something special, and this game is one of their first chances to prove that.


Orlando (2-1) Sunday, 10/29 at 6pm


Matchup Overview:

Image result for charlotte hornets vs magic

(Image from FanPicks)

On Sunday night, the Hornets will play host to the Orlando Magic for their first meeting of the season. The game will be the last of a 3 game home series for the Hornets and the first night of a dreaded home and away back-to-back. Meanwhile the Magic have a home game against the Nets on Tuesday and the Spurs on Friday before this meeting in the Queen City. The teams met 4 times last year with the Hornets managing to take all 4 meetings.


Recent Form:


The Magic are one of the most surprising teams at the beginning of this NBA season. They have knocked off the Heat at home and the Cavs in Cleveland with their lone loss coming against the Brooklyn Nets. It is hard to figure out what to make of them because the win against the Cavs is very impressive but the loss to the Nets is a bad loss. The two games leading up to this matchup should give a better idea of what the Hornets should expect.


Key Players and Recent Performers:

Image result for vucevic

(Image from Orlando Magic Daily)

Vucevic has been by far their best player so far, posting a line of 27.7 ppg, 10.7 rebounds, 3 apg, and 1.67 bpg all while shooting nearly 70% from the floor. The 26-year-old from Switzerland has been a force to be reckoned with and looks to continue his hot run. Behind him, Aaron Gordan and Evan Fournier are both scoring the ball at high rates while also contributing rebounds and assists. Overall, the Magic seem to have a roster full of guys who are contributing to team success, like Elfrid Payton, DJ Augustine, and Terrance Ross. At some point, you would expect these stats to begin to regress closer to career averages, but for now it is working for Orlando.


Key Team Stats:


One Positive for the Hornets: 26.3 FT attempted


The Hornets are in the top 6 in the league in FT attempted, while the Magic are in the bottom 10 teams in the league in terms of allowing the opponent to get to the FT line. The Magic are currently allowing their opponents to shoot over 26 free throws per game, meaning that the Hornets might be able to take advantage of this to get some free points.


One Negative for the Hornets: 48.3% 3-point fg %


The Magic are shooting the ball lights out right now and have one of the best offenses in the league to show for it. They are 5th in the league in ppg at 117, 6th in fg % at 47.6% and 2nd in 3 pfg % at 48.6%. One thing is for sure, they can score the ball efficiently and in bunches.



Matchup to Watch:

Image result for vucevic v Howard

(Image from Zimbio)

Vucevic v. Dwight Howard. This one will feature an old Magic center versus the new face of their franchise in a game that could showcase an important battle in the paint. The Hornets will hope that Howard will regain some of his DPOY form and will be able to keep Vucevic from getting the easy looks that he has managed to find so far this season. If Howard can successfully make him a jump shooter then the team will be better positioned to be successful because they can minimize the effectiveness of the Magic’s inside out game. On the other end, the key for the Hornets in this match up will be to effective use pick and roll to get Vucevic away from the basketball and into foul trouble. If they can do these things, the Hornets should be able to do enough against a mediocre Orlando defense to get a win at home.


Final Thoughts:


The Magic are a young team with many different pieces on the roster that have the potential to be good players in this league. That being said, I don’t expect Vucevic to continue to perform at an MVP level and I also expect some of the other players to regress some as well. But, they still have the potential to snatch a game from the Hornets if they are not careful, so hopefully the Hornets will be up for this one in front of their home crowd.



Predictions for the Week:


This can be tough to predict games that won’t take place for a week, but I will give it my best shot.


L @ Milwaukee: I think Giannis will be too much to handle and the Hornets will fall in this one.


W v. Denver: Howard will dominate the paint and the Hornets will take this one at home.


L v. Houston: Houston is one of the best teams in the league and I think they will show it in this one.


W v. Magic: Orlando has some good pieces but I think Charlotte’s defense might give them some trouble and the Hornets will finish their home-stand 2-1


Image result for charlotte Hornets yell

(From BBTB)