The Hornets were exposed by the Hawks in Wednesday’s play-in game that ended their season, writes Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer.
As Boone outlines, the Hornets’ Achilles heel all year long was their defense and it was the weak link again on Wednesday in a 132-103 loss. Penetration into the paint was an ongoing issue, according to Boone, who suggests the Hornets lack any sort of intimidating interior presence and could badly use an athletic, shot-blocking center.
As Zach Kram of The Ringer observes, it was the second consecutive year in which the Hornets allowed more than 128 points per 100 possessions in an elimination play-in game, so addressing the defense has to be the team’s top priority this offseason. Besides acquiring a defensive-minded center, Charlotte could also benefit from adding a reliable wing who can capably guard opposing teams’ most dangerous perimeter players, Kram notes.
Here’s more on the Hornets as they prepare for their offseason:
- Ejected in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s loss, Miles Bridges threw his mouthpiece at a fan who was taunting him on his way to the locker room, but missed and hit another fan, a 16-year-old girl (video link). Bridges, who figures to face at least a fine from the NBA, apologized after the game for the incident, per Scott Fowler and Matthew Stephens of The Charlotte Observer. “I was upset about a call, a couple of calls really. I let my temper get the best of me. That was definitely the wrong thing to do,” Bridges said. ” … I was aiming for the guy that was screaming at me and it hit a little girl … I take full responsibility and will take any consequences the NBA gives me. … Hopefully, I can get in contact with the young lady, sincerely apologize and do something nice for her.”
- Viewed as a potential trade candidate in February, P.J. Washington entered the Hornets’ starting lineup after the deadline and played a key role in the club’s success down the stretch, Boone writes for The Charlotte Observer. Washington will be eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason, so Charlotte will have to decide soon how he fits into the organization’s long-term plans.
- In his preview of the Hornets’ offseason, ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link) explores how the team should approach the summer, taking an in-depth look at Bridges’ restricted free agency and Washington’s case for an extension. Besides needing a starting center, the Hornets could also use a backup point guard and need James Bouknight to develop into a rotation player, Marks writes.
- After extending him last offseason, the Hornets seem likely to retain head coach James Borrego for 2022/23, but after the way the season ended, his seat should be considered warm – if not hot – going forward, Fowler writes in a column for The Charlotte Observer.
- In case you missed it, we passed along a series of Hornets-related rumors on Wednesday.