Southeast Notes: Hornets, Black, Bagley, Livers

The Hornets were expecting to improve once their roster got healthier, but it hasn’t worked out that way, writes Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. Charlotte dropped its fifth straight game Sunday at Miami and its second since LaMelo Ball returned after missing 20 games with a severely sprained right ankle. The two losses with Ball have been by 36 and 17 points, and the players understand that something has to change.

“I think we are going to talk it over at a players’ only (meeting) and I think we are going to figure it out,” Terry Rozier said, “because as bad as things are going, we are only five, six games behind a (play-in tournament spot). We win the next three, things can turn for us. We’ve just got to believe that as a team and put that effort toward it.”

Postseason talk doesn’t seem realistic for a team with just one victory in its past 17 games. The Hornets are struggling everywhere, as the offense failed to reach 100 points Sunday for the third time in four games and coach Steve Clifford lamented a lack of effort on defense.

“A bunch of stuff is happening,” said P.J. Washington, who was back in the lineup after missing three games with a sprained ankle. “If I had the answers, I feel like things would be different. But for us, we’ve just got to buy into the process and keep trying to get better each and every day and have a better attitude and play more together.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Rookie guard Anthony Black has become the Magic‘s best defender and has gotten used to matching up with elite scorers every night, notes Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel. Black’s 108.1 defensive rating is tops among all rookies who average more than 15 minutes per game and ranks 25th overall in the NBA, according to Beede. “Really just getting more settled in,” Black said. “Game by game, I feel like I’m getting more comfortable and finding my spots — just being aggressive when I’m out there and disrupting the game on defense.”
  • Marvin Bagley III and Isaiah Livers will get a chance to prove themselves with the Wizards, but fans shouldn’t expect them to be a lot better than they were in Detroit, James L. Edwards III of The Athletic says in a discussion with Josh Robbins about Sunday’s trade. Edwards views Bagley as a proven low-post scorer with limited impact on defense, while Livers was a huge disappointment as a shooter this season.
  • The Wizards created a $3.5MM trade exception in the deal with the Pistons, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Washington could have structured the trade to create an exception worth $6.8MM, but it would’ve required the team to use an existing $12MM+ TPE.
View Comments (3)