At the midpoint of the Hornets‘ 2019/20 NBA season, the team has shown growth under second-year head coach James Borrego, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer notes.
Bonnell goes on to report that the Hornets are the only team with a losing record that is still among the top-10 in the league in net rating in clutch time, thanks mostly to the clutch play of promising youngsters Devonte’ Graham, PJ Washington and even the 25-year-old Terry Rozier. Bonnell cautions optimistic fans that just two of the team’s 15 victories came against teams with winning records, and notes that the 15-26 team is still firmly in rebuild mode.
Rozier, an expensive free-agent gamble inked this summer to a three-year, $57MM contract to be the team’s starting point guard, has become effective as the team’s starting shooting guard after the ascendant Graham emerged as the best option to run the point for the Hornets.
Bonnell wonders if the 6’1″ Rozier can be a long-term fit as the team’s shooting guard, and whether forwards PJ Washington and Miles Bridges, similarly built at 6’7″, can truly coexist starting alongside each other in the frontcourt long term. Bonnell feels that shooting guard and center should be the Hornets’ next big positional targets in the 2020 NBA draft.
There’s more out of the Southeast Division:
- Heat guard Justise Winslow, in the first season of a three-year, $39MM contract extension, has been saddled with several maladies this season. He has appeared in just 11 of a possible 38 games for Miami. Ira Winderman of the Florida Sun-Sentinel opines that Winslow has an incentive to return to the court quickly and be effective for the Heat, as the third season of his extension during 2021/22 is a team option.
- Evergreen Hawks veteran swingman Vince Carter, the 42-year-old surefire Hall of Famer who will retire this spring after spending parts of four decades in the NBA, isn’t letting his age detract from his effort on defense. Mike DePrisco of NBC Sports Washington observes that Carter tried to draw a charge call at half-court against a charging Ish Smith, 31. “Trust me, I’ve been run over by Shaq,” Carter said. “So as he long as he doesn’t hit me in my knees I’m good.”
- Heat rookie wing Tyler Herro is confident of his standing among his fellow NBA freshmen, according to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson. “I just know what me and [fellow Heat rookie] Kendrick Nunn got going on,” Herro said. “I think I’m one of the best rookies in this class for sure. Obviously there’s a lot of great rookies with Ja Morant and RJ [Barrett]… But I feel we have two of the best rookies.”