The NBA season looms near, and the Hornets are ready. In tonight's match up with the Bulls, the Hornets looked very close to regular season form. The offense was fluent, there was a general sense of a plan, and they played well. However, the second unit struggled mightily.
While the first unit played well the entire game, and was the main reason this game was close, the 2nd unit was dreadful. There was no organization, every basket was a struggle, and the defense was mediocre at best. Nowhere near the expectations that many had for them going into the season.
It was because of the second unit's shortcomings, that the Hornets had to have a comeback at all. Whenever the first unit chipped away at the Bulls lead, or even took the lead, the second unit would come in and blow it all away. However, it was the second unit that sparked the 4th quarter comeback. P.J. Hairston got hot, and started draining three pointers. That brought the Hornets to within six, and it was around this time Bulls coach Tom Thbodeau put his starters back in for the final stretch of the game. At the next dead ball, Hornets coach Steve Clifford put his starters back in and the game was on.
The Hornets ended up falling short in the end, but something very surprising showed up in all of this. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has to be taken seriously on offense. Throughout his entire career, MKG has been ignored by defenses due to his inability to be effective on offense. Tonight, MKG was 6-for-11 from the field, and a small handful of those were jump shots. The rest was from some rare aggressive play. He attacked the basket in transition and it paid off for him. Many fans have been begging MKG to be more aggressive and they might get to see it this year. His offense is night and day different from last year, and that's great for the Hornets.
It was just a preseason game, but the Hornets looked good tonight. MKG looks like he's ready to have a breakout season, and the first unit was in regular season form. There's some concern to be had with how bad the second unit has been this preseason, but considering they won't all be playing together like they did tonight, it's nothing to panic about right now.
The Hornets play the Atlanta Hawks in a back to back tomorrow, which is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. Why are there back-to-backs in preseason?