I don't need to tell you that things are not exactly going as well for the Hornets as we all expected. The team's 4-12 record tells you all you need to know about that.
Perhaps the spark the team needs can come from a player who has fallen on hard times — Jeffery Taylor. After a promising rookie season, Taylor had his sophomore season cut short with an Achilles injury, and he has yet to see time on the court this year due to the domestic violence charge against him. Taylor was subsequently suspended 24 games by NBA commissioner Adam Silver for the incident and is eligible to return to the hardwood on December 17.
Since it has been nearly a full season since we have seen the Swede on the court, let's refresh our memories on what exactly Taylor can bring to the team.
Anyone who has regularly watched the Hornets this season knows how much the team is hurting on offense, particularly when it comes to 3-pointers. The team is shooting just 32.6 percent from deep this season, seventh-worst in the NBA (honestly, I'm shocked there are that many teams worse than the Hornets at 3s. But that's something else altogether.).
Now, Taylor is not a sharpshooter by any stretch of the imagination — his career 3-point percentage stands at 32.1 percent, but nevertheless he does have the ability to hit 3s, particularly when it comes to corner 3s, which is something the team has not had much of this year. Take a look at Taylor's field goal percentage chart from his rookie campaign.
Yes, there is more blue from the land of plenty than you would like to see, but it is his ability to hit 3s from the corner that is exciting.
Additionally, the highlight video above shows off Taylor's innate ability to sneak backdoor for easy baskets and move without the ball on offense. This is another thing the Hornets' offense seems to be lacking currently. Al Jefferson would find a player like Taylor, who sneaks behind his defender to get good position when Jefferson is doubled, extremely helpful. A creator like Lance Stephenson would also enjoy finding a cutter like Taylor every now and then.
Taylor would fit in well with the first team's offense as a player who doesn't need many touches to be effective and with the second unit as a player who can finish if the team ever wants to run a fast break. He is an athletic player that the team is sorely missing, especially with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist out.
This is where Taylor has traditionally shined. He was known as a solid defender in college, and with MKG hurt, the Hornets could use a defender like Taylor to help shut down players like Luol Deng and Wesley Matthews who have given the team fits lately. The Hornets have found it difficult to guard the league's bigger, stronger swingmen, and Taylor offers them a good option.
In fact, the more I think about it, the more I remember that Jeffery Taylor is like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in that both are tall, athletic, great defenders. The difference here is that Taylor can guard both wing positions, while MKG is better suited to take on small forwards.
After thinking we may have too many bodies for the position, the team is now short and needs all the healthy players it can get at shooting guard and small forward. MKG is out, Marvin Williams is spending more time at power forward spot than the small, and also has not had the best start of his career. Gary Neal and P.J. Hairston have been dealing with injuries for most of the early part of the season. The fact that Taylor will be healthy may be the most valuable thing he could bring to the team.
While it is unlikely that Taylor's return would turn the Hornets' season around, there is no reason to think that his return to the team would not help the squad out in some way. At this point, I would be willing to see the team try almost anything to turn things around. So why not Jeffery Taylor?