When: 7 p.m. EST
Where: Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte N.C.
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
(Note: Preseason games may not be broadcast on T.V.)
It can be said the Charlotte Hornets and New York Knicks are engaging in similar rebuilds. Both teams are coming off poor 2014-2015 seasons marked by poor offense, slow pace, and overall disappointment. While the Hornets struggled with three point shooting and opening up the paint; the Knicks struggled to effectively implement the complex Triangle offense and playing any semblance of defense. Both teams tackled these issues in the offseason with sensible moves that have already begun to show progress. (Note: Yes I know it's only preseason.)
We've extensively covered the moves the Hornets' made this offseason so it's safe to say we can move to the Knicks. They brought in Robin Lopez on a four year, $54 million contract to anchor the defense. To move pressure off Carmelo Anthony they signed sharpshooter Arron Afflalo to a two year, $16 million contract. The Knicks took a chance on forward Derrick Williams who has just never found his place in the NBA after being drafted second in 2011. They resigned role players Lou Amundson and Lance Thomas for their work last year. Backup center Kyle O'Quinn joined the team on a four year deal. They finally drafted Kristaps Porzingis to hopefully be the next Dirk Nowitzki or Pau Gasol, and also drafted a solid guard in Jerian Grant from Notre Dame. These are just the bigger moves the organization made. They also made smaller moves such as signing veteran Sasha Vujacic.
On the Knicks side Derrick Williams has risen to be a solid (preseason) scorer. Jerian Grant has showed a knack for passing in the triangle, and has he can play outside of the offense as well. Robin Lopez has shown commitment to a defense that was just atrocious last season. Carmelo Anthony is the third leading scorer in the preseason with an average of 18.7 points per game. Kristaps Porzingis has shown a solid game in limited minutes while also dealing with a nagging upper quad injury. That being said Kristaps is expected to play in the preseason bout at Time Warner Cable. All around the New York Knicks look far better than last season. This team has the makings of a cohesive unit that can start to rise out of the cellar of the Eastern Conference.
The Hornets are coming off a beatdown of the Los Angeles Clippers where the Hornets' walloped to Clippers by 42 points. Nicolas Batum looked like a return to his old self with a fourteen point, ten rebound, five assist performance. Jeremy Lin showed once again he can score with 13 points in just 17 minutes. While Tyler Hansbrough and Marvin Williams stepped up when Cody Zeller just couldn't produce. Al Jefferson continued his solid preseason with a team leading 17 points.The Hornets look like a team that is slowly moving towards a more modern identity. They shot 25 three pointers and started to look like a team that actually wanted to take them.
I think that this game will be a close one but I think the Hornets will capture a close victory over the Knicks if everybody pulls their weight. The Hornets look like a team that are moving in a positive direction after dealing with the devastating injury to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. As an always worried fan that's something good to see.