The Charlotte Hornets have had their issues defending the 3-pointer throughout the first month of this current season. There isn’t a team in the league that has given up as many threes per game as the men in the teal have. Charlotte’s opponents have got 30.8 opportunities at the 3-ball per game.
Steve Clifford’s squad also ranks third in the NBA in 3-pointer frequency percentage and third in the amount of long range shots that the team’s opponents make per contest.
While the Hornets have kept their head above the water on defense and rank ninth in defensive efficiency, allowing so many 3-pointers is a bad look as the amount of shots given up from that area is the specific thing that team’s can affect with their play.
Last night’s foe, the Detroit Pistons, haven’t been a team that’s reliant on looks from downtown, though. However, they were the ones to come out on top in this aspect of the game by making 12 of 28 3-pointers for the game.
It is no coincidence that it was the first game of this season that Detroit were in double digits in threes made. After all, last night the Hornets allowed 25 looks (and gave up 10) from long range that data at NBA.com has marked as at least “open” (the closest defender to the shooter is more than 4 feet away).
It’s on par with the team the Hornets have been this season as they also rank third in the league in “open” three frequency (shots where the closest defender is between 4 and 6 feet) by the opposition.
Plenty of those looks have been allowed due to mistakes on simple defensive principals.
Allowing the ball handler the middle by not ICE-ing the pick-and-roll and then suffering from the ensuing ripple effect has been a common occurrence this season:
The blame for that possession is not to be put solely on Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, either.
It’s sensible that Ramon Sessions jumped in the lane to disturb Marcus Morris’s path to the paint, even if MKG was still in the picture. Coach Clifford’s Hornets have always been focused on preventing shot attempts from the restricted area.
However, there is a middle ground that can be reached through communication and repetition on defense, one that hasn’t been found yet this year, where the eventual 3-pointer doesn’t go up. Marco Belinelli’s and Sessions’s rotations could have been a whole lot smoother on that play.
Some other 3-balls are a result of pure individual mistakes. Nicolas Batum is way too casual when trailing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on this possession.
The way he died on a mediocre screen set by Morris didn’t help matters, either.
Whether the Hornets had the energy to chase Pistons players off the 3-point line to begin with is a valid question.
ESPN’s Baxter Holmes had identified last night’s game as one of the seven toughest in this season’s NBA schedule. He had pretty much predicted this particular loss by saying that “leaving Memphis, the Hornets lose an hour flying home-and less than 24 hours later cap a four games-in-five-days stretch vs. the rough-and-tumble Pistons.”
While that gives the team the benefit of the doubt about this particular performance, this particular trend isn’t just reserved to the game against Detroit.
It’s slowly becoming a full-fledged trend for the season.
Some other observations:
With Marvin Williams out due to a bone bruise in his left knee, coach Clifford has turned to a Spencer Hawes and Roy Hibbert pairing for the bench unit. Their two-man lineup currently has a net rating of -18.5 (85.6 - 104.0) in 40 minutes together.
Even if the two played most of their minutes against two real bigs in Aron Baynes and Jon Leuer, exploring some minutes of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at the four could be worthwhile.
Neither of Hawes or Hibbert are particularly mobile at this point in their careers. Playing such a pairing is like daring the opposition to attack Hawes — who gets to guard the 4 spot — off the dribble or to get capable shooters in front-court positions in the game.
This three is like target practice for Leuer as Hawes closes out with extreme concern, knowing that he could get blown by if Jonny Badger puts the ball on the floor:
Lastly, is there anyone who enjoys this particular angle from the opposite baseline?
Is there a reason for the Hornets broadcast crew going to it at least every home game? It’s not even particularly impressive.
All it does is create confusion about what’s exactly happening on the court as it doesn’t provide the viewer with an angle suitable for observing a basketball game.