Heading into the 2019-2020 season fans of the Charlotte Hornets were mentally prepared to gauge success this year not by wins and losses but by the progress of the team’s young players. With that definition of success in mind, so far so good.
Through Friday’s games the young trio of Miles Bridges, PJ Washington, and Malik Monk are coming along nicely, at least when evaluating them on the offensive end. There are a lot of different ways to analyze offensive productivity and I’m choosing to keep it simple by looking at players who are age 21 or younger and averaging at least 10 points per game. Per Basketball Reference there are only 22 players matching this criteria, including Bridges (12.9 PPG), Washington (11.7 PPG), and Monk (10.7 PPG).
What’s even more promising for the Hornets is they are the only team in the NBA with at least three players age 21 or younger averaging at least 10 points per game.
But if we look a little deeper, the Hornets young guns have also been pretty efficient in the way they are scoring as measured by true shooting percentage, an advanced stat which factors in two point shooting, three point percentage, and free throws.
When looking at players age 21 or younger who average at least 10 points per game, only 11 players have true shooting percentages of 55 percent or better. Once again, Washington (61 percent), Monk (57 percent), and Bridges (55 percent) are on this list. The Hornets are the only team in the NBA with more than one young player to average double digit scoring at this rate of efficiency.
Now, in full transparency, this is a Hornets site and the criteria I’ve selected around age, scoring, and true shooting percentage have been cherry picked to highlight the progress of Charlotte’s young players. There are endless combinations of traditional and advanced stats that could’ve been used in this analysis which may not have shined such a positive light on Miles, PJ, and Malik.
But on the flip side, everything I have outlined here is also true. Only 11 NBA players age 21 or younger are averaging at least 10 points on 55 percent true shooting and Charlotte has three of them. That’s a cold, hard fact, my friends. The focus for the Hornets this year to is develop its young core. So far, the season is off to a successful start.