With the regular season right around the corner, and the preseason already here, it’s important to take a look at what training camp has taught us about this Hornets team. Practices and scrimmages fully underway, and there have been a ton of quotes and information thrown out there. A lot of it revolves around the two biggest pickups of the offseason (Gordon Hayward and LaMelo Ball), but it’s all useful information to digest.
Terry Rozier on @hornets’ LaMelo Ball: “I’ve never seen a rookie as happy as him....He lights up the locker room.”— Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) December 11, 2020
Devonte Graham said he likes how inquisitive @hornets rookie LaMelo Ball is: “He asks a lot of questions, which is a great thing for a young guy.”— Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) December 9, 2020
First off there was the immense praise that Devonte Graham and Terry Rozier gave Ball. All throughout high school and his time overseas there were lingering concerns about his effort and work ethic, but none of that has shown up since being drafted. We’ve heard nothing but praise for the rookie, with Graham saying “he asks a lot of questions, which is a great thing for a young guy.” Rozier even mentioned how he’s “never seen a rookie as happy as him.” With lofty expectations for Ball going into the year, it’s nice to know that he’s been thriving in training camp so far.
Caleb Martin’s jump shot transformation has been INSANE.— Jack Duffy (@JackDuffySI) December 8, 2020
☑️He removed the leg kick after Nevada.
☑️This offseason he completely removed the slight hitch at the top of his shot.
His jumper is smooth & fluid.
The #Hornets have themselves a sniper @Calebmartin14 pic.twitter.com/rGpqzY9Kuf
Another, less covered story to watch is the growth of Caleb Martin. He shot 54.1% from deep last year, and even though it was only on 37 attempts, there’s some great potential there. With the three-headed monster at guard lacking a strong defensive presence, his combination of defense and shooting could earn him a solid spot in the rotation. He even worked to remove the hitch from his jumper. In college he kicked his leg out and had a weird pause at the top of his jumpshot. Well, from what we’ve seen from training camp, his jumper is looking silky smooth. To quote Jack Duffy of The Painted Lines - “the Hornets have themselves a sniper.”
.@hornets guard @AhmadMonk has been medically cleared after testing positive for COVID-19 before the start of training camp. He will do individual workouts today and Friday, then be eligible to rejoin group practices Saturday.— Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) December 10, 2020
Malik Monk unfortunately tested positive for COVID-19 a little while ago, meaning his availability was up in the air for training camp and the preseason. Luckily, however, according to a recent update from Rick Bonnell of The Observer, he is medically cleared and eligible to return to practice again. Whether or not he will play in the preseason games is currently up in the air.
James Borrego - who’s against mid range shots - & Gordon Hayward have had conversations about his shot selection (Gordon shoots 40% of his FGA in mid range). JB wants Hayward shooting open shots & mid range will always be apart of his game but will shoot more 3pt & shots at rim.— Jack Duffy (@JackDuffySI) December 1, 2020
James Borrego also gave a few quotes about the style of play Charlotte is going with this year. With the addition of Hayward, the team can afford to have a more “read-and-react” style of play. The idea is that a more free-flowing offense will make the team harder to defend. He also talked about how the pick-n-roll with Hayward and Ball should be highlighted, also noting that “There’s not a lot to teach Lamelo in the PnR. He’s a high level decision maker.” Last of all, Borrego talked about trying to get Hayward to shoot more threes (he shot 38.3% from deep last season). However, he did also acknowledge the fact that Hayward thrives in the mid-range, shooting 40% of his shots from that range.
Last of all, and most importantly, Hayward and Coach Borrego were able to bond during training camp, but not the reason one might expect. Hayward brought Krispy Kreme to practice and the two hit it off over a shared love for doughnuts. Borrego mentioned that “he and [Hayward] are going to get along very well” because of it.
The doughnuts were definitely the highlight, but if there’s anything that wasn’t mentioned make sure to drop it below in the comments! There’s lots of information floating around ahead of the first preseason game which will be on Saturday, December 11th at 7:00 PM EST.