The Charlotte Hornets’ defense is officially becoming a huge problem. Their offense has looked stellar all season long, yet they are losing games due to their inability to get stops on the other end. If they want to be a serious contender in the East not only this year but moving forward into the future, their defense has to see major improvements.
Charlotte is currently on a two-game losing streak, yet in both of those games, they shot above 45 percent from the field and above 40 percent from deep. They also managed to put up 143 and 119 points in those games, respectively. The problem? They allowed over 130 points in both games.
So far this season, the Hornets allow the second-most points per game in the NBA at 114.9 In addition, their defensive rating of 111.2 ranks second-worst in the NBA. The best comparison in terms of similar stats right now is the Portland Trail Blazers, who have a history of being great on offense but terrible on defense.
After their most recent loss to the Chicago Bulls, head coach James Borrego emphasized the need to be better on that end of the floor. Charlotte was missing a couple of guys, but regardless, he wants the entire team to be held accountable for how they play on that end.
“Our offense is fine, it’s the defensive end that’s the problem. Just got to correct it, you know. Get better at that area… all of us have to be better.”
The Hornets were without two key defenders in that game - Mason Plumlee and Cody Martin. These two have been crucial to the defensive success of the Hornets. Outside of them, they haven’t had much to offer on that side of the floor.
“For us to be our best defensively, we need Mason [Plumlee] and Cody [Martin] in the lineup... They are two key pieces.”
There’s never an excuse for giving up over 130 points, however. When guys are out, others need to step up and help on that end. It’s not as if the Hornets don’t have players capable of being solid on that end, either. Multiple guys in their rotation have been a part of good defenses in the past. Look at Gordon Hayward’s time with the Boston Celtics and Utah Jazz and Kelly Oubre Jr.’s year with the Golden State Warriors.
At the end of the day, it’s going to be about coming together as a team and getting stops. Charlotte’s offense can be the best in the world, and it can even drag them to the playoffs, but without an improvement on defense, this team will not reach its full potential.