The Charlotte Hornets sport a 17-18 record at the All-Star break and are sitting at the No. 7 spot in the Eastern Conference standings. Let’s take a look at some of the key team statistics that have put the Hornets in contention for their first playoff appearance since 2016:
Offensive Rating - 16th: Charlotte ranks right in the middle of the pack in offensive rating at No. 16 in the league by scoring 111.4 points per 100 possessions. The team’s offense has been fueled by Gordon Hayward’s 21.5 points per game and Terry Rozier’s 20.2.
Defensive Rating - 17th: The Hornets defensive rating (or points allowed per 100 possessions) of 111.8 also ranks around the middle of the NBA at No. 17 overall. On a side note, Charlotte gives up the worst opponent two-point field goal percentage in the entire league at 55.2% which can largely be attributed to the team’s lack of a shot-altering presence in the middle.
Assist Percentage - 3rd: Charlotte ranks an impressive third in the league in assist percentage, meaning players do a great job in setting each other up for easy buckets. James Borrego’s squad has two excellent facilitators in LaMelo Ball (6.3 APG) and Devonte’ Graham (5.7 APG) while both Gordon Hayward (3.9 APG) and Terry Rozier (3.2 APG) regularly find their teammates for open looks.
Turnovers - 27th: While the team’s assists are nice, the turnovers are terrible. Charlotte ranks 27th in the league in turnover percentage driven largely by LaMelo Ball (2.8 TOG) and PJ Washington (2.1 TOG). It’s not surprising for young players who carry a heavy offensive load to turn the ball over on occasion, but the team as a whole needs to clean things up in this area.
Offensive Rebounding - 10th: Surprisingly, the Hornets rank a respectable 10th in the league in offensive rebounding despite lacking a dominant big. Cody Zeller leads the team at 2.6 offensive rebounds per game while Bismack Biyombo pulls down 2.2. LaMelo Ball ranks third on the team with 1.5 offensive boards per game which illustrates the versatility of Charlotte’s prized rookie.
Defensive Rebounding - 22nd: While the Hornets are good on the offensive glass, they are among the bottom teams in the league in defensive rebounding, ranking 22nd in the NBA. This is a team that rebounds by committee with Cody Zeller, PJ Washington, LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward, and Miles Bridges each averaging somewhere between 4.4 and 5.0 defensive rebounds per game.
Pace - 10th: Charlotte plays at the 10th fastest pace in the league at 100.9 which is a huge change from last year when the Hornets played at the slowest pace in the entire NBA at 96.2. The additions of LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward give the Hornets four legitimate players who can run an effective fast break while Miles Bridges is turning into a terror attacking the hoop in transition. This year’s up-tempo Hornets have been more enjoyable to watch than last year’s team, and has been more successful, too.
In summary, this is a team that likes to push the pace and pass the ball, but struggles with turnovers and controlling the defensive glass. When everything gets rolled up, the Hornets have a perfectly average offense, a perfectly average defense, and a perfectly average record at the All-Star break.