The 2020-21 Charlotte Hornets finished the regular season with a 33-39 record and the No. 10 seed in the Eastern Conference. Let’s take a look back on the Hornets team advanced stats and better understand why their season went the way it did. This week we’ll break down the Hornets offensive rating.
Advanced stat: Offensive rating
What it measures: Points scored per 100 possessions
Hornets result: 110.1, ranked 23rd in the NBA
When it came to simply turning possessions into points, the Hornets were a bottom-tier team. They only generated more points per 100 possessions than seven NBA teams, and six of them were nakedly tanking by the end of the season (the Timberwolves, Pistons, Rockets, Cavaliers, Magic and Thunder). That’s not the company you want to keep.
As a team the Hornets scored more efficiently from beyond the 3-point line than they did from inside of it. Charlotte’s team 3-point shooting of 36.9% ranked a respectable 14th in the league. Their two-point field goal percentage of 51.7% ranked just 22nd. This isn’t too surprising for a perimeter oriented roster that seriously lacked an inside offensive presence. The Hornets may have been better served this year by jacking more shots from downtown.
From an individual standpoint, the player with the highest offensive rating (meaning the team scored the most points per 100 possessions with him on the floor) was...wait for it...Cody Zeller at 112.3. This obviously has little to do with Cody’s offensive prowess. He averaged just 9.4 points and 1.8 assists in 20.9 minutes per game. Things normalize after Zeller though with the next highest offensive ratings coming from Gordon Hayward (111.0), Terry Rozier (110.9), and then a tie between PJ Washington and Miles Bridges (110.4).
Interestingly, LaMelo Ball (108.7) ranked just ninth on the team. I thought he would’ve been among the higher rated players in this category given his ability to both score (15.7 PPG) and set up his teammates (6.1 APG) but he somehow his offensive rating came in just behind Cody Martin (109.1).
In very simple terms, the objective of basketball is to outscore your opponent. When the 2020-21 Hornets had the opportunity to score, they were among the worst non-tanking teams in the league in putting the biscuit in the basket. For a team that was fighting for a playoff spot all season and ended up just missing out, a good deal of the blame can be cast on the Hornets ability to score.