The Charlotte Hornets held their media day on Monday ahead of the start of training camp. Along with lots of photos and other shenanigans, some of the team’s notable members took to the podium to answer questions from the media. I’ll give the cliff notes of what they said below. All of the full videos can be found here.
- Outside of the press conference things, Hayward looks like he’s in the weight room hard this offseason. He looks noticeably bigger and more cut.
- Hayward is excited to play for Steve Clifford. Clifford was the Hornets coach when Hayward signed an offer sheet for the team in 2014.
- He reiterated the team’s need to focus more and play with more effort on the defensive end of the floor
- Talked a lot about how his injury history and how he’s put in a lot of work this offseason to have his body as healthy as possible. It’s possible the team will use some more load management strategies with him this season.
- Has been doing two-a-day workouts and got himself a new chef to get his body right for the season. He’s lost about 10-15 pounds from his playing weight last season.
- Talked a lot about the pride he’s taken on the defensive end of the floor and how excited he is to show what he’s been working on
- He’s super excited for the season and the team is super motivated for this season
- Talked about himself as a glue guy that’s willing to help get the team to buy in for the new coaching staff
- Has worked on building his game this summer. Said it’s “cheesy” when greats say they try to add something new to their game every offseason.
- It’s been frustrating not being in the playoffs after coming from a team that was in the playoffs just about every year
- Hopes the team stays slept on so they can be a team on the rise
- Said he can help the team improve its defense by personally being better on the defensive end. Took ownership for his shortcomings on that end last season and said he plans on putting more effort in on that end this season.
- Said Gordon Hayward has had a terrific offseason and they have a plan for his minutes this season
- Said LaMelo Ball doesn’t have a very long to go to reach the levels of Luka and Trae Young. He’s been working with the coaching staff and a former NBA official to help him get better at drawing fouls at the rim.
- Spoke very highly of the talents Ball has. Talked about his ability to steal the ball and get rebounds defensively. Ball has two or three things to focus on this offseason to help him take a big step forward.
- Is excited for Mark Williams as a rim protector and says that at some point in the future he’ll be able to shoot threes
- Rattled off a bunch of numbers where the Hornets excelled last season and how he thinks the team can make small improvements around the edges to help them have more success
- Talked about the difference between changing the environment and changing the culture. Talked about how important it is to get to know the players and for the players to get to know the coach to build a culture.
- Talked about what he learned from his fourth and fifth years in Charlotte, which he said he “didn’t do as good of a job,” was that he needs to start from the beginning every year by establishing basics and setting expectations.
- Said Nick Richards has improved more than any other player on the roster from Summer League to now
I’m pretty sure there more interviews, but that’s all that was up on hornets.com at the moment. If more get posted, this will turn into part one, and we’ll have a part two tomorrow.