Five Things We Learned About The Charlotte Hornets

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Mar 1, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Charlotte Hornets center Al Jefferson (25) and guard Mo Williams (7) high five against the Orlando Magic during the second half at Amway Center. Charlotte Hornets defeated the Orlando Magic 98-83. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, Al Jefferson was fantastic for the Hornets, leading them to a 43-39 record and a playoff berth. He also snagged a third team All-NBA selection, and was referred to by Swarm And Sting as the worst all-star snub of all time. However, there were some that suggested that Jefferson’s season was an aberration, and that his play would fall off this year.

They were wrong.

Jefferson has played in only 65 games this year, but in the games in which he has been healthy, he has dominated. His per-36 minute numbers still look just good in 2015.

2013-14 .509 .200 11.2 2.2 1.1 1.7 22.5
2014-15 .481 .400 9.9 2.0 1.5 1.2 19.6
Career .499 .129 10.5 1.8 1.5 1.7 19.7

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 4/9/2015.

There is a drop-off from 2013-14, but much of that is because Big Al played hurt for a portion of the season, whether it was a groin injury early or a knee injury late, Jefferson was in pain much of the time he was on the court this season. And let’s face it, there is something to be said for someone who plays through injuries.

Even with those injuries, he still posted lower turnover numbers, more blocks, and similar points and rebounds. His shooting percentage dipped a little, most likely from the injuries and the inconsistent outside shooting of his teammates, but there were still plenty of games when the big guy was unstoppable in the post.

He still commands a double team, and if the Hornets could ever learn to shoot a three, his assist numbers would climb into the stratosphere. For a guy who is often the only legitimate one-on-one threat on the court, it is amazing that he still hit 48% of his shots and had just 1.2 turnovers per game.

More importantly, when his knee injury kept him out of the line-up late in the season, the team seemed to immediately tank. Granted, that was also due to the injuries of Cody Zeller and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, but the difficulty the team had scoring was no surprise.

It is a necessity to resign Big Al during the summer if he chooses, as many assume, to opt-out of his contract.

Next: 3. Bismack Biyombo Is A Quality Big Man