Who Should Start In Nic Batum’s Place For the Charlotte Hornets?

Dec 26, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Hornets head coach Steve Clifford talks with guard Nicolas Batum (5) and guard Kemba Walker (15) during the second half against the Memphis Grizzlies at Time Warner Cable Arena. The Hornets defeated the Grizzlies 98-92. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 26, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Hornets head coach Steve Clifford talks with guard Nicolas Batum (5) and guard Kemba Walker (15) during the second half against the Memphis Grizzlies at Time Warner Cable Arena. The Hornets defeated the Grizzlies 98-92. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Charlotte Hornets will be without Nic Batum for game three of their series against the Miami Heat. Who should start in his place?

The Charlotte Hornets will be entering game three of their series against the Miami Heat without their second leading scorer in Nicolas Batum. He will be out with a left ankle injury and his return for the rest of the first round isn’t clear. Someone will need to step up and fill Nic’s role in the starting line-up.

Head Coach, Steve Clifford, hasn’t named a replacement in the starting line-up but it will likely be between Jeremy Lin and Frank Kaminsky. It depends if he wants to go with a big unit or a small one. I wouldn’t rule out Jeremy Lamb from getting a start or at least more minutes off of the bench.

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If Clifford chooses to go with Lin then the team will be using a smaller line-up. It will force Jeremy Lin to guard Dwyane Wade on the defensive end and that match-up hasn’t gone in the Hornets’ favor so far this series. But Lin has been the best player off of the bench for Charlotte.

Frank Kaminsky has been horrible in this first round series. He has pretty much been taken out of every game and his stats don’t support him getting a start. It will give the team a big line-up with Frank starting at power forward and moving Marvin Williams to the small forward position.

Jeremy Lin is averaging 10 points per game so far this series while Kaminsky is only averaging two points per game. Lin has been far superior but his lack of height could hurt the team on the defensive end. He is a good defender but Wade is taller and stronger than him in the post.

There really isn’t an argument to be made for Kaminsky to get the start. Jeremy Lamb hasn’t seen many minutes for the Charlotte Hornets this postseason. He only played in their blowout loss in game one but he could be a suitable replacement for Nicolas Batum.

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Lamb has the length on defense to be able to guard Wade and he also has a nice offensive game. Although, coach Clifford has benched Jeremy in favor of Troy Daniels recently, Lamb could still contribute to the Hornets.

A big surprise would be starting Al Jefferson at center and moving Cody Zeller to the power forward spot. That would also move Marvin over to the three. This won’t likely happen but it would be an interesting line-up choice that might pay off for Charlotte.

The spot will and should likely be given to Jeremy Lin who has performed in spot starts this season. He is averaging 17.5 points per game, 4.8 assists per game, and 4.0 rebounds per game as a starter this season. Lin is also shooting 46.1% from the field and 46% from the three-point line as a starter. He has also led the team to wins over the Toronto Raptors and the Cleveland Cavaliers as a starter this year.

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We will be waiting to see who Steve Clifford picks for his starting line-up. It should be announced some time before game three. All of Batum’s responsibilities won’t fall on just one player. It will be up to the whole team to get the job done without Nic.