Charlotte Hornets: Internal changes the team should make

Charlotte Hornets Cody Zeller. (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Cody Zeller. (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images) /

A few small internal changes for some Charlotte Hornets’ players could have a positive impact on the team going forward.

When we talk about changes that can be made to an organization for the better, the first things that come to mind are trades, free agent signings, drafting players, and making front office changes. However, some of the most important changes don’t require roster moves at all; sometimes the most effective changes are the ones that happen behind closed doors. Here, I will focus on a few small internal changes that could go a long way for the Charlotte Hornets.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist gets minutes at the 4

For as long as he’s been in the NBA, and even before, the main knock on MKG is that his jump shot is, to say the least, not pretty. This allows defenders to help off of him because they don’t have to respect his outside shooting. Moving Kidd-Gilchrist to the power forward position doesn’t fix this flaw, but it does allow the Hornets to put a small forward on the court who can stretch the floor.

Add in a big man such as Frank Kaminsky at the 5, and 4 out of the 5 players on the court can shoot the ball. Kidd-Gilchrist’s defensive versatility allows him to guard almost any position, so moving him to the 4 also takes some pressure off of the guards and wings defensively. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has always done so many things well, and moving him to the 4 could go a long way in minimizing his fatal flaw.

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Jeremy Lamb becomes the backup point guard

I have to admit; I’m torn on whether or not I think Lamb or Malik Monk should start at the shooting guard position. Despite popular opinion, Jeremy Lamb is better suited to be a point guard than Monk. A Walker-Monk backcourt would struggle on the defensive end but the offensive potential is off the charts.

Think Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum or John Wall and Bradley Beal or, dare I say, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson (I actually definitely do not dare. I’m not delusional.) I think you get the point, so back to Jeremy Lamb. Last offseason he improved his ball-handling tremendously, and with his length and athleticism, staying in front of point guards on defense shouldn’t be a problem.

And yes, I know Charlotte just signed Tony Parker, but he is 36-years old and can’t be expected to be the lord and savior at the backup point guard. More than anything, he is a mentor for the young guys. That opens up a role for Jeremy Lamb to show his versatility. Lamb’s passing vision leaves something to be desired, but he proved last season that he is more than capable of running an offense.

Let it fly, Cody Zeller

Stop looking at me like that (Not that I blame anyone for thinking that this is crazy, of course). Hear me out first. I’d be 100% OK with it if Cody Zeller did literally nothing but shoot three’s for the rest of the offseason. Cody is never going to knock down 40% of his three’s and be a consistent threat, but in a perfect world, defenders would at least respect him. Even if he was only making 30% of his triples, shooting them still opens up the floor, no matter how small the change.

As crazy as it sounds, if Cody Zeller pulled the trigger when defenders backed off, they would begin to respect it. Think about players like Marcus Smart (he can’t shoot at all) or Andre Roberson (he definitely can’t shoot unless it’s two years ago in the playoffs); they are certainly not known for their shooting ability, yet they still shoot and defenders have to at least respect that an NBA player is shooting an open shot.

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Then, if they make one, defenders will close out a little harder next time, which opens up driving lanes for the guards. Shooting long two’s (looking at you again Cody) does basically nothing, but if you take a couple steps back (still looking at you Cody) it becomes a much more efficient shot, even if you make a lower percentage. So, Cody Zeller, I think I’m encouraging you to shoot three’s sometimes.