Charlotte Hornets: It’s time to roll with the young lineup

Charlotte Hornets Malik Monk (Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Malik Monk (Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Charlotte Hornets unloaded a new-look, young rotation against the Timberwolves on Thursday night, and it’s a rotation that should stay put.

All season long, James Borrego and the Charlotte Hornets have used many different rotation combinations. Some were good, some were bad, but they may on to something with the latest experiment that was showcased on Thursday night.

Borrego went with a younger look during the win against the Timberwolves. Miles Bridges, Malik Monk, Willy Hernangomez and Devonte’ Graham all got some good minutes, and all played big roles in Charlotte getting that victory.

Bridges is obviously a starter, so his playing time is consistent. However, the others have all been out of the rotation for an extended time at some point during the season.

They’re young, but they can contribute, and they showed that against Minnesota. Monk had 14 points and four three-pointers, Hernangomez had 10 points and seven rebounds, and Graham had five points to go with five assists.

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Dwayne Bacon, another young player, replaced Nicolas Batum in the starting lineup, but didn’t have a great game. He finished with just four points on 1-8 shooting, but he did chip in five rebounds and five assists.

Yes, they’re young and they’re going to make mistakes, but you’ve got to let them play through those mistakes. That is the only way a player will learn and get better.

The Hornets are competing for a spot in the playoffs, but the chances of them ending up with a top-eight seed is unlikely. That doesn’t mean they won’t try to win, but they should still look to get some extra playing time for the younger players.

It doesn’t have to simply be about just getting them minutes so they can gain some extra experience towards the end of the season. These guys can help the Hornets pick up wins when they are playing at a high level.

Malik Monk, who was the 11th overall pick by the Charlotte Hornets in 2017, is someone in particular that I think needs to consistently be on the floor. He’s a streaky shooter, but when he gets hot, he can be a huge offensive weapon.

He’s not the best defender, and his decision making is rough at times, but the fact is, this guy has significant upside and needs to be on the court.

Hernangomez is another guy that should be getting consistent playing time, especially with Cody Zeller out of the lineup nursing a troublesome knee. Hernangomez is a walking double-double threat any time he’s on the court.

He’s a terrific rebounder and finishes nicely around the basket. He’s also working on extending his shooting range, which is going to open up a lot of things offensively for him. His big concern is defensively, but he has shown improvements on that end this season.

The big man from Spain averages just 13.8 minutes per game, but puts up 7.1 points and 5.4 rebounds. Per 36 minutes, he’s averaging a huge double-double of 18.5 points and 14.1 rebounds.

Graham and Bacon have spent a chunk of this season in the G-League, but have certainly impressed when given the opportunity. Many view Graham as the point guard of the future, but he’s shown he can play the two-guard spot as well.

I think you get my point. These young players can do some real damage on the court, but they need that consistent playing time and need to be able to play through mistakes.

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Borrego has switched his rotations up so many times this season, so I’m not sure if this younger rotation will stick. However, I believe it should, and with a couple of veterans out of the lineup due to injury, it very well could.