Defense the main factor that’s killing the Charlotte Hornets

At 15-24 and the current 9th seed in the East, the Charlotte Hornets are in another familiar spot, being stuck right in the middle of the pack.

While this has been the same old story for Charlotte Hornets fans, at least this group plays with tremendous energy and appear to have fun on a nightly basis. With no signs of tanking (like winning against the Mavericks in Dallas on Saturday in overtime for instance), it’s now or never for Charlotte to make a move if they are serious about slipping into the playoffs.

Monday night the Hornets fell to the Indiana Pacers at home in a winnable game 115-104. Charlotte simply could not guard TJ Warren on the wing, the NC State alumn scored 36 points in his home state.

Terry Rozier scored 28 points in his third straight 20 point game. It was a big night for Miles Bridges as well as he scored 18 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. He shot the ball well and deserves more looks offensively as day by day he is proving himself as an offensive weapon. Devonte’ Graham scored a modest 22 points but is still making a strong case for most improved player in the league while playing the most minutes per game in the association.

What’s troubling about this is the lack of point guard play behind Graham in the depth chart to give him a break. Terry Rozier is not a true point guard, this is almost an experiment for him in Charlotte.

Another concern is how the wear and tear of the 82 game season is going to affect the big men, Cody Zeller and Bismack Biyombo. Willy Hernangomez barely sees the floor so it’s been Zeller and Biyombo carrying the load in the paint and it has not been pretty at times. It’s been hard for them to stay afloat against some of the quicker big men in this league every single night. Watch for the Hornets to go after a new center before the trade deadline.

According to Basketball Reference; the Charlotte Hornets rank 27th in the league for offense with 104.4 points a game, rank last in the league for pace of play, and have the 28th best defensive rating. From the naked eye, any fan can see opposing teams picking and rolling against them and floating the ball into the hoop and also finding open three-point shooters. A lot of the time it’s just too easy for the opponent.

These numbers are staggering considering the fact the Hornets still have a legit chance of becoming playoff bound. A new center in town that is a rim defender can clean up the defensive struggles and will give this team a new life.

My solution to this is for Coach Borrego to change it up with his philosophy. A new style of play can catch teams by surprise and could change these rankings. Here’s what you do, you push the tempo. Miles Bridges’ dunking ability is hard to stop in the open floor and Terry Rozier and Devonte’ Graham’s shooting and passing ability can be a dangerous threat to the rest of the NBA.

Another idea is pressing full or half-court on defense. Sometimes you have to go back to the fundamentals of what basketball is all about. This can be risky but a chance I’m willing to take as a fan.

Being almost dead last in defensive ratings requires some kind of a change or the same thing will happen every single game. I believe in guys like Cody Martin and Malik Monk to defend in the open floor and apply pressure. A full-court press is often a last-minute desperate decision but why not pull it out in the middle of the game?

Next: Why trading for Andre Drummond makes sense

The last thing I want to say is this. Reports say the Atlanta Hawks have been discussing a trade for Andre Drummond the past two weeks. Atlanta is currently 8-29, dead last in the East. If the Atlanta Hawks are buyers, why can’t we be too?

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