Charlotte Hornets: Observations from Swarm’s first 4 games

After an 11-month hiatus, the Charlotte Hornets‘ NBA G League affiliate Greensboro Swarm kicked off the 2021 G League season on Thursday, February 11 against the Westchester Knicks. The Swarm are one of 17 G League teams who elected to play this season at Disney World inside the same bubble environment that the NBA used this summer for last season’s restart.

For the first time in team history, the Swarm held the No. 1 pick and selected forward Admiral Schofield. However, having the first pick in the G League Draft has not translated into wins so far for the Swarm; the Swarm have lost three out of their first four games by an average of 17.6 points.

With the Hornets continuing to have problems rebounding and protecting the rim, there has been a lot of interest in how the 2020 second-round selection Vernon Carey Jr. would perform in the bubble. So far, Carey has performed well and put up impressive numbers. Through four games, Carey is averaging 23.2 points and 9.5 rebounds per game while shooting 61.6% from the field. Carey pulled down 10 offensive rebounds against the Canton Charge on February 12, finishing the game with 32 points and 13 rebounds.

Schofield, however, has struggled to regain the form he displayed last season during his time spent with the Captial City Go-Go. Through four games, he is down to 12 points per game, shooting 43.5 % from the field and 27.3% from three. Schofield averaged 16 points per game and shot 45.6% from the field and 36.8% from three last season with the Go-Go.

Kobi Simmons has been another bright spot for the Swarm so far this season. Simmons averaged 17.4 with the Swarm last season in 37 games, through four games this season, he is down to 14.8 points per game. However, Simmons is shooting the ball better across the board. His field goal percentage has increased from 45.5% to 46.9% and he has made a huge jump in three-point percentage raising his average from 32.7% to 43.8%.

The Hornets two-way players have been a mixed bag. Nate Darling has struggled from the field (29.6%). Three-point shooting is supposed to be Darling’s strength but he’s only connecting on 25% of his shots from three through four games. Grant Riller had an impressive game on February 14 against the Long Island Nets finishing the game with 17 points (71.4% FG, 60% 3PT) and 4 assists. He has struggled in the Swarm’s other three games.

Today, the Hornets assigned rookie center Nick Richards to the Swarm. The Swarm are back on the court Thursday at 7:30 pm against the Iowa Wolves and finish the week on Friday at 3:00 pm versus the Memphis Hustle. Both games will be available on the ESPN+ streaming service. For Hornets and Swarm fans who don’t have ESPN+, the Swarm will play the Fort Wayne Mad Ants on Friday, March 5 at 11:00 am on NBA TV and Twitch.