Charlotte Hornets Pre-Season Preview: 3 Things to look for against the Oklahoma City Thunder

Oklahoma City Thunder vs Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Oklahoma City Thunder vs Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

The time has come, Charlotte Hornets basketball has returned. Even though it’s only pre-season the excitement remains the same and there are plenty of important things we as fans can look for against the Oklahoma City Thunder to get a better idea of what this year’s version of the Hornets will look like.

3 Things to look for against the Oklahoma City Thunder: Battle of youth

This will be an exciting pre-season exhibition where fans will get to see a lot of young talent. Charlotte fans should be very familiar with their young core by now. The Hornets return the reigning Rookie of the Year winner in LaMelo Ball and alongside him will be Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington with a handful of rookies in James Bouknight, Kai Jones, JT Thor, and Scottie Lewis.

There’s a lot of young talent on the Hornets roster and there may be no better test of youth this pre-season for Charlotte than Oklahoma City’s cast. The Thunder enter this game with young star guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Alongside him will be Aleksej Pokusevski, Lu Dort, Darius Bazley, Theo Maledon, and their rookie class featuring Josh Giddey, Tre Mann, and Aaron Wiggins.

This could be a sloppy game with the amount of young talent on the floor but it will be fun nonetheless. This will be a great chance for head coach James Borrego and staff to see what their rookies can do against another group of young NBA talent.

3 Things to look for against the Oklahoma City Thunder: Rotations

Fans have an idea of what they think the starting lineup and bench rotation will look like, but what Borrego does in pre-season game one is something to keep your eye on. It’s unknown at the moment if all of our starters will play, I’d imagine players like Gordon Hayward who are coming off a big injury will likely sit this one out.

However, I’m interested to see how our new additions are rotated in. Borrego will be wanting to test every possible lineup involving Ball and how players like Bouknight, Jones, and Kelly Oubre Jr. compliment him are critical to see during this year’s preseason.

3 Things to look for against the Oklahoma City Thunder: The battle of the backup centers

Maybe the biggest position battle on Charlotte’s bench will be between the big men on the Hornets roster. Washington and Mason Plumlee will likely hold the majority of the minutes at center in the regular season, but who remains on the team behind them is a massive unknown.

Jones and Thor were drafted due to their upside as big men but they’re still probably a long way away from being ready to contribute immediately. However, this doesn’t exclude them from competing against Vernon Carey Jr. and Nick Richards for the backup center position on the roster this pre-season.

I can’t foresee the Hornets keeping all four big men on the roster and with Jones and Thor being recent draft picks, their spots on the team are pretty much solidified. So how Carey and Richards respond to this will be crucial for their future on the team.

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The Hornets tip-off against the Thunder on Monday, Oct. 4 at 8 p.m. EST.