Charlotte Hornets Pre-Season Recap: 3 Things we learned against Oklahoma City

James Borrego with LaMelo Ball and PJ Washington, Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
James Borrego with LaMelo Ball and PJ Washington, Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

The Charlotte Hornets took the floor for the very first time in the 2021-22 season in a preseason exhibition against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Charlotte started the season off with a strong performance against the Thunder, winning 113-97.

Granted it’s only pre-season so we as fans have to take the things we see on the television (in this case the Thunder’s website) with a grain of salt. However, that doesn’t stop us from trying to understand just what head coach James Borrego is thinking after their pre-season debut.

3 Things we learned against Oklahoma City: Nick Richards MIGHT have the edge on Vernon Carey Jr.

This may come as a surprise to most Hornets fans, and since I just wrote Nick Richards player preview article stating that he was on the outside looking in, I’m shocked. Richards was the first center to enter the game after Mason Plumlee and P.J. Washington, not Vernon Carey Jr.

Carey was a DNP-Coach’s Decision during the pre-season matchup. There could be more to the story that we don’t know about, but as of now, it’s clear Carey’s future in Charlotte isn’t a guarantee.

Again, we can’t put too much weight on these things just yet. The roles could be reversed in Charlotte’s next game with Richards registering a DNP and Carey getting his minutes. Richards did have a quiet night, going for 3 points and 5 rebounds in 12 minutes. So it’s safe to say he didn’t exactly separate himself in this competition.

3 Things we learned against Oklahoma City: The opportunity for Miles Bridges is here.

As we expected, it was Miles Bridges who started at the power forward position instead of Washington. Each player played for 20 minutes, which was likely the plan going into the game. Bridges’ role appeared to be an increased one as he shot 12 field goals which were tied for second-most on the team, only behind LaMelo Ball.

This could be just because of the flow of the game, but we can probably infer that the staff wants to see just how much Bridges can do in an increased role. If this continues to be a trend throughout the remaining three preseason games, it will be interesting to see if Bridges can make the most of his opportunity.

One thing going for him now, the chemistry between him and Ball is already showing.

3 Things we learned against Oklahoma City: James Bouknight is a certified bucket getter

Charlotte’s 11th overall draft pick, James Bouknight showed out in his pre-season debut for the team. Posting a stat line of 20 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists. Bouknight played 21 minutes and finished the game in the fourth quarter, allowing him to showcase his skill set.

He made the most of this opportunity with that stat line, and fans should be excited about the potential he brings to this roster.

If you had to nitpick anything from his game, one could say he didn’t get into the flow of the game until the veterans were off the court and the ball was in his hands. Personally, it would be nice to see him mesh with the likes of Ball and Hayward but that will have to come with time and patience.

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Charlotte’s next pre-season game is against the Memphis Grizzlies on Oct. 7 at 7 p.m.