Charlotte Hornets player grades through the first quarter of the season

Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /
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Miles Bridges and LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets (Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports)
Miles Bridges and LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets (Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports) /

Hornets player grades through the first quarter of the season: The Starters

Mason Plumlee, Big – Grade: C-

You’re probably saying, “this should be an F”, but hear me out. What did we expect from Mason Plumlee this season? He’s a backup center who is known as a strong body and good playmaker for his size, and that’s what we got. The problem is that he’s starting, which isn’t his fault, but the fault that Charlotte has failed to find a starting-caliber center since Al Jefferson left in 2016. Plumlee has been disappointing, but not as bad as some make it out to seem. For that, I think a C- is fair at this point in the campaign.

Miles Bridges, Forward – Grade: A

Last season when Miles Bridges entered the starting lineup he flashed what looked to be a star player. That carried over into this season and Bridges has fully leaped into stardom. He’s increased his points per game from 12.7 to 20.2, rebounds from 6.0 to 7.3, and assists from 2.2 to 3.3. Besides his three-point percentage, which has taken an 8 percent dip, Bridges has improved every facet of his game.

Being able to increase his points per game that much without taking a jump in three-point percentage makes his ascension that much more impressive. He’s finding new ways to score the basketball and he’s doing it consistently. Swarm and Sting contributor Quinn Evertz talked about this in an article earlier this season.

Gordon Hayward, Forward – Grade C

This might be harsh, but Gordon Hayward is expected to be this team’s best player and so far this season he has not been that guy. Which, looking at the bigger picture, is a good thing. That means our player development system is working but on the opposite hand, Hayward has taken a noticeable step back.

Hayward is down in every major statistical category but this is partly due to the rise of others around him. However, on some nights it’s been various obvious that Hayward may have lost a step or two. He’s still very serviceable, not a lot of guys are going to find a way to give you 17-20 points on a down year, but for $30 million you can’t help but grimace here and there.

Terry Rozier, Guard – Grade: C+

Like Hayward, Terry Rozier is down in every important category this season but again you can point to those around him taking massive jumps. Rozier signed a 4 year, $97 million extension before the start of the season meaning he’ll stick around to help guide the young Hornets into the future.

It hasn’t been the best start for him this season but Rozier has been looking like last year’s version of himself as of late, scoring 31+ points three times at the end of November, but for the bulk of this season, Rozier could be considered missing in action. He’s often struggled to find his shot and get into the flow of the game, but every now and then he has a classic Rozier game. Hopefully, he can gain some consistency moving forward.

LaMelo Ball, Point Guard – Grade: A+

Our highest-graded player has to be none other than LaMelo Ball at this point in the season. Ball has carried the success from his rookie year right into his sophomore season. He’s currently averaging 20.0 points, 8.2 assists, and 7.7 rebounds per game, all of which are up from last season’s stat line of 15.7 points, 6.1 assists, and 5.9 rebounds per game.

The Hornets young star just continues to impress and he should be considered a surefire all-star at this stage in the season. At just 20 years old, Ball has solidified himself as the best player on this roster and a legitimate superstar in the league.

Must Read. Kelly Oubre Jr. is proving to be a pivotal piece for the Hornets. light

Check back after the next 40 or so games for player grades midway through the season.