Charlotte Hornets: Inside the worst NBA defense

LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /
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The Charlotte Hornets are in the midst of a good start of the season but there is a big red flag that needs to be fixed as soon as possible. As of today, the team is the worst defense in the whole league and this will not help the franchise in the playoff pursue. Fortunately, the Hornets are really exploiting their fast-paced offense as much as they can to get the most wins they can but once the offensive system cools off things could get really ugly.

"“Offense sells tickets, defense wins games” – Coach Pat Summitt"

Even if this famous basketball quote may sound a little bit old school there is some truth in it especially watching this Hornets team. If Charlotte wants to be consistent on the court and get as many wins as possible they surely need to improve their defensive numbers.

As we said during the season previews, Charlotte’s core is pretty much the same as last year and during the 2019-2020 season, they finished 16th in the NBA defensive ranking. There is a good gap between being in the middle of the pack and being the very last team especially in terms of wins. So how is that possible to be that worse without changing many bodies?

One quick reason could be related to the pace of play which increased a lot this year. Being faster means having more shots to guard and being much more exposed with your bad defensive system. Also, switching from a full defensive-minded center like Bismack Biyombo (yes, I said his name) to Mason Plumlee could have a role here: when executing their scheme the Hornets seem to miss a true anchor that helps every player to stay in the right position. The communication aspect is really undervalued and Charlotte is surely missing this piece right now.

Looking at last year’s numbers and keeping in mind that there have been just a few minor changes leave some hope for a soon to happen improvement in this part of the game for a team that needs to run as fast as possible in the playoffs race.

Let’s now dive a little bit deeper into the particular problems that are penalizing the team night in and night out.