Nick Richards recently re-signed with the Charlotte Hornets. The 7’0 center will bring rebounding and shot-blocking to a suddenly improved defensive team. After spending large parts of the season near the bottom of the league in points allowed per possession, they are currently 20th in the league in that statistic. In fact, over the last 15 games they are 11th in that category, and that’s after losing starting center Mark Williams five games ago.
By adding Richards, a player similar to Williams in game and the role he will play on the team, they get much-needed depth. Williams, for all his obviously burgeoning talent, got hurt and may not play for the rest of the season. Considering that he only played 37 games at the NBA level (he played 11 games in the G League for the Greensboro Swarm), and he got hurt, having a reliable backup will be key. Besides, as a young shot-blocking threat, he will likely have to learn how to navigate challenging shots without fouling—he fouled four or more times in nine games this season, despite only playing more than 30 minutes once.
The defense had been a concern for a while, and now, it seems the team has helped address the issue. What other issue do the Charlotte Hornets have? How else could they improve? With such a disappointing season, there are several areas the team should address in the offseason to ensure the next season won’t end in a similarly substandard fashion.