Here are a few itmes I discussed at nola.com sports and wanted to share with you..
OPPONENTS AT THE RIM: Opponents are 80-of-138 for a 58 FG%.
HORNET DEFENSIVE PLAY: Opponents are shooting 42 FG%, 27.8% in 3-point percentage, and averaging 88.6 points per game. Defensive efficiency (points allowed per possession) ranks the Hornets as a TOP TWO team in that area. Pace does play a role, yet one cannot ignore the percentages allowed -- impressive.
Here's another stat that plays a role in the Hornets' defensive play: Opponents are shooting only 33.9% in their attempts five feet or further from the basket.
I've seen a nice improvement in defensive closeouts (running out at shooters) and an increased number of defensive possessions where player rotations (help defenders flowing to the ball and contesting shots) have improved.
AREAS THAT NEED GROWTH: Teams always seek to improve, as they understand on many nights the margin of error is small. The Hornets can help lift some pressure off themselves by improving in the following areas. Here's what the first five games have revealed as far as rankings are concerned.
FG ATT'S -- No. 29 ... PACE plays a role here, as fewer possessions impacts your shot attempts. Also OFFENSIVE REBOUNDING RATE (percentage of offensive rebounds a team secures) plays a role... in that the Hornets are No. 21.
FGS MADE -- No. 29 ... The Hornets are shooting 65-of-214 when they shoot jumpers; that number must improve. Their 3-point shooting is not healthy either (25-of-89; 28.1%).
FT ATT'S -- No. 26 ... Free throws are easy money. Getting to the line is vital, as it increases your points per possessions. Plus, it helps take pressure off your offense. The Hornets' attempts are low for now, and their FT RATE (the percentage of possessions that get you to the free throw line) is only No. 20 in the league.
STEALS -- No. 26 ... Steals is another category that creates extra possessions, which in turn increases the number of shot attempts and is an indicator of your defensive play. The Hornets are No. 23 in points off turnovers with 13.3 per game.
SCORING -- No. 29 ... If you review the numbers already listed, you can see why the Hornets are not consistent as of yet in their scoring. The PACE + DEFENSIVE PLAY has been their saving grace so far.
That's a capsule in some areas of play that we can use as a starting point in this very young season. As you can see, there are some bright areas along with areas of play that have room for improvement.
Having young talent on your team explains some of the minus areas; they will adapt and learn as the season evolves.
We have seen some bright areas so far, and the obvious Anthony Davis NBA potential has been a smile creator.
BONUS ITEM: Here's a little item I will leave you with.
Question: What two areas of play tell you a team has "live legs" and is ready to play?
Answer: Defensive Rebounding (the "tough man" stat) and Off-the-Ball Defense (measures alertness, reactions etc.).
Next time, we'll look at some player performances.