Building a Wall: Can the Hornets' Defense Lead Them to Success?

Fri, Feb 23, 2024
by CapperTek

All things considered, the 2023–24 Hornets season has been one to forget. That said, it seems like things are starting to turn around for Charlotte since the trade deadline; after all, the last three games have been entertaining to watch while providing the team's first 3-game win streak of the 2023-24 term.

The Hornets' defense, in particular, has been excellent throughout their brief 3-0 run. It's ironic and unfortunate that they had to take a week-long vacation to kill the vibes since things have been terrible for a long time, and the team is now progressing.

On the positive side, the squad should get some practice in and become even more cohesive as a result. Fans can only hope they continue their strong play into the playoffs, building on their strong start to the new era. The best possible consequence after a poor start to the season would be to establish positive habits that can be carried over to future seasons.

The Bigger Picture

With a 13–41 record, the 30th-ranked defense, the 27th-ranked offense, and the 30th net rating in the NBA, it has been a disastrous season altogether. To make these stats seem even less desirable than they already are, let me harshly remind you that there are just 30 teams in the NBA… yikes! 

There have been some positive developments despite the generally gloomy circumstances. Some good things have happened, and it seems that things are looking up for the future.

Let's look at the late changes and surprises for the Hornets ahead of their return to the court versus the Utah Jazz this week. 


Defense Wins Championships

Don’t let the sub-header fool you; nobody believes Charlotte is ready to make a deep playoff run or even make the playoffs for that fact. However, as the old adage goes, ‘Defense wins championships,’ and the Hornets’ primary concern this season has been their defensive frailties. 

A slew of players, including Seth Curry, Davis Bertans, Tre Mann, and Grant Williams, were acquired by the Charlotte Hornets at the trade deadline. The Hornets had the league's third-best defense during their three-game winning run with those guys in the lineup, even though only Williams has a good reputation among those players in terms of defense.

I’m not saying we should run to North Carolina betting sites and begin hammering the +10 spread line on their meeting with the Jazz. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if the team kept this game within ten, considering the recent streak has involved many defensive positives.

But perhaps those aforementioned positives are nothing more than an overreaction because of how bad past results and defensive mindsets have been. Either way, there’s no need to dampen things, not yet, anyway. 

The Impact of Trades

Arrangements were struck, and the beneficial effect was evident right away. Their proactive trade of P.J. Washington, Terry Rozier, and Gordon Hayward was a great indicator of the team's future and direction. It was refreshing to see the front office commit fully to rebuilding after they were hesitant to make any changes that may have a negative impact.

The fact that the team has already added a few seconds and a number of first-round selections is encouraging and indicative of their new direction. Seeing ownership step in and really implement significant change has been an incredible surprise.

Davis Bertans, Seth Curry, Grant Williams, Tre Mann, and Vasilije Micic are all fantastic additions to the team both on and off the court. The new players are a huge reason why this club is so excited and hopeful again.

These trades are primarily responsible for the noticeable cultural transformation that is taking place in Charlotte. Fans of the Hornets are experiencing a level of optimism not seen in years due to the incredible surprise of how quickly everything came together.

It’s a long season ahead, but with the evident defensive fixes, fresh faces, and a new direction in Charlotte, the doom and gloom of the past is fading, and their potential for success is finally heading in the right direction.