Last night, the Charlotte Hornets wrapped up their preseason schedule with an 98-86 loss at the hands of the Indiana Pacers in Fort Wayne, ending the hopes of a first undefeated preseason in the 26-year history of Charlotte NBA basketball, but don’t let their final mark of 7-1 fool you, as Charlotte hopes to build on what may be one of the most successful preseasons by the franchise. This got us thinking about what we learned from this preseason.
We learned that with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist out for the season, head coach Steve Clifford usually finds a way to get wins in the preseason, and that is what Charlotte did in this 8-game preseason slate, with some good, all-around playing time from Kemba Walker, Jeremy Lamb, Jeremy Lin, and a supporting cast that is looking to stand up and be counted when the season starts in 6 days from now in Miami against the Heat. If the rest of this roster can stay healthy, the Hornets could be potentially one of the sleeper teams in the Eastern Conference this year.
We learned that Frank Kaminsky is slowly but surely learning the ropes in his first year in the NBA, and in last night’s game, he was very impressive for Charlotte, finishing things up with 19 points in the loss, but we truly hope it can translate to a successful rookie campaign this season for the Hornets. Many of us didn’t want Frank to come to Charlotte when the team selected him in the first round of last year’s NBA Draft, but like I always say, you have to give him time to warm up to this level of play in the National Basketball Association, and who knows, he could potentially be the next big thing in the league, as his preseason performance was somewhat above average with a 7.5 ppg in 8 games this preseason. My take on this: Give Frank some time to adjust to the league, and have some of the other players on this roster for the Hornets teach him the basics of being patient, and most importantly, making his rookie campaign a successful one.
Tyler Hansbrough’s return to his home state was solid, which was another thing we learned from this preseason, and he finished his preseason campaign with 10 rebounds per game, which is good enough to be tied for fourth in the NBA preseason stats. Hansbrough is one of the guys we have to pay attention to, and he is well determined to help the Hornets out in any specific way this upcoming season.
And we finally learned this question: Will this preseason translate into a successful year for the Hornets? According to history, 22 teams that had 1 or 0 losses in preseason play since 2004-05, which was the year the NBA returned to Charlotte, have went on to make the playoffs after the regular season. The way I see it is this, we have to pay close attention to how the Hornets will enter this season with a fresh slate, and what kind of play can we expect from them in the regular season. Last season was a difficult one for the Hornets, but I absolutely hope that this year could be a bounce-back campaign for this team come Wednesday night, as Charlotte will open up it’s 26th NBA campaign, and their second as the Hornets on the road against the Miami Heat.