The Hornets this year have been a surprise that somehow has still gone under the radar. Nicolas Batum and Kemba Walker have been having career years. They are top 5 in 3pt percentage and top 10 in 3 point attempts which is a recipe for success in today’s game. I have like many others criticized the team in the past but Clifford has pushed the team in a good direction and the results are showing.
My favorite lineup of theirs is honestly the one they use the most. Walker-Lee-Batum-Williams-Zeller which gives them 4 floor spacers and a serviceable big man who can run the floor. They will use this lineup the most in the postseason more than likely and I want this lineup out there at least 28 minutes a game. If they do that they will be hell against anyone.
While Kemba has vastly improved this year I still hate when the ball gets stuck in his hands. On ISO possessions he only gets 0.74 points per possession and ranks in the 36th percentile. It is not pretty so I hope they keep the ball movement flow and Kemba does not go into his old ways of dribbling out the clock which he admittedly has pulled away from for the most part this year. He brings something a lot of teams lack and that is a real ability to explode. If Kemba dropped 40 tomorrow nobody would be surprised. Having someone who can bail out your team like that is huge and Kemba brings just that. The team likes to get him attacking the hole early and that is clearly the game plan as they run multiple screens for him and hopefully crash the team into the paint because he can make shots like this at the rim.
Defensively they are good at running teams off the 3 point line, but sadly that will not matter as much to a Heat team that has played most of the year with 0 spacing to begin with. They will need to pack the paint on them and if they can bait Whiteside into early foul trouble the game will be theirs. Otherwise they do not have an answer for Whiteside and that will make things tremendously hard for them. I have the Hornets pushing the Miami Heat to the brink of 7 games but ultimately falling. after reviewing a lot of film on this team I think many are overlooking this team and they will surprise people by taking a team who many believe is ECF bound to the brink. What Clifford is doing down there is incredible he should receive all the praise thrown his way.