After making the playoffs the Charlotte Hornets didn’t see themselves falling back to lottery territory. But the failure of the Lance Stephenson signing, the injury of Al Jefferson and the remaining need to add a shooter and improve the spacing issue caused them to stay out of the postseason.
So the main thing the Hornets will try and fix this offseason is their shooting. The Hornets were last in the NBA with 31.8% from beyond the arc, making only 6.1 3-pointers per game, 25th in the NBA. Without any cap space (if Jefferson and Gerald Henderson opt in with their player options, which they probably will), their only ways of adding a shooter will be through the mid level exception in free agency, a trade or find something in the draft.
Free agency is still too far away, so what can the Hornets do internally to improve the situation? Rookie P.J. Hairston didn’t make much of an impact (5.6 points per game in 45 appearances) but he’s a good enough shooter for teams to respect. Troy Daniels was hardly used as well, scoring 3.7 points per game, but he has the potential to be a very useful shooter and floor-spacer if he gets more minutes and improves his defense.
There’s also the Cody Zeller option. The big man did get more minutes in his second NBA season but didn’t really improve his numbers, scoring 7.6 points per game on 46.1% from the field. Three pointers? He actually finished with a perfect 100%, attempting just one. Clifford might try and turn him into a Chris Bosh style corner shooter, but that probably is a bit of a stretch.
And then there’s the draft. Players like Croatian Mario Hezonja, Kentucky’s Devin Booker or Wisconsin’s Sam Dekker have been mentioned in a nice little write up by Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. It’s probably going to take more than just one player, but an overhaul of the offense which includes changing the way Kemba Walker runs the point, in order to turn the Hornets into a scary outside shooting team.
Lance Stephenson, signing a 3-year, $27 million deal over the offseason, was supposed to bring that shooting factor to the team. He ended up shooting just 37.6% from the field and 17.1% from beyond the arc last season, a complete and utter failure.