(L-R) Charlotte Hornets guards James Bouknight, Terry Rozier, forward Jalen McDaniels and guard LaMelo Ball laugh as they participate in an after practice shoot around on Tuesday, September 27, 2022.

(L-R) Charlotte Hornets guards James Bouknight, Terry Rozier, ahead Jalen McDaniels and guard LaMelo Ball snicker as they take part in an after observe shoot round on Tuesday, September 27, 2022.


After 5 days of sometimes pinballing off one another and fascinating in loads of friendly-fire trash discuss, the Charlotte Hornets have reached that level within the coaching camp calendar.

The gamers are past desirous to play towards anybody apart from their very own teammates.

The Hornets tip off their five-game preseason schedule on Sunday in Boston after they tackle the Celtics at 1 p.m. at TD Backyard.

They are going to observe up their date in Massachusetts with three straight residence video games — together with one in Greensboro towards the Celtics on Friday — in six days earlier than they conclude issues in Philadelphia on Oct. 12, which is able to give them a full seven days to arrange for his or her season opener in San Antonio every week later.

“I like our schedule,” coach Steve Clifford mentioned. “There might be 5 robust video games and groups whose rosters convey several types of challenges. So clearly final 12 months with Boston, they had been terrific defensively they usually had been additionally very, excellent offensively. So loads of switching, a really versatile lineup. They do some issues out of their 5 on the market just a little otherwise than another groups do, so there might be loads of issues that we will have a look at that can assist us.”

So what ought to followers be careful for? Listed here are three issues to control:

1. Experimenting with combos

Clifford needed to educate himself on the Hornets’ roster shortly after being employed simply after the draft in June, and he’s watched loads of footage of the staff from a season in the past. However till the scrimmaging started for actual this week, he couldn’t fully decide the particular on-court combos he believes work finest as a unit.

Charlotte Hornets guard Terry Rozier smiles as he prepares to launch a shot throughout an after observe shoot round on Tuesday, September 27, 2022. JEFF SINER jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Throughout hefty parts of their closing three practices previous to leaving for Boston, they experimented with sure lineups, and that ought to proceed in earnest towards the Celtics.

Their preseason opener will present Clifford and his workers with a greater barometer and understanding of which gamers coexist nicely collectively. They’ll get an concept of what these collective teams are comfy with offensively and defensively, as a result of issues that wouldn’t in any other case stick out whereas scrimmaging towards themselves might pop up.

“I feel the depth of the roster is such that there’s clearly completely different ways in which you can go, completely different occasions taking part in small,” Clifford mentioned. “And there’s loads of guys that play multiple place. So this has been a superb stretch to attempt to have a look at all these issues.”.

2. Some rotation spots actually are up for grabs

It seems that a handful of rotation spots have but to be decided, and is probably not for the subsequent two weeks.

Clifford mentioned early within the week that incumbent beginning heart Mason Plumlee would return to the identical position and beforehand seldom-used third-year College of Kentucky product Nick Richards was on observe to start the season as his backup.

Charlotte Hornets heart Mason Plumlee strains up a shot throughout an after observe shoot round on Tuesday, September 27, 2022. JEFF SINER jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

However the Hornets’ full huge man image is way from settled and additional sophisticated by the absence of Miles Bridges, who had his court docket listening to to face felony domestic-violence expenses pushed back for a fourth time last week.

The Hornets should divide up the minutes vacated with the lack of Bridges, and likewise type out the reserve guard rotation behind the beginning backcourt of Ball and Rozier.

“With this roster, I feel that’s actually going to be during the fifth preseason sport,” Clifford mentioned. “Typically you watch a bunch play they usually match collectively nicely. So we’ve, to me, greater than 10 authentic rotation gamers. So once more, (it’s) watching all of it and simply making an attempt to get the perfect really feel for a way we will put lineups on the ground that can give us the perfect likelihood to play 48 minutes of excellent basketball.”

3. Sporadic taking part in time

Though ironing out the kinks is of the utmost significance for the Hornets, guaranteeing gamers are wholesome coming into the season is the principle precedence throughout the preseason.

Clifford mentioned they’ve had some fairly good contact of their coaching camp practices, resulting in the standard bumps and bruises that crop up when issues get going once more after the offseason. He’s hopeful these within the anticipated principal rotation will play towards Boston, together with the starters, however sounded unsure who can be accessible for the matinee begin.

“I haven’t even determined but,” Clifford mentioned. “I’m going to try this on the aircraft after observe to see how all people feels.”

Roderick Boone joined the Observer in September 2021 to cowl the Charlotte Hornets and NBA. In his greater than twenty years of writing concerning the world of sports activities, he’s chronicled every part from highschool rodeo to a significant league baseball no-hitter to the Tremendous Bowl to the Finals. The Lengthy Island native has deep North Carolina roots and enjoys watching “The Recent Prince of Bel Air” endlessly.
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