Players and coaches both mentioned Thursday morning as the most productive of five Charlotte Hornets practices before Friday’s first preseason exhibition.
Those same players and coaches brought up communication as what they liked best about Thursday.
“We are doing a lot of drills where we are forced to communicate, like transition drills,” Hornets guard Jeremy Lamb mentioned, following the last practice at the Dean Smith Center.
New coach James Borrego places a particularly high value on communication - in general, but specifically on the court. Even if each player knows what he is supposed to do in a given offensive set or defensive scheme, its of limited value if players aren’t constantly talking about what they’re encountering.
“I don’t like gray area, I don’t like lack of clarity,” Borrego said. “The only way to gain clarity on the court when you’re playing basketball is to communicate, talk.
“Otherwise, people just do whatever they want (in defensive) coverages. That’s not what we want. We want players to know their roles, know their coverages and that comes out of communication.”
Borrego still hadn’t made a final decision Thursday morning on who will start in Friday’s preseason exhibition against the Boston Celtics in part because of injuries.
Malik Monk has aggravated a pelvic contusion suffered earlier in training camp and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has a mild left ankle sprain. Both those players are listed as probable, but often players sit out preseason exhibitions with minor injuries as a precaution.
Lots of 3s
Borrego wants the Hornets attempting far more 3-pointers this season than they did last season. Last season, they averaged 27.2 attempts, 21st among the 30 NBA teams.
“I think we’re pushing closer to middle-30s,” Borrego said of his goal.
“We’re shooting a lot of 3s right now, but the challenge is finding great shots from 3. Not just an OK 3 or a challenged 3 or a contested 3, but open 3s. Is every 3 we take going to be uncontested? No. But the more open 3s we take than our opponent, the better.”
Corner 3s along the baseline is a shorter shot the way the NBA arc is drawn than 3s taken from above the lane. Borrego and his staff are emphasizing spacing schemes intended to create more corner 3s.
Hornets rookie point guard Devonte Graham grew up in Raleigh before playing college ball at Kansas. He played at the Smith Center in a high school playoff game, but never played there in college. So he’s looking forward to Friday, when numerous family and friends will be there for the exhibition against the Celtics.
“I wasn’t recruited by a UNC or a Duke, so I had to go where my options were given. Kansas happened to be one, and I’m happy to be at that school,” said Graham.