Video Sponsored by Ridge Wallet. Check them out here: https://ridge.com/HEATCHECK
The Hornets hit Brooklyn with this beautiful action, literally on the first play of the game.
As Lamelo brings it up, we got 2 screens for him up top. Thing is, both Hayward and Plumlee slip those, while Ball attacks along the right side. This catches the Nets defenders by surprise and the big man finds himself wide open under the basket. So Lamelo finds him with a laser pass, and we got an uncontested dunk.
Charlotte absolutely stunned the Brooklyn Nets by coming to their place and beating them, to start the season at 3-0 for the first time in franchise history.
Let me show you some of the reasons for the hot start. What up everybody, my name is Stefan and this is Heat Check. Let’s get into it.
First of all, we have to start with Miles Bridges. To me he’s been the main guy early on for Charlotte, and so far in these 3 games he’s averaging 25 points per game which is literally double than his 12.7 last season. You can absolutely see that this is sustainable because of the aggressiveness that he’s showing early on. Look at some of these moves when attacking the basket. Dude is expanding his repertoire and is becoming hard to guard at his position.
And when you think of Bridges, the first thing that probably comes to mind are his superhuman dunks that almost caused the Hornets announcer to have a heart attack.
But despite this, Miles was a 40% shooter from downtown last year, and it seems like he’s keeping up with this pace, and even making a step forward.
It’s logical to try to increase the shots from outside so he’s been doing that going from 4 to 6, but at the same time making more so at the start of this new season he’s sitting at 44.4%.
I believe that Bridges can keep up with this pace, and if not above 20, he can definitely average 19 points for the year, and with that he will surely be among the main candidates for most improved player.
Next, I wanna point out the fact that this team plays incredibly fast paced with a lot of passing. In fact so much so that they’re at the top of the league, number 1 with 29 assists per game in these 3 matchups.
And you already know who’s at the forefront when it comes to this. Lamelo Ball. At this point you almost expect that he will do something incredible each and every game.
Right here, he drives, and at this moment Ball already sees the wide open Hayward in the corner, but instead of telegraphing that pass, check out how he looks towards Bridges, completely faking out the defense, as you can see the help guy going there. The incredible no look pass plus the amazing hangtime on this assist, as Hayward knocks down the three.
Moving on. Even when Ball is not in the game, Ish Smith has been great early on in running the point guard position off the bench. With 5.7 assists it’s almost like the team doesn’t miss a beat when Lamelo is not in the game. And a lot of people don’t know that even tho he’s older now, Ish is still among the quickest guys in the league, so it’s always fun seeing him use that speed and go into attack mode causing all kinds of problems for the defense. In fact, Smith along with Cody Martin started the run that brought back Charlotte in the game against Brooklyn so Lamelo himself told coach Borego to ride it out with Smith. I absolutely love this, and it shows great maturity and trust in the team from such a young player. This was an incredible move, and it paid off big time, so I can only imagine how the atmosphere and the team chemistry is for the Hornets at the moment. So yeah, this was the real reason why he wasn’t playing in the 4th quarter of a big game. Coach Borego confirmed that in the postgame press conference.
On the topic of the team, they accomplished their goals of having a deep roster, and being long and athletic especially on the defensive end.
Against the Nets for example, they started Lamelo Ball, Kelly Oubre, Gordon Hayward, Miles Bridges and Mason Plumlee.
This is an incredibly long and versatile lineup that can move quickly, switch, and it allows them
to get a ton of steals and get up in transition for a lot of easy points.
Charlotte has been getting 10.7 steals in these 3 games, which is a ton considering that last season the league leaders had 9 per game. I know it’s early of course, but I have to point out what this team has been doing well on the court.
At the end I also want to give a shoutout to Gordon Hayward who is another guy on this roster having a great start to the season. Of course with him the performance is not the main concern as his injuries. So hopefully he can stay on the floor and be another weapon for the Hornets.
When you add in the fact that Terry Rozier hasn’t even played in 2 of the first 3 games, meaning that they are yet to be in full strength, things are looking incredibly promising right?