Though Terry Rozier is the starter, people want to see Devonte Graham and Ja Morant. In addition, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brandon Clarke will have some battles against PJ Washington — someone that the deepest realms of NBA Twitter consider to be the Rookie of the Year pick. Then, we get Jae Crowder against Nic Batum.
I caught up with Laieke Abebe from “At the Hive” to talk about tonight’s game.
1) Though they’re below .500, the Hornets have been better than expected. What is the reason for this?
I’ve never been positively surprised by a 4-6 start. The reason has been the development of multiple players and the discovery that the franchise might have something in P.J. Washington. Miles Bridges, Devonte’ Graham, Cody Martin, and even Cody Zeller (who is now extending his game beyond the arc) have all been revelations, especially Graham.
Graham comes into this game as the Hornets’ leading scorer (which I never would’ve guessed during this past summer). It’s a special story for Martin and Graham since they’re both from North Carolina (also known as the Hoop State) and are now playing for the franchise in their home state.
2) So you pay Terry Rozier, and Devonte Graham looks awesome. How does Graham’s performance affect the perception and role of Rozier?
So far, this is the most Hornets thing that’s happened this season. The truth is Rozier is pretty much doing what he did in Boston, but with more playing time in a new environment. Charlotte paid Rozier to have the production that Devonte’ Graham has given to this team in the first 10 games. That hasn’t been the case in the early stages of the year, but hopefully “Scary Terry” snaps out of it.
3) With a new era in Charlotte, which players look like keepers?
It’s still pretty early to tell who looks like a keeper in the current Hornets rotation. However, by the end of this year, a lot of veterans associated with this franchise over the last few years will likely not be re-signed unless they take a pay cut. In terms of who looks like a keeper right now, it looks like most of the rotation should be in the Hornets future plans. If there’s one that does need to step up, it’s Dwayne Bacon.
4) What matchup are you looking forward to the most?
Forget matchups. I just want to see Ja Morant play basketball. That’s it. That’s the Tweet.
5) What’s your final score prediction?
Random bench player who has career night against Charlotte, but won’t have that many points in a game the rest of the season: Kyle Anderson
Player that’ll make me unhappy when he scores on every possession: Jonas Valanciunas
Prediction: Ja Morant goes off, Grizzlies win 107-99 over the Hornets