News heading into the Hornets’ matchup against the Kings

The Hornets entered Sunday’s game against the Indiana Pacers riding a three-game winning streak. Unfortunately, everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong for Charlotte Sunday. The team shot an abysmal 30.8 percent from the field (28-91) and 5-32 from three-point land (15.6 percent) in a 107-85 loss. 

Luckily, the Hornets have an opportunity to turn the ship around and jump back into their recent success. They have returned from a three-game road trip as they face the Sacramento Kings Tuesday night. The two teams faced off at the beginning of the season where the Hornets came out victorious in a 118-111 win back on October 30th. 

There has been some news surrounding the Hornets heading into Tuesday’s game, including where P.J. Washington’s minutes will be distributed to, along with Terry Rozier’s recent slump. Let’s get into it.

Who will take P.J. Washington’s minutes?

P.J. Washington underwent successful surgery on Monday to repair a fracture on the fifth finger on his right hand. He will miss an extended period of time for the Hornets, at least missing all of the Hornets’ games through Christmas.

In the meantime, the Hornets will need to fill the 29.4 minutes Washington averaged this season. As we saw Sunday, Cody Zeller started in place of the rookie as the Hornets fell to the Pacers 107-85. A starting lineup consisting of the team’s two centers is not going to be a reoccurring strategy going forward. 

Marvin Williams has missed the previous five games nursing a right knee injury. The likelihood that Williams plays Tuesday night is quite high as he was listed as probable on the NBA’s 1:30 PM injury report. 

Charlotte has missed Willaims’ leadership and versatility over the previous handful of games. His impact on this team is immense. It does not show up in box scores or in the stat book, but his presence is always felt. James Borrego stamped Williams as “the rock” of this young Hornets team, continuously praising the value the 14-year veteran brings.

Williams has not started for the Hornets this season, but tonight he will likely get the nod. He has shown the value he provides offensively as a veteran leader on the floor. He’s shooting an impressive 49.6 percent from the floor this season. Williams has the ability to stretch the floor as a shooter (40.0 percent on three-pointers this season), along with his ability to take advantage of size mismatches in the post where he has scored at an efficient rate this season. 

Who takes the rest of the available minutes?

Marvin Williams will likely see north of 20 minutes per game until Washington returns. The remaining time will be split between a mixture of Cody Martin, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Malik Monk. Once Batum returns, he will almost certainly be instituted back into the bench rotation, likely at the expense of MKG and Cody Martin. 

Dwayne Bacon has had very inconsistent playing time since returning from a knee injury that sidelined him two games last month. He is another candidate who may potentially see some more time here and there, but everything indicates that his playing time will continue to differ on a nightly basis. Until Batum returns, he has a better chance of seeing some meaningful minutes on the floor.

Additionally, Cody Martin is going to eat up the extra available minutes – especially considering Batum’s status. The rookie has averaged 22.4 minutes over the last three games, averaging 6 points, 3 rebounds, and 1.6 assists. 

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will continue to play minutes in the Hornets’ regular rotation. He was inserted into the rotation for the first time this season against the Hawks and has averaged 18.6 minutes per game in the five games following. Now that Washington is sidelined and Batum is likely out again Tuesday, MKG is going to see 15+ minutes. In those 18.6 minutes, he is averaging 5 pts, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.2 assists. Where Kidd-Gilchrist provides his true value is on the defensive end. 

Terry Rozier’s recent slump

For much of the season, Terry Rozier has debunked every narrative that has been written about him in his early career. He had been labeled as an inefficient, high-volume scorer who could not benefit his team in extended minutes. Recently, he has run into a bit of slump over the Hornets’ past five games. Over this stretch, Rozier has averaged just 10.4 points per game. He’s shooting 27.5 percent from the field, including 20 percent from beyond the arc. The team has a 3-2 record in that stretch but has missed the efficiency that helped propel this team for much of the year. 

Rozier’s slump is not something to take too heavily. He is attempting the same shots he has for the entirety of this season. Terry’s just not knocking down the looks he has for much of the year. That’s the reality in the NBA. Players – especially perimeter-oriented players like Rozier – go through rough patches. Notably, Rozier was very successful in his first 14 games when Devonte’ Graham started as his backcourt mate. In that stretch, he averaged 19.8 points on 47.8 percent from the field and 46.1 percent from three (7.4 three-point attempts per game). 

Rozier and the Hornets are back home following a three-game road trip, and Terry is bound for a bounce-back game on Tuesday night. He had previous success against the Sacramento Kings earlier this season in the 7-point win. On October 30th, Rozier posted a stat line of 22 points (7-15 FG / 3-6 3pt), 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, and two blocks.