The Charlotte Hornets rank ninth in the NBA in scoring at nearly 103 points per game. They rank seventh in 3-point shooting percentage at 36.7 percent. They’re playing with more defensive intensity, too. But the offensive output is the big difference for this year’s Hornets, who’ve bounced back from a tough start to climb above .500. What’s different? For one thing center Al Jefferson has faith — not just in himself but in his shooters. He’s kicking it out (sometimes) and the ball is now moving in Charlotte — because teams have watched the Spurs and now the Warriors move it and they see the NBA game itself is on the move. The new-look Hornets (Nic Batum, Jeremy Lamb, Jeremy Lin, Frank Kaminsky and Spencer Hawes are all new) have the lineup to compete uptempo — witness the scoring. And the NBA is an increasingly uptempo league.
Now Jeremy Lin, as Steve Clifford teased over the summer, is starting in the backcourt with Kemba Walker — a modest version of the Klay Thompson-Steph Curry splash brothers tandem. All the Hornets need now is for Lin, who’s getting more comfortable in the Hornets flow with increasing minutes, to start raising his shooting percentage. Lin’s having a frustrating time getting the ball to go in the basket so far, shooting just 40 percent from the field and 29 percent from 3-point land. But Lin’s still producing the intangibles that landed him the starting spot. With Jefferson intent on spreading the floor, Lin should see his shooting stats rise.