Who’s going to Step Up in the absence of MKG?
On October 4th in a preseason game against the Miami Heat Michael Kidd-Gilchrist injured his shoulder. The injury looked really bad at the time and you just knew he was going to be out for a while. Well what we knew became real when the Hornets announced that MKG had chosen to have shoulder surgery, which will sideline him for 6 months.
MKG’s injury starts the Hornets season of on a sour note. But the Hornets can’t dwell on it; instead they’re going to need someone to step up in his absence. Jeremy Lamb, PJ Hairston, and Troy Daniels are going to have a chance to fight for minutes. Who steps up remains to be seen, but one of them must step up if the Hornets are to have any chances of making the playoffs.
Lamb will most likely end up getting the most minutes and a chance to start, he didn’t get consistent minutes on the Thunder so know body really knows what he is capable of until he gets the consistent minutes he needs. What he has shown so far is that he can hit shots from three-point range, which the Hornets need. He’s averaging 35 percent from three-point range for his career which isn’t a great number, but his percentages will most likely rise with more playing time.
Lamb can also help the Hornets on defense, which is what Steve Clifford preaches. Although he hasn’t been a smart defender when he played for the Thunder, he has the tools to be good on that end. He has good lateral quickness and length. If he can stop gambling on defense then he should earn consistent minutes.
PJ Hairston didn’t get to play a lot last year; Steve Clifford just didn’t trust him. On defense he would gamble too much, and on offense it seemed like every time he touched the ball he shot it (which he did, he has zero assists so far in two pre-season games, and averaged 0.9 assists last year.) PJ seems to come into games guns blazing, he shoots the ball a lot and if the shots aren’t falling he has nothing else he brings to the table. If he focuses on defense this year, and taking and making the open three, he can help the Hornets, if not his minutes need to continue to be limited.
Troy Daniels is kind of undersized for the two-guard position, but what he lacks for in size, he makes up for with his shooting. A product of the Rio Grand Vipers, the Houston Rockets D-League affiliate. Troy Daniels is a skilled three-point shooter he averaged 47 percent from three-point range during the eleven games he played for the Hornets last year. His percentages will drop, but if he can average around 40 percent from three this year he will earn consistent minutes.
Which player earns minutes will ultimately be up to the coaching staff and Steve Clifford, whoever he chooses though must be ready to help this team win on a consistent basis.