Martin, McDaniels recalled; Borrego frustrated with defense
The Hornets recalled Caleb Martin and Jalen McDaniels from the G-League's Greensboro Swarm on Tuesday and both players could see playing time Wednesday night against the Detroit Pistons.
There's a few reasons why playing time for the G-Leaguers is possible. For starters, the Hornets are dealing with some injuries, as Cody Zeller suffered a hip contusion and Malik Monk sprained his finger in Monday night's loss to the Heat. both players were listed as "probable" Tuesday, but could still be limited Wednesday.
Another reason that Martin and McDaniels could both see playing time is head coach James Borrego is disappointed with the team's recent play on defense and mentioned potential line-up changes as a solution.
As of Tuesday, the Hornets were the worst in the league at defensive rebounds per-game, the worst in opponent field goal percentage and the worst in points allowed in the paint. They are also 25th in the league in opponent three-point percentage.
It's highly unlikely that Martin and McDaniels are the answer to the Hornets' defensive problems, but they are two players eager to prove themselves at the NBA level and Borrego could use them to send a message to regular rotation players. The duo is playing well with the Swarm though. Martin is averaging 18.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per-game, while McDaniels is posting 17.8 points and 9.5 rebounds per-game.
But it's also possible that Martin and McDaniels were just called up for an NBA-level practice on Tuesday and could be reassigned to the Swarm before Wednesday's game.
What is more likely is that we'll see increased minutes for Cody Martin on Wednesday.
Martin's minutes took a hit when Nic Batum returned from injury, but he was playing well for the Hornets before then and had a meaningful role. He threw the inbounds pass to Monk for the game-winner against the Pistons earlier this month and had began to establish himself as a player who was always going to hustle on defense. Martin is third in the league in charges drawn per-36 minutes (1.18) and is second in the league in contested three-pointers per-36 minutes (6.5). The Nevada product is also averaging 2.5 rebounds and a steal per-game this season.
At the very least, Martin gives max effort on defense, something that can't be said for a few other Hornets. Borrego put Martin in Monday just before halftime and assigned him to defend Jimmy Butler. It's clear that Borrego values Martin's effort and play on defense, but finding playing time for him has been difficult.
Nevertheless, based on this tweet from Rick Bonnell, it sounds like we might see some different lineups on Wednesday vs. the Pistons.
One of the reasons Borrego is frustrated is because of the defense. Here's an example of the Hornets not executing on that end. Miles Bridges ditching his assignment to triple-team in the pain creates an open three-pointer. In this example, Duncan Robinson missed the shot, but the Hornets weren't so lucky in several other instances.