Matchup Preview: Charlotte Hornets vs Orlando Magic


Over the next month, we’ll be talking with a variety of people who cover each NBA team to find out a little bit about their team, and how they expect the season to go. We’ll also find out what they believe will be the most intriguing matchup when the two team’s meet during the regular season. We’re joined by Chris Barnewall of At The Hive to discuss the up-and-coming Charlotte Hornets. Usually I would tell you to follow Chris, but that’s not the best of decisions, but if you want to you can @ChrisBarnewall

Game Dates 

Friday, November 21st @ Charlotte 

Saturday, December 27th @ Charlotte 

Saturday, January 3rd @ Orlando 

Sunday, March 1st @ Orlando 

Last Season: 43-39; Finished Seventh in Eastern Conference; Lost in First Round to Miami 

December 11th: Charlotte 83 Orlando 92 

January 17th: Orlando 101 Charlotte 111

March 28th: Orlando 110 Charlotte 105 OT 

April 4th: Charlotte 91 Orlando 80 

Projected Starters 

Point Guard: Kemba Walker

Shooting Guard: Lance Stephenson 

Small Forward: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 

Power Forward: Cody Zeller 

Center: Al Jefferson 

Apr 23, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Charlotte Bobcats forward Josh McRoberts (11) reacts against the Miami Heat guard Norris Cole (30) in game two during the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Q: How much of an impact does the departure of Josh McRoberts end up having on the Hornets this season? 

A: I think it has a major impact on the way the offense functions, but not on the overall results. Despite McRoberts ability to pass and run the offense, he’s still not a starting caliber power forward on most NBA teams. Not that his likely replacement, Cody Zeller, is currently a starting caliber player, it’s just not the biggest loss ever. The team will be fine without him.

Q: Heading into his third year in the league, what is the biggest thing that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist needs to improve on? 

A: Everybody is going to say a jumpshot, and based on what he’s been working on, that would seem to be the case. But I think he should work on getting to the rim. He’s a fantastic finisher and has crazy athleticism. I think he should be improving skills to get to the rim so he can utilize those finishing skills. All of that said, Kidd-Gilchrist needs to find some way to be helpful on offense this year. Defense’s pay very little attention to him on that side of the ball, and it hurt the team overall.

Q: What’s one matchup you’ll have your eyes on when the Magic and Hornets meet this season?

More from Games

A: The Lance Stephenson vs Victor Oladipo matchup should be fun. They’re both plus defenders with the ability to create when they have the ball in their hands. They have very similar skill sets, and watching those two go back and forth will be fun.

Q: After taking that next step last season, what kind of expectations should the Hornets have this year? Could we see a deeper playoff run?

A: The Hornets should expect to make the playoffs. Last year it was a goal, this year it’s an expectation. Anything less is a failure. We could definitely see them get out of the 1st round this year. I personally thought they had the ability to do that last year as well, but between Al Jefferson’s injury, and getting the Miami Heat, there was no real chance of it happening.