The new year is not starting off on a positive note for the Charlotte Hornets, as Al Jefferson will be out a minimum of four weeks with a groin injury.
This is a big blow to a Charlotte team that allows opponents to shoot 61.1 percent less than five feet from the rim, and the loss of Jefferson will undoubtedly affect those percentages.
This season Jefferson is playing at an All-Star level averaging 18 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. Replacing him in the lineup will not be easy.
Charlotte will likely rely on disappointing fourth-year big man Bismack Biyombo and promising second-year star Cody Zeller. The season has not gone as planned for the Hornets. The team was expected to be in playoff contention after a successful 2013-14 campaign.
However, the team has failed to meet expectations, and despite the signing of Lance Stephenson, currently sit last in the Southeast division. Things are looking bleak for the Hornets at this point, and it’s possible GM Rich Cho and Chairman Michael Jordan could start cleaning house, and that starts with head coach Steve Clifford.
The team is also exploring trade possibilities for Lance Stephenson.
The loss of Jefferson, combined with the team’s poor play, will likely keep them out of the playoffs. However, with a few additions to its roster, Charlotte could easily find themselves back in the hunt next year.