Matt Rochinski and Sam Perley of hornets.com will be following the Hornets throughout the 2017 NBA offseason and keeping fans up to date through the Buzz Words | Hornets Notebook. Keep checking back to see what the latest is as the season unfolds.
By Sam Perley, hornets.com | Monday, October 2, 10:43 a.m.
The Charlotte Hornets hit the road to kick off their five-game preseason schedule Monday night as they take on a very different-looking Boston Celtics squad. This will be the first of two preseason matchups for the Hornets against the Celtics as the teams will also meet again in Charlotte on Wednesday, Oct. 11.
Following practice on Friday afternoon, Hornets Head Coach Steve Clifford pinpointed the biggest benefit gained from the team’s first preseason outing.
“These first couple of preseason games, really seeing where [we’re] at organizationally and what things you have to work on. It just gives you more than anything else a teaching tool to make progress going forward.”
Even though it’s a preseason contest, executing a normal, gameday routine will still be a focal point for the Hornets come Monday.
“It’s [our] chance to get used to the way we do shootaround, this is the way we do team prep,” Clifford added. “This first [preseason] game is hard obviously because [Boston] will have four new starters. Once you’ve played a game, it’s basically your chance to get a process down.”
Despite finishing atop the Eastern Conference regular standings last season, the Celtics have just four returning players after a dramatic summer overhaul. Gone are the likes of Isaiah Thomas (Cleveland), Avery Bradley (Detroit), Jae Crowder (Cleveland), Amir Johnson (Philadelphia) and Kelly Olynyk (Miami) and in come Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Marcus Morris and third-overall draft pick Jayson Tatum.
During Charlotte’s opening preseason contest last year against Dallas, all five starters saw between 22 and 24 minutes played. After the team’s Sunday morning practice, Clifford stated he plans to have the first string see a similar amount of action against Boston.
From an injury standpoint, both point guard Michael Carter-Williams (knees) and forward Treveon Graham (hamstring) will be unavailable for Charlotte on Monday night.
While the final outcome of Monday’s game is entirely inconsequential, the level of execution and chemistry the Hornets exhibit should be a valuable measuring stick for the team moving forward.