Behind enemy lines: Charlotte Hornets

Behind enemy lines: Charlotte Hornets
August 11, 2014, 12:00 pm
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(Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports)

This is a series to look at how the Wizards stack up against their opponents in the East, where they finished 44-38 last season for a No. 5 playoff seed and advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in nine years. Today:

Charlotte Hornets

2013-14 finish: 43-39, 3rd in Southeast Division and 7th in the East. Was swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Miami Heat after C Al Jefferson's foot injury ruined would could've been a competitive series. 

Season series vs. Wizards: Hornets won, 3-1, including a crucial comeback overtime victory at Verizon Center late in the regular season that gave them a momentary higher seeding in the playoff picture. The Wizards would finish two spots ahead in the standings in the end. 

Key losses: PF Josh McRoberts, SF Anthony Tolliver.

Key additions: PG Lance Stephenson, PF Noah Vonleh.

Outlook: The Hornets were able to get back into the lottery because of a protected draft pick from the Detroit Pistons. That resulted in Vonleh, passing on Doug McDermott who shined during summer league play. An already tough, hard-nosed defense team under coach Steve Clifford, the Hornets are that much better by acquiring Stephenson from the Indiana Pacers. He gives them better backcourt size and can play on or off ball. Charlotte was an easy mark for the Wizards early in the season but PG Kemba Walker and SG Gerald Henderson roasted them in three meetings in March. This team already presented a matchup problem as Jefferson had a laser-like focus after being shown up by Wizards C Marcin Gortat in their first meeting. 

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