This offseason has been full of additions to the Hornets roster, both through the draft and free agency. From the drafting of a hometown boy in P.J. Hairston to the signing of the superstar in the making in Lance Stepenson, the Hornets jerseys will not be the only thing with a new look this year! Lost in shuffle, a piece of this team who may have a big part in its success, has been here the whole time.
Jeff Taylor, a 6 foot 7 inch wing-man is back and feeling good after a season ending injury last year. He was the first pick in the second round in 2012 and has a solid rookie year averaging 20 minutes a game with 6 points and two assist per game. He also shot the three ball at a respectable 34% rate and showed an ability to play above average defense. Everyone believed that he would take a big step forward last year, but his season limited to 26 games last year due to injury.
So now he is back and healthy, and rejoining a much improved roster. He has been given clearance for full basketball activity. He will be called upon to be a very important part of the bench, playing minutes at both shooting guard and small forward. The combination of Taylor and Gerald Henderson, who will likely be moved to the bench with the Stephenson signing, give the Hornets a very solid bench duo.
The depth that the Hornets have will also allow Taylor to regain his confidence and stroke slowly, with him not being asked to do to much right from the start. As his confidence grows, look for his impact to become more prevalent as well.
I look for Taylor to play 20-23 minutes a game this season. If he can average 10 point, 3 rebounds and 3 assists per game while playing his tough defense, things should be looking very good for the Hornets as the playoffs approach!