Jeremy Lin, Al Jefferson leaving Charlotte makes Hornets a better defensive team

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Apr 8, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard Jeremy Lin (7) goes up for a shot against Brooklyn Nets guard Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (24) during the first half at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Jeremy Lin and Al Jefferson are two of the key guys in the Charlotte Hornets last season but left in free agency this 2016 offseason. According to their head coach Steve Clifford, the team will improve defensively because of the roster changes this summer.

Jeremy Lin signed a three-year contract worth $38.3 million with the Brooklyn Nets while Al Jefferson signed a three-year contract worth $30 million with the Indiana Pacers. Others who left are Courtney Lee, who went to the New York Knicks for a four-year $48 million contract and Troy Daniels, who was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies.

“We probably don’t have as many points in our lineup. We lost a lot of offense, but I think we’ll figure that out. We have potential to be better defensively. We get Mike (Kidd-Gilchrist) back and he’s an elite perimeter defender,” Clifford said about the type of team he has for the upcoming 2016-2017 NBA Season, via the Charlotte Observer.

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Last season, the Hornets made the NBA Playoffs and were the 11th team in the league in average points per game at 103.4 points per game. Defensively, the Hornets gave up 100.7 points per game, or the ninth best team in the league in holding down the opponents’ scoring.

Jeremy Lin averaged 11.7 points per game in the regular season for the Hornets and was the fourth top scorer for the team. Al Jefferson was third at 12.0 points per game but saw limited games in the regular season. In the playoffs, Jefferson averaged 13.3 points per game, or second in the team and Lin averaged 12.4 points per game, or third in the team.

Without Lin and Jefferson, Kemba Walker will again lead the team’s offense next season. Nicolas Batum and Marvin Williams were two of the free agents retained by the team this summer.

Hornets’ free agency acquisitions this year are veteran Ramon Sessions and Roy Hibbert, both of whom can also contribute to Charlotte’s offense.

Jeremy Lin is now the starting point guard for the Nets, a team whose offense needs major help. Lin has said in interviews that he’s excited to be one of the top offensive players for the team along with star center Brook Lopez.

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Will the Hornets miss Jeremy Lin and Al Jefferson on offense in the upcoming NBA season? Or will their defensive improvement negate the loss of their former players?

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