Even if Nic “The Lisieux Laser” Batum hadn’t come right out and said “my injury is affecting the way I play”, most close observers of the Hornets could easily tell that something is wrong with him. He’s normally been an effective shooter who simply had fallen prey to bad shot selection, but now his percentages have dipped into “dangerously bad” territory. He doesn’t get much at the rim at all, and his three-point shot has apparently abandoned him (27% from three this year even after factoring in the 5/9 he shot from that distance in this game).
It’s getting to the point where the Hornets shouldn’t even think about playoffs anymore; getting Batum back from injury hasn’t helped them win more games, and by the time Batum is back to himself, they might have fallen even further out of the playoff hunt. Unfortunately for them, Batum’s contract is nearly untradeable (5 years, 120 million!), so it’ll be hard to blow up the team, so maybe they should take some pages out of the Orlando Magic playbook and keep trying to win games with their lackluster roster, then do minor retooling in the offseason, only to come back and win 35 games the next season too.