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Hornets bring in Mustafa Shakur
The Hornets are trying to fill the void behind Chris Pau, and yesterday they agreed to partially guaranteed a contract with Mustafa Shakur. I would assume that means he comes in to training camp, and the Hornets will decide there whether to hold on to him.
Before we get to Shakur, and what he could bring to the team, I did want to point out that this would be only the second time in recent memory that the Hornets will be trying out a former D-Leaguer in training camp. After years of hoping the Hornets would dump the over 30 veteran retreads and instead bring in someone young and developing like Courtney Sims to compete for end of the bench roles, it looks like I’ll finally get my wish.
I reached out to Matt Hubert of THN’s D-League Digest, to get his take on the Hornets signing of Mustafa Shakur:
The Hornets’ decision to sign Mustafa Shakur makes a lot of sense to anyone who followed the D-League last year. After going undrafted out of Arizona and spending two years overseas, Shakur turned heads in his rookie season in the D-League, averaging 19.2 points with a true shooting percentage of 58. His strong play earned him a spot on the D-League All-Star team in February, a call-up to the Oklahoma City Thunder in March (though he did not see any game action) and a second-team all D-League selection at the end of the season in April. He also helped lead Tulsa to the conference finals of the D-League playoffs.In the wake of the Hornets’ decision to send Darren Collison to Indiana, New Orleans has a need at backup point guard, and I think Shakur could be a good fit. He won’t be asked to score like he was in the D-League, but he will be asked to be smart with the ball if and when he sees the floor. Last season in the D-League he finished eighth in the league with 6.9 assists per game and a respectable but not great 2.14 assists per turnover.But the biggest takeway from this signing is the fact that the Hornets appear to be turning over a new leaf under new general manager Dell Demps, formerly of the Austin Toros. His D-League experience may prove to open new doors for an organization that previously had very little involvement with the D-League, and the signing of Shakur could be just the beginning.
Mustafa Shakur, 1984, 6’5, 185, Point Guard
It has been a while since we’ve checked in on Shakur, who has made notable strides since leaving Arizona. After stints with Prokom Trefl of Poland and the Euroleague and TAU Ceramica (now Caja Laboral), Shakur exploded in the NBADL last season, showing some new wrinkles to his skill set that make him a much more viable NBA talent. He’s a considerably better shooter than he was as a collegian, improving his mechanics and forcing teams to respect his range in catch and shoot situations. His improved range and confidence off the dribble have opened up his floor game. Showing a knack for playing with pace, seeing the floor better, and making much better decisions with the ball than he did in the past thanks to his increased maturity level and basketball IQ, Shakur is a clear-cut NBA caliber player when you factor in his outstanding physical tools.