Offseason Targets: Point Guards

Published: June 12, 2011

Hornets have an Elite PG, but could still be in the market

Leading up to the 2011 NBA draft, we will take a look at each position and consider options for the Hornets- not only in the draft, but in free agency and through trades as well. The first part in our series has us looking at the point guard position, which is without question the most stable position on the current roster. Most will say that with Chris Paul and Jarrett Jack under contract for next season, point guard is the one position that the Hornets will not look to address. I wouldn’t be so sure.

While Chris Paul is well on his way to reclaiming the crown as best point guard in the game, the simple truth is that Jack was far more effective playing shooting guard this season. Combine that with the fact that the team that is just one win away from the NBA Finals has, in essence, three point guards getting legitimate playing time, and I could envision a scenario in which the Hornets add another point guard in their rotation.


The Hornets hold the 45th pick and if they remain there, it is possible that the greatest value can come from the point guard position. Most of the guys listed below are combo guards (which is why they could be available at 45), but I will list them here because I will save the more traditional shooting guards for part two of this piece.

1. Charles Jenkins (Hofstra)

He has been rising up the boards of late, and could go as high as No.17 to the Knicks, but there is also a great chance that he could be there at No. 45 since he does not have a “true position.” Jenkins is roughly the same size as Jack, with a great motor and a terrific ability to score. Some compare him to a poor man’s OJ Mayo, a guy who seems to be a target of several Hornets fans this season. If Jenkins is on the board, I think Demps scoops him up and worries about how to get him playing time later.

2. Nolan Smith (Duke)

I know that he is listed at shooting guard, but Smith has played plenty at point guard and his build will keep him from getting minutes at shooting guard in the NBA. Smith is a consummate winner and that will go over well with Demps/Monty. The fact that he can get to the line, play excellent defense, and he rebounds well for his size won’t hurt either. A Smith/Jack combo could work very well, as Jack can play off the ball on offense and Smith can cover either position on defense. Another guy Dell would leap at if he were there when the Hornets picked.

3. Norris Cole (Cleveland State)

Mock drafts have Cole going anywhere from 19 to 56, so who knows if he will be on the board, but if he is then he should be somebody that the Hornets look at. Put it this way, if the Hornets could get Eric Maynor for 3 years/2.5 million dollars, would they take it? Of course they would. Cole’s game reminds me a lot of Maynor’s coming out and unlike the other two ahead of him, Cole is a true PG. He would allow both Jack and Paul to play off the ball and could get this team out and running in transition. He would be an excellent value if he were still around when the Hornets picked.

Other possibilities: Andrew Goudelock (College of Charleston), Iman Shumpert (Georgia Tech), Shelvin Mack (Butler)

Free Agency

1. Mario Chalmers (Heat)

Chalmers is a shot maker who is not fully appreciated in Miami. Similar to Shannon Brown last year, he will have to chose between more money and a better defined role on another team or a chance at a ring with his current squad. The Heat will never fully appreciate Chalmers and will always be looking to upgrade. A modest contract might be able to pull him away. Chalmers and Jack would compliment each other on both ends and the Hornets could definitely use the outside shooting that Chalmers provides.

2. Patty Mills (Portland)

The Blazers are another team who is looking for point guard help and because of that they might not protect what is in their own backyard. Portland loves last year’s first round pick Armon Johnson, and because of that, they are likely to let Mills walk. Patty Mills and Monty Williams have worked together in the past and he would be somebody the Hornets should look at if he comes at a modest price.

3. Marcus Banks (Hornets)

Okay, obviously a joke. The point guard market is just so bad that I couldn’t come up with a third guy who would fit and/or wouldn’t command too high of a salary. In all seriousness, maybe a Sebastian Telfair or a Carlos Arroyo type could be brought in around the league minimum, but I think Demps and Monty would prefer a hungry D-League type of guy over a journeyman.


1. Will Bynum (Pistons)

Detroit might have to pay Rodney Stuckey this summer and they might select another small guard in the draft if a guy like Kemba Walker falls. Bynum has 2 years/7 million left on his contract and could have a Barea-like effect on the Hornets, teaming up with Paul and Jack while somebody like Belinelli plays the Deshawn Stevenson role for the Hornets. Over the last 3 years, nearly 60% of Bynum’s shots came “at the rim”, something the Hornets don’t get much of from Jack or Paul.

2. Chris Duhon (Magic)

Orlando vastly overpaid for Duhon and now have no use for him after acquiring Gilbert Arenas. Duhon wouldn’t be a horrible fit for the Hornets, however, as he is a very good defender, has great work ethic, and is a team-first/positive locker room guy. He has about 3 years/10 million left on his deal, and since we will be doing Orlando a favor by taking his contract off their hands, some assets (Daniel Orton, Earl Clark, and/or picks) should come with him in the deal.

3. Jordan Farmar (Nets)

New Jersey has no use for him now that D-Will is in the fold and Farmar is good friends with Trevor Ariza. Could be a good fit. Farmar’s price tag is a little high (2 years/8.2 million) but he can guard quicker PG’s and his scoring ability would be welcome. Like Duhon, he is overpaid so the Hornets would be justified in asking for additional assets if they were to take him on.


While the Hornets have more pressing needs, Dell Demps will add a point guard if it presents good value for the club. If there are no 35 minute per game shooting guards available for a good price, the Hornets could choose to go small a la Dallas and rotate 3 point guards with one shooting guard in their backcourt. The draft is loaded with guys who can fill that type of role, and quite frankly, that is where the value is most likely to be at No. 45. Any big who can legitimately play in the NBA will be snatched up by then and none of the small forwards at that point will have a higher ceiling than Quincy Pondexter. Because of that, it is extremely likely that the Hornets add another point guard or combo guard in the upcoming draft, assuming they stay at No.45.

The free agent market does not offer much value for the Hornets, and a point guard will only come via trade if one of our current point guards are sent out or if the point guard is a throw in for salary purposes or is a salary dump himself. We also have to factor in the NBDL, as Dell has shown that he always has an eye on developmental leagues and foreign players- two places where you can pluck a guy like Gary Neal if you are watching closely enough.


  1. 42

    June 12, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Nice breakdown.

    You bring up a great point about the mounting class warfare on the Heat that I’ve been salivating to see.

    Care to share why Telfair didn’t make your list? Too crazy? Just another vet? Not an improvement over ‘current’ situation with Jack and Willie? Stuff I’m not thinking of?

  2. nikkoewan

    June 12, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    would love to see Mario Chalmers, but i think Miami will try to retain him after his performance in this playoffs and his fit in the big 3(a 3 and D type of a PG who can occasionally drive and bring down the ball).

  3. cmac81

    June 12, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    I would absolutely love having Mario, he’s one of my favourite players in league. However I think that after these playoffs the Heat have finally realized how important he is to their team; he’s in the starting lineup for game 6 as we speak. So unfortunately I doubt we will have a shot at getting him.

  4. OkiThor

    June 12, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    I would like Mario Chalmers. Dude is good.

  5. Bug Marley

    June 13, 2011 at 6:48 am

    How about Ramon Sessions?

    • Michael McNamara

      June 13, 2011 at 6:58 am

      Somebody will actually give up quality in return for Sessions. The Hornets are not going to give up assets for a PG. If a PG is the BPA at #45, comes cheap on the free agent market, or can be had for nothing via trade, then the Hornets could add one. But they aren’t giving up assets just to add a guy who will get, at most, 15-20 minutes per game.

      • Bug Marley

        June 13, 2011 at 7:20 am

        Awesome. Thanks MM. Just intrigued by Sessions. Not a good defender but I think he can still substantially improve his game.

  6. edbballin504

    June 13, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Chalmers would be really great for us, but I dont see it happening. He performed well in the Finals, enough for MIA to do what it takes to keep him, or for another team to overpay for him. Plus, I dont think he would be too effective alongside CP3, which would have to happen to give him enough playing time to be any impact.

    I’d go the cheap less risky route and address backup PG in the draft.

  7. edbballin504

    June 13, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Should the Hornets consider signing Iverson?? LOL

    We’d get some scoring off the bench. Plus a bunch of publicity! LOL.

  8. lilrip133

    June 13, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Point blank, I LOVE Charles Jenkins’ game. If he’s available at 45, I will be highly upset as a Thunder fan that we didn’t take him at 24. That’s a no-brainer. Bynum and Mills are both quite intriguing, but present very limited lineup options because of their size and inability to play off the ball. Overall, I think an addition at point guard could be nice, but with the price you would likely have to pay, it isn’t totally sensical. There are much more fitting pieces out there in free agency and the trade market at the 2 and 3 that would fall into a more favorable price range.

    And please oh please no Daniel Orton. Bust would be a huge compliment in describing that dude.

  9. Jalil Davis

    June 13, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Give Jordan Farmar a chance i think he could be just the kind of guy we’re looking for because i know one thing for sure and that he is a Facilitator and drives to the hole and on top of that we should try to get Courtney lee and then see what happens from then on

  10. NolaHog

    June 13, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    I think we could trade Belinelli for Derrick Rose, straight up. I find the possibility of a Paul/Rose combo intriguing.

  11. paul

    June 13, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    PLEASE…get me a hot three shooting guard!
    Just give us a few consitant outside threats and the entire season and teams changes.
    Everybody will suddenly become so much better. Suddenly we will look at our team and ask when they became so good.
    And it will al be the result of great outside shooting.

  12. JCS

    June 14, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    The likelihood of a good center being available at 45 is slim, but in the case there are, I’d like to go on record as vouching for Charles Okwandu, Michael Bradley, and Gary McGhee.

    As for guards, what about Gilbert Brown of PITT? He’s listed as 6-6 215 lbs, which in the NBA could translate to shooting guard and possibly a small forward. Mac your write up gave me the impression that combo guards are devalued in the NBA, but considering that Brown could go between combo guard and swingman, it seems that he is the kind of player that would be highly coveted.

  13. MP3

    June 15, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    No, No, No, to Mario Chalmers…he can’t guard anybody & his decision making is less than average. I’m happy with Jack.

  14. Pingback: Looking to the Future: Looking to the Past | New Orleans Hornets |

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