Offseason Targets: Shooting Guards

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Published: June 14, 2011

JR Smith and Aaron Afflalo- Two Possible Hornets targets?

In the middle of February, just four short months ago, the Hornets shipped local fan favorite Marcus Thornton out of town partly because they were overloaded at shooting guard. Now, as the Hornets prepare for the draft and free agency, they are facing the proposition of not having any shooting guards on their roster.

Willie Green is an unrestricted free agent and the Hornets have the option of whether or not to tender Marco Belinelli. Beyond that, they have nothing, unless you consider Jarrett Jack a shooting guard (I do!). Monty Williams spent much of last season giving 35-40 minutes to one guy at the point guard, small forward, power forward, and center positions while simultaneously playing musical chairs at shooting guard. Some might say that this needs to stop for the Hornets to take the next step, but we just saw a team win an NBA title with a fringe starter at this very same position.

Can the Hornets contend with a Marco Belinelli or Willie Green starting at shooting guard? Sure, but the other pieces the Hornets get this summer better be pretty damn good (Dwight Howard good) for them to be able to get by with a bottom level shooting guard. The Hornets will make every effort to shore up this position so that the team has more balance and so Monty will not have to tinker so much with rotations. The question is whether or not the missing piece to this puzzle is out there, and perhaps more importantly, can we land him?

Draft

1. David Lighty- Ohio State

Most people hated the fact that Willie Green got playing time over Marcus Thornton, and if talent was all that mattered, those people would be right for criticizing Monty. The truth is, however, that there were some personality and attitude issues behind the scenes that the Hornets organization did an excellent job of keeping behind closed doors so as not to embarrass the young man. Why do I bring this up, why pour salt back into the wound? Because David Lighty is the anti-Marcus in this regard and that is why he might be a Hornet in two weeks.

Lighty does not have the god given ability or remarkable skill set that somebody like Thornton has, but he is the type of guy who will be a coach’s favorite player. Go back and listen to the interview Monty did just a week or so ago. He said, and I quote, “There are different ways that guys can help this team. Some guys can come in and raise the levels of our practices and that helps us out.”

No, David Lighty won’t be a star, and it is highly likely that he will ever be a starter in this league, but he is an excellent defender and a hard worker who is willing to do anything a coach asks him to do. Think a quicker, but less physical version of Sam Young or perhaps a future Tony Allen with better handles. No, his ceiling isn’t very high, but the Hornets have other avenues to get starters. They could do far worse than Lighty in the middle of the second round.

2. DeAndre Liggins (Kentucky)

A highly touted HS recruit, Liggins didn’t exactly live up to his billing but he did excel as a lockdown defender in college. He is even worse on the offensive end than Lighty, but he might actually be an even better defender because he is versatile and long enough to guard three positions. Liggins wingspan (6’11.25″) allows him to get into passing lanes and contest shots. With the zone likely to become more en vogue next season, a guy like Liggins could be a nightmare on the defensive end.

3. Travis Leslie (Georgia)

If Dell Demps is serious about putting some athletes around Chris Paul, he need look no further. Leslie is raw but he can jump through the roof (40.5 inch vert), and like Liggins, he has a freakishly long wingspan for his size (6’10.5″ despite only measuring 6’3″ without shoes). He can’t shoot and his defense is just slightly above average, but he rebounds wonderfully for his size and did I mention that he can jump through the roof?

Leslie doesn’t fit the Demps/Monty profile on the court, but I think both men realized how unathletic the Hornets were at times last year and they both know that they will need to improve the roster in that area. Leslie has a great work ethic and non stop motor and that might be enough to make him a Hornet despite his limitations elsewhere.

Other possibilities: Scotty Hopson, Gilbert Brown (Sleeper who I really like), Nihad Djedovic

Free Agency

Unrestricted

1. Jason Richardson (Magic)

He is almost the top unrestricted shooting guard by default in a relatively weak class. Jamal Crawford is a superior player, but will be out of the Hornets price range. Richardson was awful after his trade to Orlando, but he was playing excellent ball with Steve Nash and would likely return to that form if paired with CP3. In his 25 games with Phoenix last year, Richardson scored just over 19PPG on 47% shooting, including 42% from three.

At this stage of his career, Richardson is basically just a jump shooter, as evidenced by the fact that 87% of his shots last year came outside of the paint. He doesn’t get to the line much anymore and he is just a slightly above average defender. Basically, he is a more consistent version of Marco Belinelli. Question is: How much will teams be willing to pay for that?

2. JR Smith (Nuggets)

People always want to give JR Smith the benefit of the doubt because of his enormous skill set. They think that one day he will put it together and make an All-Star team a la Zach Randolph, but as Schwan has said multiple times, “This guy is the same chucker he was five years ago.” The question is whether or not that inefficient player is still better than anything the Hornets have on this roster or will have a legit shot at in the market.

Smith made the efficient Nuggets offense even more efficient when he was on the court last year (by 4.8 points per 100 possessions) and didn’t do any harm on the defensive end (+1.9). He also got to the bucket more last year than in seasons past (26% of shots taken in the paint compared to 16% in previous years) and who knows- maybe CP3 can help him flip that switch. You gotta take a chance sometimes, right?

3. Shannon Brown (Lakers)

Technically, Brown might not even become a free agent if he invokes his player option, but I have a feeling he wants out of LA. The Hornets made a run at him last offseason and might do so again this year if the price is right. Brown doesn’t have what it takes to start in this league, but he and Jack could be a deadly backcourt combo that could compliment each other very well.

Brown’s athleticism would be a welcome addition to a team that has one of the least athletic backcourts in the league. He has improved greatly as a defender and outside shooter since coming into the league and there is no reason to believe that he couldn’t continue to grow under Monty. Signing Brown would make sense if the Hornets brought back Belinelli or Green to play the “Deshawn Stevenson” role while CP3/Jack/Brown played the role of an upgraded Kidd/Terry/Barea.

Other possibilities: Vince Carter, Anthony Parker, Michael Redd, Sasha Vujacic

Restricted

1. Aaron Afflalo (Nuggets)

Afflalo is the type of shooting guard that Monty would kill for, but the problem is that Denver will likely match whatever the Hornets can throw at him. He is in some ways the two-guard version of Bruce Bowen, an excellent defender who can kill you with the three ball. Perhaps if Denver overpays Nene or sees Wilson Chandler as more of a priority, they might allow Afflalo to go, but I doubt it.

2. Nick Young (Wizards)

Young, on the other hand, seems destined to leave his current team for greener pastures. The problem is that he will want too much green and the Hornets will likely be out of the running for the up and coming shooting guard. Young put up great offensive numbers for a bad team this year and it is hard to tell if it is a case of a “looter in a riot” or if this is a sign of things to come. I say it is a little bit of both, as Young averaged over 20PPG in the 39 games he started last season, but his clutch time stats were awful.

The Wizards were not involved in many games that were close in the last five minutes, but in the 21 such games that Young participated in, his team went 5-16 and he shot just 40% from the field. The other red flag is that he is even more of a jump shooter than Richardson, as only 7% of his field goal attempts came from inside the paint. The Hornets need somebody who can get into the paint occasionally and get to the line, and they also need someone who can step up big in the final five minutes. I am not sure Nick Young is any of those things.

Trade

1. Stephen Jackson (Bobcats)

Michael Jordan says that he is not looking to cut payroll, but why hold onto a guy who is going to be on social security by the time your team is ready to contend? Jackson needs to be on a playoff bound team and the Bobcats need to start giving Gerald Henderson more playing time. At some point in the next 9 months, Jackson will be traded and the Hornets would be a great fit.

Jackson provides the outside shooting, length, and ball handling that the Hornets need while also giving them somebody who will not shrink when the bright lights of the playoffs are turned on. Jackson’s salary is a bit high, but the Hornets can’t afford to be pinching pennies at a time when they have to convince Paul to stay.

2. Joe Johnson (Hawks)

Johnson’s remaining salary is ridiculous and he is probably only worth half of what he is getting paid, but the fact of the matter is that Johnson probably represents the only chance the Hornets have of getting an All-Star shooting guard to go along side of CP3. If the Hawks get into the position where they are merely looking to dump his contract, the Hornets might have to consider. Think of it this way: What is CP3 worth to this franchise? If Lebron was worth an estimated $100 million to the Cavs, then CP3 has to be worth at least half of that, right?

Under the new CBA, a resigned CP3 would likely only get 14-18 million per year. If you have to overpay Joe Johnson just to keep CP3, then it is worth it financially when all things are considered. At least, that is how I will justify it to myself if the Hornets were to pull the trigger.

3. Brandon Roy (Blazers)

Speaking of bad contracts. Still, Roy has his moments and he is the kind of guy that teammates respect and want to play with. I have floated the idea of a Mek and Ariza for Oden, Roy, and Batum trade before and I still think that it is one that both sides should consider. Roy will never be the player he once was, but he wont have to be if he is playing with Paul and West. He can give 25 minutes of solid basketball every night, and maybe more on rare occasions or in the playoffs.

Again, he is not ideal, but when you are in a position like the one the Hornets find themselves in, sometimes you gotta take a leap of faith.

Conclusion

Even the casual fan can look at the Hornets roster and realize that shooting guard is the position that needs to be addressed, but the problem is that there are not a lot of great options out there. Teams will likely have to overpay for one of the starting caliber free agents and the draft will not provide the Hornets with the player they are looking for at #45.

History says that the Hornets should be patient here and wait for the trading deadline, when they are far more sellers willing to dump guys for pennies on the dollar. In the offseason, everyone is a buyer and the only thing teams are selling is straight garbage. Come trade deadline, you an get a guy like Gerald Wallace for nothing or steal a guy like Kevin Martin away from a bad team. But who knows, maybe Demps will find a diamond in the rough or swindle some poor sucker. We’ll just have to wait and see.



76 comments
B
B

i think we should call orlando & tell them everythings up for grabs except cp3, draft picks; whatever they want give it to'm.

Andrew
Andrew

Any thoughts about AI he gets to the line (crossover) and says he is willing to be a team player but he's old vet min

paul
paul

you all make my head hurt. And make me realize how little I know of player personnel. But what I do know is West will not play back up...nor should he. Next, the real move that will make Chris and everybody suddenly hot is the shooting guard. Even Okafor suddenly becomes a player inside. Gray gets respectable attempts. All because we get a real threat outside.

imbo300
imbo300

I personally think that Affalo would be the best fit for the hornets, taking all things into consideration. But, Im wondering whatever happened to Janero Pargo????? This guy was a great compliment to Paul, and last I heard he was ballin in Russia, does anybody know what he's up to now?

crazyb1125
crazyb1125

I'm so so surprised that Monta Ellis, Kevin Martin, and Dwight Howard wasn't part of the trade part of this trade article. Personally I would love it if 2 of 3 was on the Hornets. but what's the odds of that happening. what I'm wondering is what will our Line-up look like.......... heres what it could look like if we had a category call Balance D: starters Bench PG-> Chris Paul Mario Chalmers (RFA), Jannero Pargo (Trade) SG-> Monta Ellis (T) Sam Young (RFA), Deshawn Stevenson (UFA) SF-> Nicolas Batum (T) Vladimir Radmanovic (UFA) Rasul Butler (Trade) PF-> David West (Dt Opt) Reggie Evans, (UFA), (Tall) D- Leaguer???(or not) C-> Javale McGee (Trade) DeAgre Jordan (RFA), (Tall) D- Leaguer??(or not) yea I might be exaggerating a lil bit but the Hornets have a chance to get some of these players. 1) Carl Landry-sign and trade deal w/T. Ariza and Marco Belini for M.E. 2) Willie Green sign and trade deal w/current 2nd Round pick for N.Batum 3) Jarett Jack/Q. Pond 4 J.P/Rasul Butler (Sign & Trade from CHI) & 2nd Round Pick 4) Emek & 2nd round pick from (CHI) for J.McGee 5) everyone else is signed free Agents or RFA It could happen!!! Hornets just gotta know how to mouth piece'em or better yet know how to talk to get what they want & stop being so attach to players. only players that need to be attach to is CP3 & D.Dub30 ALSO R.I.P. in Heaven KIARRA "KI-BABY" DAVIS!!!!! Your spirit is always apart of me, God Bless You!!!

Brandon
Brandon

If we get Wilson Chandler, we have a team. Ariza gets 11 points in 40 minutes a night. Wilson has 15 points in 33 minutes. He is a great player. We can trade ariza and okafor ror tall center like Chris kaman and Ryan gomes. Sign jr smith or Michael redd. My choice in the draft would be three point shooter Jon diebler.resign Carl but idk what type of money landry wants so that's iffy. Cp3/ jj/Willie green jr smithor redd/ Willie green/ Jon diebler wilson Chandler/Ryan gomes/pondexter dwest/landry/Ewing kaman/ gray if money is an issue we cut Willie. But if this team were to come true, jr wuld have to be our fourth scorer and he wuld have to understand that. Monty teaches the philosophy of defense, but the bench is still kindve weak, so idk. I know the hornets have to make some sort of major adjustments. dwest/Troy Murphy

42
42

We have zero reason not to try to improve here, but I'm of the opinion that Jack may be our answer as the starter here. I like the idea of using our new-found cap room to sign some damned good backups, especially at the 2 so Jack can spell Chris and keep him to 30 mpg as often as possible. Landry / Jack type backups. I just don't see a magic bullet happening, something like Stephen Jackson. Nice work, as usual.

champsworld504
champsworld504

if the hornets bring back j.r. smith i'd drive him from the airport to the facility!

DownUnder
DownUnder

You mentioned the guy I was thinking about in the last few lines. Is it reasonable to see a scenario where Houstan finally admits around the trade deadline that their built up too much to obtain good draft picks and max free agents but not built up enough for title contention? I cant think of what we could possibly offer that'd appeal over other teams but Kevin Martin would just be..... delightful.

George
George

another snub for e'twuan moore

chiefyoungblood
chiefyoungblood

Marshon Brooks should have been in this article . so I guess Memphis is keeping Oj da Juiceman huh?

JCS
JCS

What is the allure of Wilson Chandler? He's never been an All-Star, never made 1st or 2nd team, never lead the league in anything, and you can count his notable games on one hand. Why do people keep dropping his name like he's "that guy?"

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

Wilson Chandler will be listed in part three of this series. I know he has played the position at times, but in my mind the guy is a small forward. As an upgrade to Ariza? Yes, please. Along side Ariza? No, thank you. As for M. Ellis, I am not worried about the fit as much as I am worried about the pieces needed to acquire him. If Iggy isn't enough for GS, what could we possibly offer that is better? I know some will say Okafor, but I don't think either team would agree to that trade. Michael Redd could be an 07-08 version of Mo Pete with some ability to get his own shot at times, but I think the Hornets would prefer more athletisicm and defense at the position. Justin Holliday is just too small and probably projects at SF when he fills out. As for Denver, I wouldn't be so sure that they will be unable to keep their main pieces. I think JR leaves, but they have plenty of room to re-sign Afflalo, Chandler, Nene, and even K-Mart at a reduced price.

AgentZiko
AgentZiko

The Denver situation is going to be VERY interesting. They are NOT going to be able to keep all those guys (Nene. Kenyon. JR. Chandler. Afflalo.) So It's going to be interesting to see who they decide to keep, and who they decide to let slide. My honest opinion? I think they'll retain Nene. Chandler. Afflalo. I think they'll watch Kenyon and JR walk not because they aren't important pieces, but because ALL those guys are going to COLLECTIVELY ask for too much money.

JCS
JCS

See, this is why I like you McNamara. I comment on your last entry about Gilbert Brown and I come to find you write about him in this entry. I have not been in the forum in a while, but I'm sure I mentioned him there, along with my adoration for Aaron A. and Shannon Breezy. Word on the street is Shannon had relations with Pau Gasol's girlfriend, and that's why Pau zoned out of the playoffs against the Hornets and the Mavs. Given their roles on the team, Shannon might be given the boot for this fiasco, which surely will be portrayed to the media as something else.

Eman5805
Eman5805

Why wait to get Kevin Martin? Snag him now. But then, I'm greedy.

J_Hornetz
J_Hornetz

Iman Shumpert would fit this team so well i don't see how you guys missed him im telling you look up his highlights and with Scotty Hopson we have to trade for him he can provide us with extra offense off of the bench.......Also i came here to vent a little bit.....Honestly i think we're never going to win a championship with Chris Paul here.......I think he wants to leave anyways because when the question do you want to stay in New Orleans he always avoids the question so i think he wants to leave so i say we draft Iman Shumpert as the fall back for Chris Paul, then trade Chris Paul..... http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=3otakqe Then the lineup will be PG: Andre Miller, Iman Shumpert SG: Wesley Matthews, Jarret Jack, Scotty Hopson SF: Trevor Ariza, Quincy Pondexter, Scotty Hopson PF: Carl Landry, David West, Jason Smith C: Jason Thompson, Aaron Gray (12 players) This trade saves us 11M on our salary and we can still sign someone preferably a REALLY good Big man for like 10M Positives: We finally have that good SG we need, We got a good deal for Chris Paul, we got rid of Emeka Okafor's big Contract, we save 11M not including the salaries coming off, and We can finally have a championship roster Negatives: No one will replace Chris Paul, It will take us a little while for the chemistry to be good and for the players to get along for the season, Portland will be a rival, and most people will criticize this trade... J_HORNETZ

Brandon
Brandon

Wilson Chandler wuld be my pick. But he and ariza are the same height but Wilson is stronger. Puttin Wilson at 2guard is like puttin lebron at the 2. Some nights it'll work but what when he goes against dwade Jason Terry or monta. I say package ariza okafor Jarret Jack and two first round draft picks for Dwight Howard. Resign Marco. Maybe ariza and okafor for Chris kaman and Ryan gomes or Randy foye. No offense but just some more size on this team.

Jordan
Jordan

David Lighty, at the very least, would add some new fire to Gil's pun repertoire

nikkoewan
nikkoewan

From those list and the one's discussed, my personal preference(arranged): - Afflalo - Chandler - Smith - JRich and from the draft? Oh men, give me David Lightly. Has every tool to become a great role player.

blackmagic
blackmagic

Wat about a trade for Monta Ellis? I know some will be against this but a back court of Cp3 & Monta wud be disgusting. Monty cud make Monta into a more than capable defender and his offense... u already know.

ur_gmas_daughter
ur_gmas_daughter

I posted this in the forum but I'll post it here too since nobody mentioned him yet: I'd like to throw a name into the ring and get your guys' opinion on it. Michael Redd. He is a scorer and a unrestricted FA. Obviously last yesr he had an injury that cost him practically the whole season but in a recent article it said "Redd is determined to prove he can play at a high level and has stated he doesn't want to end his career due to injury." From 03-09' he averaged over 20 pts a game. In the last few games of the 10-11 season Redd finished it off pretty well proving he can still play but is it too much of a risk? If we re-sign D West and (in this made-up secnario) sign Redd thats 2 players coming off surgeries is that too big of a gamble. I personally love Michael Redd and would love to see him playing along side CP3 Article I pulled the quote from: http://www.cbssports.com/nba/p…..chael-redd

504ever
504ever

What about Wilson Chandler? It's hard to see the Nuggets keeping Nene', Martin, Smith, Afflalo, and Chandler especially given they are negotiating hard with Nene' right now? Smith, Afflalo, and Chandler all play the same position; who will go? Chandler starts but only averaged 23 minutes in the playoffs, down from 33 in the regular season. He played only 8 minutes in their only post-season win. What might that say about future Nugget line-ups? Enough to make me wonder if Chandler will come back. Finally, the Nuggets are still digesting all of the Knick players they received for Melo and how they fit into the Nuggets' team and plans. They may spit out a Knick player or two when given the chance.

Brazilian Hornet
Brazilian Hornet

Any one of these athletes cited in the article would be very welcome. All of them are much better than Belinelli and Green.

Monty'sDoghouse
Monty'sDoghouse

"Overloaded" lol We have to improve this position in the off season by a decent bit if we want next season to be any different. I'm going to be pretty sad if we go into next season starting WG or MB. My preference on this list for realistic options would be JR or Brown. Please god no to Roy or S-Jax.

Hordan
Hordan

I'm very suprised Justin Holiday wasn't mentioned here. He may not be there at 45, but it's possible. He's got a 7-0 wingspan and is a smart, lockdown defender who has good shooting range. His jumper is still a work in progress, but hes a good rebounder, athletic, and aggresive. I think he fits the profile of what Monty and Dell are looking for, it's just a question of whether or not he'll be there at 45. Hes projected anywhere from 40-50.

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

"Brown doesn’t have what it takes to start in this league" I'm not even a Shannon Brown fan but hell Marco Belinelli was a starter last year. Maybe not an all star but a starter definitely. Brown is a mutant athletically and he when his shots there he can stroke it.

Popinho
Popinho

How about Leandro Barbosa from Raptors it's free agent this year

James Grayson
James Grayson

To me the question is one of timing. Can we afford to sit it out and wait? Can we even make a splash? Patience is a virtue but this team is going to be highly criticized going forward in the next 12 months. If Demps pulls the trigger on something he better be sure it doesn't cripple the team in the future and is a sure fire hit, but like you said that is very, very unlikely. It's quite frustrating, because until this team gets an owner we can't say things like, "We'll we can take on that guys salary, blah blah." Ugh, this offseason is going to suck.