Several times Amundson came in for Aminu and Amundson superior defensive skills were inspiring. While Aminu took his man's first fake, Amundson often stopped them in their tracks making them kick the ball back out. His offensive game's not much, but I'd love to see him back with the second unit.
Season in Review: Lou Amundson
A late addition to the team, the Hornets signed Lou Amundson on March 12th for the rest of the season to replace the released Henry Sims. The Hornets were Amundson’s third team of the season after stops in Minnesota and Chicago. Amundson had been a player targeted by the Hornets previously as they attempted to sign him as a free agent in 2010.
Short on backup bigman bodies due to the season ending surgery of Jason Smith, Amundson’s role was mainly to provide a breather to Davis, Lopez and Anderson. If you judge him based solely off that criteria then his 11.6 minutes per game (209 total minutes) look like they did their job. Good work breathing air on the court, Lou!
But as his minutes increased it became apparent that Amundon’s skill set fit in nicely with the second unit.
A strong rebounder, Amundson hauled down 13.4% of all available offensive rebounds which put him first on the team in that category. On the defensive glass he ranks third with a defensive rebound percentage of 19.7. The Hornets second unit often struggled to grab boards so these numbers are a welcomed sight. On the season the Hornets rebounding improved 1.9% when he was on the court.
Defensively is where Amundson really impressed. All season long the Hornets have struggled with defensive rotations and help defense. This has mainly be due to the guards struggling to defend the perimeter against penetration. However, Amundson has been spot on with his defense, knowing where and where to rotate. Add that in with a great ability to draw charges and Amundson brought strong defensive stability to the second unit.
According to mysynergysports.com opponents averaged .8 points per play against Amundson which ranks him 68th overall in the league. Individual defensive rating isn’t the best barometer of judging a player’s ability but it is worth noting that Amundson ranks 3rd with a rating on 106 only behind Davis and Aminu.
For his most used lineup (Roberts-Harris-Miller-Anderson-Amundson) only gave up .73 points per possession which is absolutely fantastic. For comparison, Davis, out of his top 20 lineups used, has a low of .83 ppp.
Offensively, things weren’t as good. While with the Hornets, Amundon scored .8 points per play which ranks him 370th in the league. He is best used a complimentary player on offense and most of his scoring came off cuts in and around the paint. In fact only 8 of his 81 shot attempts came outside of the paint with 71 of his shots coming within 3 feet of the rim. That’s great since usually those are the most efficient looks a player can get, however Amundson shot a disappointing 45.1% on attempts within 3 feet–11.4% below league average.
Amundson doesn’t have a good looking PER at 11.7 but with him it’s not really a stat that tells the whole story. PER has a tough time reconciling the defensive side of the game and that’s where Amundson provided his worth. With a salary of $185,955 (according to shamsports.com), Amundson was a cheap, and proven, option to fill some minutes as the season wound down. The Hornets ended up getting more than they expected though with a steadying defensive presence for the second unit.
Right now it’s unclear if the Pelicans will resign Amundson. Price wise the Pelicans could get him as cheaply as $884,293 but potentially might go higher given he was a target of the team before and is a guy they clearly like. Bringing him back becomes even more of an option if the team moves either Lopez or Smith. If he resigns with the Pelicans expect Amundson to spend most of his time with the second unit in a role similar to what we saw this season.
Check out the entire Season in Review series here at Hornets247.com.