Hornets Acquire Willie Green

The Hornets have finalized a deal that sends Darius Songaila and rookie Craig Brackins to the Philadelphia 76ers for Willie Green and seven-footer Jason Smith. The move somewhat addresses the question of who will back up Chris Paul, and seemingly leaves the team with a brand new hole at power forward. Frankly it’s a confusing deal for the Hornets.

Financially the deal is rather even with the Hornets shipping out the expiring contract of Songaila (4.8 million) and Brackins’s rookie deal (1.3 million this year) for Green’s expiring contract (4.0 million) and Smith’s potentially expiring deal (2.2 million). All things considered it’s clear that this deal was about talent, and not about money.

Willie Green will provide the team with another decent shooting guard, but not much else. He takes way too many mid-range jump shots, can’t get to the line to save his life, and can’t rebound.

His stats from last year (thanks ESPN)-

2009-10 Statistics FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
Season 73 21.3 248-543 .457 47-136 .346 95-114 .833 0.3 1.5 1.8 .44 .15 .92 1.85 2.1 8.7

Some are speculating that he will provide the team with a primary backup point guard, seeing as just under a fifth of his minutes last year came at the point guard position. Bad idea. Last year he averaged a PER of 15.3 at that position. Solid, but unspectacular. The problem is that his opposition averaged a PER of 22.2 against him. That disparity probably has a lot to do with why his team was outscored by 90 points when he manned the point.

At shooting guard he had a lot more success, uncharacteristically holding his opposition to a PER of 11.8. Hollinger describes him as an “average, at best” defender, so take that stat for what it’s worth. Some are speculating that he could take some minutes away from Marcus Thornton, and that may be true to some extent, but it also likely means that the team is seriously considering using Thornton in a Vinnie Johnson style role considering all the deals that have been done this summer.

On the bright side he’s a real blue-collar player and will work hard every second of the game. He’s very good at cutting to the hoop which will likely be a good fit with Chris Paul dishing from the point. If he can withstand the urge to take bad shots he will wind up being a decent addition to the team.

It’s rather telling that the move came after the team had worked out former guard Jannero Pargo. In my opinion the addition of Green leaves Pargo very unlikely to don creole blue. While fans may be disappointed that he likely won’t be making a return, it’s probably in the best interest of the team. Pargo is first and foremost a scorer, and his lifetime points per shot sits below one point. Last season was no different.

As for Smith, he’s young, seven feet tall, and according to John Hollinger he “may secretly be European”. He’s going to come in and immediately compete with Aaron Gray for minutes at the backup center position and apparently he’s going to have to play power forward as well, since the team doesn’t have another backup anymore.

He’s also very poor rebounder for his size (8.2 per 40 minutes), so we can look forward to many nights of face-palming as the team struggles to pull down boards. Not much will change in that regard.

The departure of Songaila was long expected, and I can’t say that I’m too upset. His main weapon was a long two-point jumper that just screamed “I’M AN INEFFICIENT POWER FORWARD!!!” at the top of it’s lungs. For that same reason Brackins’ departure sits fine with me. I like my power forwards to have a post game, and neither of the two did.

The new depth chart (assuming Marcus remains the starting SG)-

PG- Paul, Shakur

SG-Thornton, Green, Belinelli, Strawberry

SF-Ariza, Peja, Pondexter, Alexander

PF-West, Smith

C- Okafor, Gray, Smith, Watkins

Remember when nothing was happening?

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