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.


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