Point: The Backcourt of the Future

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Published: May 15, 2012

Part 1 of Jake and Ryan’s debate on whether the Hornets should sign Goran Dragic during free agency.

With the off-season underway for the Hornets, GM Dell Demps and head coach Monty Williams should have one name at the top of their free agent wish list: Goran Dragic.

For most of the season Dragic was solid yet unspectacular, but when Houston’s starting point guard Kyle Lowry went down with an injury, Dragic stepped in and kept the team in the playoff race. Not only that, but he was putting up All-Star numbers. In 27 games as a starter Dragic averaged 18.4 points, 8.3 assists, 3.4 rebounds per game, 49.6% shooting and 39.4% three-point shooting. For the season Dragic had a true shooting percentage of 56.7%, well above the Hornets’ average of 52.7%

But it goes beyond his individual statistics; Dragic also raises his team’s level of play. When Dragic is on the court, the team’s true shooting percentage jumps up a full 3%. This is the result of him getting the ball to the rest of the team in their favorite spots. This is also why his assist percentage jumped over 7% to 34.6% as a starter.

Contrast that with the Hornets current starter Jarrett Jack. With Jack on the court, the Hornets’ true shooting percentage declines 1% and their rebound rate drops 2%. Not only does the team play slightly worse offense with Jack, he really hurts the team’s defense as well. Opponent free throw rate and steal rate both increase by 5%, and opponent shooting percentage increases by 4%. Dragic’s presence on the other hand neither hurts nor helps his teams defense, though 82games.com lists his opponent PER as a below average 12.7. (While Jack’s is a terrible 16.7)

While Dragic may not be able to keep up the same level of play, the beauty is that he doesn’t need to. With Eric Gordon in the fold, Dragic would be the second offensive option. He would be able to focus on distributing the ball while still being able to take on the scoring burden when Gordon is out or having an off game.

Dragic will have many suitors this offseason and is expected to receive a contract worth 8 to 10 million a year. And you know what? I’m totally okay with that. The free agent pool is fairly weak and next season there are almost no desirable unrestricted point guards. Yeah it might be a little too much given what his production will most likely be, but if he lives up to what we’ve seen this season, Dragic could be a steal.

Plus, there is soooo much nickname potential.

The Hornets have a chance to lock up their starting backcourt for the next 4 seasons and they need to jump at the chance to do it.

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