With training camp starting up, there are some exciting battles for positions taking place across the NBA. Whether it be for a starting position or rotation minutes, there are places where minutes are up for grabs. We got you covered here at Today’s Fastbreak, and we’ll continue with the Hornets shooting-guard battle.
This is one of the more depressing training camp battles, as the position is only open due to a possible season-ending injury to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Kidd-Gilchrist, fresh off a four-year, $52 million contract extension, has undergone shoulder surgery that’ll keep him out six months, leaving a gaping hole on the wing.
Charlotte was already thin on the wing, and Kidd-Gilchrist may have been the team’s most important player this year. His injury is devastating, and now the Hornets have to try and make a playoff push with an unknown in the starting lineup.
Unless there’s a late signing or trade, Charlotte has three wings and two point guards who will likely see time on the wing.
Jeremy Lamb seems like the most likely to start, but he hasn’t proven to be a viable NBA option yet. He’s been very inconsistent and doesn’t bring anything other than a three-point shot to the offense. Lamb has at least been a decent long-range shooter the last two seasons, shooting 34.2 percent last year and 35.6 percent two seasons ago.
But Lamb hasn’t been able to stay on the floor, mostly because his shot is really his only asset, and it’s not even that great. He can’t get to the lane and rarely gets to the free throw line, and he hasn’t been a very good defender thus far in his career. With a limit to his other skills, 35 percent three-point shooting isn’t good enough to justify playing time.
Lamb at least has the athleticism and length to project as a good defender and better finisher. He might never get there, but there’s still the chance with extended run he develops into a solid player.
Troy Daniels is a year older than Lamb, but doesn’t offer the same upside. He’s been a very good shooter, at 38.5 percent for his career. He has a quick release and will stretch the floor for a team that struggled to do so last year.
But like Lamb, there isn’t much else to like about Daniels’s game. And unlike Lamb, there isn’t much of a chance that Daniels turns into anything else.
P.J. Hairston has the shot of a lights-out shooter, but that didn’t translate to games in his rookie year. He shot just 32.3 percent from the field last year and 30.1 percent from deep. The Hornets hope Hairston turns into a 3-and-D player, but relying on him this year wasn’t something Charlotte wanted to do.
With underwhelming options on the wing, Charlotte might be inclined to play more dual point-guard lineups. With Kemba Walker starting, Jeremy Lin and Brian Roberts should get more run.
Roberts really struggled offensively last year, but he’s a decent passer. It’d be hard to play him and Walker together, however, as Roberts and Walker are both 6-foot-1. Lin doesn’t offer much defensively either, but he’s a great finisher and would be an intriguing offensive partner for Walker. He also shot a career-best 36.9 percent from deep last year.
No matter what the Hornets decide to do, it’s going to be a struggle at one of the wing spots. Charlotte pushed some chips into the middle of the table this year hoping for a playoff berth, and MKG’s injury was about a bad a start as the team could’ve foreseen.