Hornets Backup point guard options in free agency

Elsa

The backup point guard slot was a point of weakness for Charlotte last season. How could they fix that in free agency?

Coming into this summer, we knew the Hornets would look to address their backup point guard situation. During the season, Charlotte tried to fill the role capably in the form of Ramon Sessions, and when they were presented with an option to improve their three-point shooting, they traded him for Gary Neal and a broken down Luke Ridnour. Clearlythere's a need to find more viable options than Sessions and Ridnour behind Kemba Walker off of the bench. And should they choose to fill other needs with the draft, a solution may be in free agency.

First, the good news: the Timberwolves don't have a castoff backup point guard hitting free agency, so we're safe there. Now, the less good news: the Hornets will likely not be major players for top positional targets like Kyle Lowry or Eric Bledsoe with Walker entrenched in the starting spot. Michael Jordan may have said that he wants to add another star player, but those guys will command money that may be better used at other positions since Walker is a quality point guard despite a down year. Besides, it was just three years ago Charlotte invested a lottery pick in him, and teams just don't do that sort of thing this quickly unless that player devolves into a total tire fire.

That leaves the Hornets with several solid options in the next tier of players.

Greivis Vasquez

Vasquez is just 27 years old, and at 6'6", would provide the Hornets with legitimate size at the position. Vasquez's breakout 2013 was a bit of a revelation across the league, and continued to have a successful 2014 season in both Sacramento and Toronto. While Vasquez's efficiency dropped from Sacramento to Toronto, that could be attributed to either a change in system and/or going from a starter to Kyle Lowry's backup. Since there are a lot of teams that Vasquez could start for, this would be a good get for the Hornets since he's a strong passer and a mid-30s three-point shooter at worse.

Shaun Livingston

We all know the Shaun Livingston story and what he's done to return from his horrific injury is nothing short of incredible. Despite the fact that Brooklyn would love to have him back, that may not happen due to salary cap restraints. No, really, the Nets do actually watch their cap situation. This would mark a return to the city he spent his 2010-11 season and could help the team in some ways. Livingston, like Vasquez, has size and is a career 47.1 percent shooter from within the arc and his assist percentage, rebounds per game and defensive playmaking ability were impressive for a backup. Still, his injury history may give teams pause, and he never has (and likely never will) been accused of being a good three point shooter. Conversely, the latter may not matter if they address their shooting needs elsewhere.

Nate Robinson

No.

(He's reportedly opting in anyway.)

Mario Chalmers

Yeah, I went there. This may be a divisive issue among the commenters -- I'm calling it now -- but this could make sense. Chalmers is a strong finisher at the rim and from 16-feet and out. His 4.9 assists per game this season doesn't blow anyone away, but he did play next to LeBron James, and seems to understand his role by not trying to force things. Besides, who do the Hornets have to yell at on the roster now?

The main drawbacks I see to Chalmers is that he played with LeBron James. And Dwyane Wade. And Chris Bosh. And-- you get my point. Chalmers won't have the same hierarchy of talent that he's had in Miami and may tend to freelance a little more. Likewise, Chalmers would have more focus on him in Charlotte since his teammates wouldn't be of the same caliber. With all that said, Chalmers would be a capable backup, and these Finals have likely driven his price down some.

--

This piece is really just to open up the conversation and their candidates will likely not be limited to these four. Heck, they could look to bring Sessions back if it came down to it, or go after another player not listed here. Upgrading the backup point guard position could only benefit the Hornets and help them continue to grow. The good news is that it appears they will have several means of doing this, and free agency could be one of those.

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