The Charlotte Hornets had high expectations for P.J. Hairston. The Miami Heat selected the 6'6" swingman with the 26th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, and he was immediately traded to the Hornets for the 24th pick, Shabazz Napier. Hairston was acquired to provide a shooting boost from the bench, and the Hornets hoped to develop him into a legitimate 3-and-D threat.
Unfortunately, Hairston's short career has been mired by injuries and off-court trouble.
Hairston played in only 45 games last season. He suffered ankle injuries in November and January and missed a handful of games in April with a knee injury. However, a large portion of his missed games were simply coaching decisions, many of which stemmed from missed practices, training sessions, and off-court drama. Throw in some abrasive comments from head coach Steve Clifford toward the end of the season ("He hasn't developed any way to play to make his teammates better."), and it's clear Hairston's first year in the NBA was, quite frankly, not very promising.
Not everyone matures at the same pace, and it would be foolish to believe Hairston won't grow as a person. He's still only 22 years old, and by all accounts he's been making significant strides this offseason to better himself. But it won't happen overnight.
Today, news came out that Hairston has a court appearance in a few weeks for a traffic stop back in June.
Hornets guard P.J. Hairston was cited 6/18 for driving w/ revoked license, speeding, driving left of center and expired tags. More to come— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) July 8, 2015
While their situations are very different, Hairston's career thus far has been eerily reminiscent of former Hornet Jeffery Taylor's. Taylor too suffered a variety of injuries early in his career and some off-court trouble impacted his ability to play at a high level, and in many cases, play at all. Taylor was recently allowed to enter unrestricted free agency just three years after the Hornets drafted him, despite showing immense potential in his rookie year. If Hairston doesn't start putting it all together, he might be on the same path.
We hope Hairston gets this sorted out and takes a step back to evaluate what he wants. If the NBA's important to him, he has to make some changes. Good luck, P.J..