After a solid Summer League performance for the Charlotte Hornets, Aaron Harrison signed a two year, partially guaranteed contract with the team.
Harrison's back story is pretty well known. Being in the spotlight at the University of Kentucky the past two years has given Harrison ample opportunity to show case his skills to a national audience. During his two years at Kentucky, he veraged 12.4 points and 2.8 rebounds while shooting 41 percent from the field and 33 percent from three.
The Hornets have 14 guaranteed contracts on their books for next season, meaning that there is one open roster spot for Harrison or anyone else to make the roster. What does he bring to the table that makes him deserving of that last open spot?
Harrison's two seasons in Lexington were a mixed bag. He became famous for his extremely clutch shots that he hit during their fun to the Final Four in 2013-14. He averaged 13.4 points per game his freshman season to go along with a 42/36/79 shooting split. about average for a two guard.
After that first season, Harrison showed promise as a two way wing who could not only knock down shots from deep, but create off the dribble for his teammates. Unfortunately, the success didn't carry over to his sophomore campaign as he saw his stats drop in just about every category. Harrison put up 11 points per game with shooting splits of 39/32/78, significant drops in production from his freshman year.
He was able to bounce back and have a nice Summer League showing with Charlotte, averaging 13.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.4 assists and shot 42.1 percent from the field. While he only shot 23.8 percent from deep, there were still several things that Harrison showed that impressed the coaching staff.
The Hornets have a few ball dominant players that are going to need touches each game, especially from the guard spot. Kemba Walker, Jeremy Lin, and Nicolas Batum are all at their best when initiating offense and making plays themselves. The nice thing about Harrison is that while he does great things when he has the ball, he is effective playing within the flow of an offense. Being a secondary playmaker is definitely within the realm of possibility with Harrison.
Even though he built up the reputation of being a spot up shooter, Aaron is much better at attacking the basket, using his big and long frame to finish.
Defensively, it will be more of a struggle. Clifford has obviously tried his best to build a stout defensive system and Harrison would have a hard time fitting in on that end. While he has great size, the athleticism to stay in front of perimeter players isn't at an NBA caliber level yet.
Harrison played a lot of point guard during Summer League, but there isn't room on the roster for him to play that position with Walker, Lin, and Brian Roberts all being on guaranteed deals. With that being said, among their wing rotation, outside of Nic Batum, the Hornets don't have someone that can create on the wing like Harrison can. If he can overcome some of his defensive obstacles and revert back to his 2013-14 season shooting form, he would be a great bet to make the Hornets final 15 man roster.