The Charlotte Hornets signed former University of North Carolina point guard Marcus Paige to a two-way contract earlier this week, making him one of the first ever Hornets (along with Mangok Mathiang) to sign such a deal. Paige will spend most of the season with the Greensboro Swarm but is eligible to also play games for the Hornets. He may be a familiar face, but look into Paige’s game and how he can help the Hornets this season.
What he excels at
Paige excelled on offense at UNC, showing the ability score at the rim and off the ball.
In the G-League, he turned to more of a shooting guard but he has worked on and improved his ball handling skills. He was most comfortable shooting from beyond the arc, averaging 5.9 attempts per game last season, which accounted for over half of his field goal attempts. For the season, he shot 35.5 percent, a solid number with potential to rise.
You can watch his 3-point shooting on display here:
Where he needs to improve
While Paige shows potential as a 3-point shooter other parts of his offensive game need work, as he shot under 40 percent from the field last season. He needs to improve his ball-handling skills to become a more ‘pure’ NBA point guard. Right now he kind of plays more between a point guard and a shooting guard at the next level.
Paige also needs to show improvement on the defensive end. He posted a defensive rating of 113 while playing the Salt Lake City Stars, which is far higher than it needs to be. With his 6’1”, 165 pound frame, it will be difficult for Paige to excel at defense at the next level.
How he could help Charlotte
The Hornets are in desperate need of shooters next season. Drafting Malik Monk out of the University of Kentucky was a good start but they still need to add some more competent long-range shooters to the fold. The development of Paige’s ability from the 3-point line could earn him a call up to Charlotte. If Paige can add more of a consistent 3-point shot and improve his overall shooting percentage, the Hornets could give him an opportunity depending on the situation at point guard.
Paige has a long road to being a solid contributor in the NBA but with some development, he has a chance with the Hornets. He showed high basketball IQ and awareness in college; if he translates that with the Swarm, he could turn a few heads in his second season as a professional.