With all the shape shifting moves that the Charlotte Hornets took apart in this offseason, I’ve come to realize that the signing of J.P. Macura has been overlooked. Sure, he’s only going to be on the team for a maximum of 45 days, but he’ll still have an impact nonetheless.
Macura brings a competitive edge to the table. He has been the staple of Xavier basketball throughout his four years with the program, as he led his team to the NCAA Tournament in each of those campaigns. The most memorable run was last season’s where unfortunately, as a number one seed, his team was upset by ninth-ranked Florida State.
The high intensity of these games has started to take shape into how Macura plays the game. He isn’t your run of the mill combo-guard. He wears his emotions on his sleeves and is at a constant go 100 percent of the time. This has allowed him to earn those 50-50 balls while heaving his body across the court in the process. This has also led to a surprising number of grabbed boards as his rebounds per game over the past two seasons, 4.5, is rarely seen amongst college guards.
The high motor has earned him great success on the defensive end. He averaged a very impressive 2.7 steal percentage during his four-year run. His pick-pocketing has also translated to the next level so far as he lead the Hornets Summer League team in total steals during the offseason. If he’s able to continue this success, he could become a constant option if the team needs a burst of perimeter defense.
The offensive end is where he truly makes his mark. Marcura was undoubtedly the most underrated shooter in college basketball as his offensive repertoire is plentiful. He can create his own shot with ease and has been in all four years in college.
His 3-point shot is uncanny. At 6’5, he has a clear advantage over many guards. As a result, he has been able to shoot over his defenders at a high rate, eclipsing a 35 percent mark off 3.7 shots from deep per game. He is also capable of hitting from way beyond-the-arc, not just from the line.
The only glaring issue with Macura is his playmaking. His facilitating ability is underwhelming for a guard as he’s only averaged to scoop out 2.6 assists per game while being in the starting lineup.
But it may not be his basketball IQ that’s to blame for this. He has been able to maintain above a sixteen percent assist rate, so the main de facto lies with the sheer number of assist opportunities that he brings to his teammates.
How he fits this year with Charlotte
His playmaking ability could determine how much playing time that Macura gets this season, barring injury from the Hornets of course. If he’s able to show that he can facilitate at a high level, then expect him to get a few opportunities for quality minutes under the second unit this year. If he proves to be a one-dimensional player on offense that is unable to improve as a passer, then he will find it hard to find playing time in Charlotte this year. This is because the Hornets already have enough outside shooters, but not enough players to locate those high-shot opportunities.
If the coaching staff could find other playmakers around him such as Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum, then Macura could make an impact off his shooting alone this year. Head coach James Borrego has since emphasized the style of taking more outside shots, and Macura can undoubtedly fit that role. Whether that’s off screens or catch-and-shoots, his quick release allows him to be a sniper from outside. He could be partnered up with other shooters like Malik Monk and Frank Kaminsky off the bench, leading to an evermore spacing for the Hornets. This could provide more space for cutters Miles Bridges and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to work inside.
J.P. Macura comes with a proven resume as he enters his two-way deal with the Hornets. He looks to be a scoring threat early on. Let’s hope that his playmaking can do the same.