2017-18 Season Stats: 0.8 ppg, 1.1 apg, 1.3 rpg, 46.2 percent from the field and from 3.
Julyan Stone made more headlines this season before joining the Charlotte Hornets than while on the team. Subject to a tricky buyout, Stone’s club team in Italy wouldn’t release him from his contract despite repeated attempts from his camp to let him go. His reasoning was sincere — with his father’s health ailing, Stone wanted to be closer to him and be able to provide adequate care and coverage costs. Fortunately, Stone was released, which opened the door for him to sign with the Charlotte Hornets.
The 29-year-old made little impression on the team, however, leaving many wondering why so much effort was to bring him to Charlotte in the first place. A preseason injury prevented him from earning a rotation spot (it was an unfortunate missed opportunity as well since Michael Carter-Williams was out). Most of Stone’s minutes came in garbage time in the closing minutes of games, though he did get meaningful time towards the end of the season.
When he played, Stone rarely shot. Statistically, he averaged less than one attempt per game at 0.6 attempts. I understand garbage time doesn’t present a lot of opportunities, and there are even fewer when you’re sharing the court with Malik Monk. Still, Stone might be in rare company of players who played at least 175 minutes, and yet attempted a grand total of 13 shots (all 3-pointers, by the way).
So Stone wasn’t interested in shooting, but he did pass. While averaging just 1.1 assists per game, he still managed to show off decent court vision and a couple of flashy passes. He was known for this prior to signing, and his court vision came as advertised. He didn’t really get a chance to show it, but we got enough to confirm what we already knew.
While Stone was brought in to be the 3rd point guard, he ended up being a puzzling signing. It made sense at first — the Hornets signed two tall and long backup point guards in response to the short point guards they had the previous season. Both Stone and MCW could defend and pass, and in an ideal setting, playing either next to Kemba Walker and Monk would’ve provided help on defense. But given the risks of MCW, it soon became clear that Stone wasn’t talented enough to push Carter-Williams out of the rotation. Signing Stone seemed more based on style and fit rather than talent, and given some of the other options available, I would have much rather approved of the likes of Trey Burke, who easily would’ve pushed MCW to the bench long before a season ending injury did (and by the looks of things, may have earned a long-term spot with the Knicks.
Stone is technically under contract for next season, but it’s an un-guaranteed deal, meaning he won’t count against the cap if released before August 1st. I expect him to be released — Stone didn’t do anything to suggest he’s worth another shot next season. If this does end up being Stone’s only season in Charlotte, I wish him the best, and I hope that he takes far more shots per game where ever he ends up next.