2017-18 Season Stats:
Marcus Paige: 2.4 points, 0.8 rebounds, 0.6 assists on 28.6% shooting from the field and 25.0% from behind the arc.
Mangok Mathiang: 2.0 points, 2.5 rebounds, 0.3 steals on 57.1% shooting from the field.
The 2017-18 season marked the first time that NBA teams were granted two-way contracts, where players could split time between an NBA team and their G League affiliate. Players like Antonio Blakeney of the Bulls, CJ Williams of the Clippers, and Quinn Cook of the Warriors established themselves as legitimate NBA players while on these deals.
The Hornets didn’t strike gold like that in their two way players. Marcus Paige and Mangok Mathiang combined to appear in just 9 games for a total of 58 minutes this past season, almost all of which came in mop up duty at the end of blowouts. Among the 14 teams that didn’t make the playoffs this season, only the Pistons utilized their two-way guys less.
Both saw their most significant during the Hornets 140-79 drubbing of the Memphis Grizzlies in mid-March, so that’s what almost all of this scouting is based on.
In that game, Marcus Paige played the entire fourth quarter and finished with 9 points and 2 assists, showcasing his pure shooting stroke with a 3-pointer and another long jumper. In his brief time with the Hornets, the former Tar Heel showed some potential as a shooter. He didn’t show much as a distributor, but that’s likely a result of the situations he was put in where every player is looking to pad their stats at the end of decided games.
Mangok Mathiang played the final nine minutes of the Grizzlies contest and tallied 8 points and 4 boards on 4 of 5 shooting, 3 of which were dunks. His other made basket was a possible and-one off a feed from his two-way compadre Marcus Paige. The former Cardinal showed some promise as a catch and finish energy big. He frequently beat the Grizzlies bigs down the floor and did a good job positioning himself for rebounds and drop offs when his teammates drove towards the basket.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see them get invites to the Hornets Summer League and training camp rosters to get another shot at a full time role in the NBA, but all the front office turnover makes that possibility murky. At the very least, both players showed brief flashes of fringe NBA talent that should keep them on teams’ radars for the next several years.