During his first year in the NBA, second-round pick Dwayne Bacon had trouble finding time in the rotation. Despite starting early on because of injuries, Bacon didn’t have a definite part in the Hornets’ game plan night in and night out.
Heading into his second season, Bacon may have an opportunity to break into the rotation under new head coach James Borrego. JB has emphasized the use of a faster-paced style of ball, which includes early offense, more transition opportunities, and the possibility of five-out sets. Bacon has since used this new style of team play and has worked on crafting his own game during the offseason:
”With the new coaching staff, I’ve been doing a lot more finishing (drills) than with the previous coaching staff. And a lot more ball handling.”
These strategies had been implemented in the Summer League by assistant coach Jay Hernandez, and Bacon excelled, averaging 18.2 points per game.
Here are the three key areas in which Bacon improved on this Summer League.
When Clifford took the reigns of Charlotte back in 2013, he made one thing clear: crashing the glass. He favored having his team concentrate more on gaining the rebound, instead of looking for transition opportunities. As a result, Charlotte limited opponents’ second chance opportunities and were one of the better defensive rebounding teams in the league.
Borrego, on the other hand, has pushed for a quicker tempo after a missed shot. He is a strong believer in easy transition opportunities, and Bacon showed that he can be the man to score on those chances.
Bacon displayed that this summer, often getting on the break and finishing in 2-on-1 and other fastbreak opportunities.
Another aspect that Borrego emphasized was more spacing in the halfcourt. Whether that’s by having one or no one in the paint, the Hornets are playing a more perimeter orientated style of play.
This spacing allows more opportunities in isolation as there are fewer players down low who could clog up the paint. Bacon was a great iso player in college, and he has the ability to take pull-up 3-point and mid-range shots. He also has the ability to create easily lanes in the paint via blow by his opponent. This skill set allows Bacon to become a fantastic isolation scorer off the bench.
He showed that in Vegas. Here’s a nasty spin move in isolation off Warriors’ forward Nuni Omot.
Besides the noticeable scoring improvement, Bacon also displayed a better vision on the court this summer. In his rookie Summer League campaign, he wasn’t able to find the open man at a consistent rate. Instead, he leaned more towards finding the best shot selection for himself. This resulted in his assist percentage (7.5) to be lower than his turnover percent (10.2). However, this summer he was able to find the open guy and, at times, was able to be the one facilitating the offense in the halfcourt.
This not only helps him become a better playmaker but also allows the potential of being a point forward as a strong possibility for him. If he’s able to continue progressing his passing skills, then he could, in fact, become the second facilitator off the bench behind Hornets’ guard Tony Parker.
Look at the vision by Bacon to set up this alley-oop dunk.
Dwayne Bacon to Miles Bridges! pic.twitter.com/yCAUDdwtFn— Jerry Stephens III (@JR_StephNBA) July 6, 2018
This year’s Summer League was an successful for Bacon. He was able to strive under the new strategies of head coach James Borrego, and, as a result, expect him to fight for a bigger role in the rotation next season.