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Comparing the 2018-19 Hornets to their peers

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We look around the league to find the closest comparable player to each member of the Charlotte Hornets.

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Charlotte Hornets Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

With the season over and little to talk about, I thought it’d be a fun exercise to compare Charlotte Hornets players with their counterparts around the league this season. This gives a chance to see what our players may look like to outsiders and gives us some perspective on what this roster looks like.

I’ve matched each player with a statistically similar player from another team. Typically if the statistical profile is similar, the play style is similar. I’ve tried to make sure that player types and roles are similar as well. Keep in mind, this is for 2018-19 only. This isn’t about projecting into the future or anything like that.

These are ordered by total minutes played. Without further ado...

Kemba Walker: Damian Lillard

Per 36 comparison:

Kemba and Lillard both embody the role of the NBA point guard in 2019. Neither are the traditional, pass-first guards. They are both alphas that lead their teams in both field goal attempts and assists while taking a high percentage of their shots from behind the arc. They are the engines that drive their teams, and both are exceptional leaders.

Other possibilities: D’Angelo Russell

Nicolas Batum: Gordon Hayward

Per 36 comparison:

Finding a comparison for Batum was tough, but Hayward is probably the best match. Both are playmaking wings that are being massively overpaid relative to their production this season. Hayward’s usage is a bit higher, but there really aren’t wings that are as low usage as Batum.

If we go back to Batum’s 2017-18 season, he’s a near perfect match with Joe Ingles.

It’s an interesting example of how player perception is affection by contract values and expectations. Batum and Hayward are both the objects of ire in their respective markets. Ingles is almost universally loved by fans, especially in Utah. Statistically, all are similar players.

Other possibilities: Justise Winslow, Cedi Osman

Jeremy Lamb: Bogdan Bogdanovic

Per 36 comparison:

Both Lamb and Bogdanovic are adept secondary scorers that can create for themselves in the mid range. Lamb is a better defender and reobunder, but Bogdanovic is a better play maker. Both are very good coming off the bench.

Lamb needs to improve his play making for others to separate himself from guys like Jordan Clarkson and Andrew Wiggins. Those aren’t names you want to be compared to.

Other possibilities: Jordan Clarkson, Andrew Wiggins, Evan Fournier

Marvin Williams: Jae Crowder

Per 36 comparison:

Crowder and Williams are physical defenders who get the bulk of their offense from spot up 3-point attempts. Both attempted over 58% of their shots from beyond the arc and both had around 90% of their makes come off assists from other players. Both can guard three positions, ranging from small forward to center.

Other possibilities: P.J. Tucker, DeMarre Carroll

Miles Bridges: O.G. Anunoby

Per 36 comparison:

Bridges’ comparison was a toss-up between Anunoby and Dorian Finney-Smith. I decided to go with Anunoby because he’s much closer in age to Bridges.

Bridges and Anunoby are energetic wings who have the potential to become versatile, lockdown defenders as they mature. This season, their offense was mostly comprised of garbage buckets and spot up 3-pointers. Bridges is further along offensively though, and he’s more likely to become a force on that end of the court than Anunoby is.

Other possibilities: Dorian Finney-Smith, Royce O’Neale

Malik Monk: Shabazz Napier

Per 36 comparison:

Napier is more of a point guard than Monk, but their statistical profiles are still pretty similar. Both have high usages coming off the bench and take a lot of 3-pointers. Neither are good defenders nor are they particularly efficient on the offensive end.

This one kind of hurt a little bit. I was very close to choosing Antonio Blakeney as Monk’s closest comp, but their 3-point rates are too far off. Both have unrelenting confidence in their shots despite not having the success to go along with it at this point in their careers.

Other possibilities: Antonio Blakeney, Langston Galloway, Trey Burke

Cody Zeller: Bam Adebayo

Per 36 Comparison:

Adebayo and Zeller are both athletic centers that defend well and play good, well-balanced offense. Neither can create many looks for themselves, but they are very good ball movers for centers. Both dabbled with 3-point shooting this season, but neither found much success.

Other possibilities: Joakim Noah, Dewayne Dedmon

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: Ivan Rabb

Per 36 comparison:

MKG probably has the widest range of possible comparisons based on this season of play. His rate statistics are very similar to Thaddeus Young, but it didn’t feel right to compare MKG’s most recent season with that of a key contributor on a playoff team.

Rabb is more of an undersized center than a power forward, which might be MKG’s future if he can’t develop a 3-point shot. Both Rabb and MKG are good defenders that who are offensive detriments at the forward spots.

MKG might be able to thrive on a team like Indiana, who are somehow managing to keep up with modern offenses while almost always playing two non-shooting bigs together.

Other possibilities: Thaddeus Young, T.J. Leaf

Tony Parker: Derrick Rose

Per 36 comparison:

Parker and Rose both had times this year that reminded everyone of the players they used to be in their primes. Both scaled down their output to fit bench roles, but their rate statistics aren’t far off their career norms. Both are terrible defenders at this point in their careers and their offensive numbers don’t necessarily come about in the most efficient ways.

Other possibilities: T.J. McConnell, Dwyane Wade

Willy Hernangomez: Enes Kanter

Per 36 comparison:

This one is a layup. I’ve often compared Hernangomez to Kanter, and I’m not going to stop now. Both are prolific rebounders with wonderful touch around the basket. Both are so bad defensively that they still struggle to see consistent court time despite their offensive prowess.

Other possibilities: Greg Monroe, Domantas Sabonis, John Collins

Bismack Biyombo: Ed Davis

Per 36 comparison:

Few players shoot the ball as rarely as Biyombo does, and few players play with as much determined hustle. Ed Davis is basically a better version of Biyombo. He doesn’t block as many shots, but he gobbles up boards and scores more efficiently (most catch and finish centers do).

Other possibilities: Robert Williams, Tyson Chandler

Dwayne Bacon: Bryn Forbes

Per 36 comparison:

Dwayne Bacon’s sample size is relatively small, so it’s hard to say if this comparison would hold up for the course of an entire season.

Forbes is part of the Spurs player development machine that the Hornets hope to emulate. Bacon has the looks of the first successful entry into the Hornets machine. Both he and Forbes are low usage players that knock down the looks they get when they get them. Neither are great defenders, but there’s hope that Bacon can improve there and become more like one of his other comparable players- Danny Green.

Other possibilities: Georges Niang, Danny Green

Frank Kaminsky: Kelly Olynyk

Per 36 comparison:

Kaminsky shoots and scores more than Olynyk does, but he’s not as adept at making stupid ugly shots that somehow go in at the worst possible time. Both are strong outside shooters that rebound adequately and are good passers for the center spot. Both can also play power forward if need be.

Other possibilities: Meyers Leonard, Lauri Markkanen, Mike Muscala

Devonte’ Graham: Jerryd Bayless

Per 36 comparison:

I know Bayless is seven years older than Graham and they are in completely different phases of their careers. But this is a look at 2018-19 in a vacuum. In that vacuum, Graham was almost identical to Bayless as a player.

Bayless has been a steady backup point guard for most of his career. If Graham reaches that level, he’ll be a steal of a second round pick.

Other possibilities: Frank Ntilikina

So there you have it, the complete list of player comparisons for the Hornets 2018-19 season.

All per 36 comparisons courtesy of Basketball Reference and their wonderful player comparison tool.