“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson
This quote by legendary philosopher Ralph Emerson can be seen as a guideline to Hornets guard Dwayne Bacon’s game. Throughout his rookie season, the 6-6 wing looked out of touch. He was unable to find the looks he wanted from outside and often rushed when driving into the lane. It seemed like the NBA was moving at a drastically different pace than him. As a result, former Hornets head coach Steve Clifford failed to provide him consistent and impactful minutes.
Excluding the team’s first slew of games that year in which he started for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bacon was never given the chance to improve on his game. To get better associated with the offense and to have a better feel for the pace of the association. He looked raw throughout all of his playing time and questions as to what his future projects to be on the team.
Luckily, current head coach James Borrego did give Bacon that chance to develop.
Borrego realized an avenue that the Hornets have never fully extended their efforts to. They have a developmental team just 92 miles away from Charlotte in Greensboro, N.C. Having been in the San Antonio Spurs organization for the majority of his coaching career, he identified that player development was key in order to win from within.
That plan came into effect early in the season, when Bacon first stepped into Greensboro as a member of the Swarm. Through his 22 games played, he was nothing short of successful.
Bacon averaged 22.2 points and seven rebounds last season in the G League, and the statistics aren’t the only indication of the eventual rise. This experience also improved his individual defending, an asset that was a strong suit for him at Florida State.
Becoming the face of the Swarm did real wonders to Bacon and his game. He looked like a totally different player than the year before and was able to identify how to attack defenders one-on-one. This is due to the fact that his ball handling skills improved dramatically and he looked more comfortable driving into the paint without losing the possession.
This outstanding effort awarded Bacon with a spot in the Hornets starting lineup on March 8th and held that position till the team’s final game of the season. In that time, he averaged 11.4 points and 2.8 rebounds while posting a career-high 24 points against the San Antonio Spurs. He was able to match up well against players one through four defensively, causing major disruption with his 6’10” wingspan.
Offensively, Bacon looked more confident in his shot selection. He wasn’t afraid to hoist up contested threes and his isolation game became a lethal factor in crunch time. This was topped off by his step-back three against LaMarcus Aldridge in the waning moments of overtime that secured the win.
Overall, Bacon had one of the most successful seasons on the Charlotte Hornets. He turned from being a shaky offensive wing to one of the best two-way players on the entire roster. Looking ahead, Bacon has a legitimate shot of securing the team’s starting shooting guard spot, even if Kemba Walker leaves or not.
The Hornets have been looking for a reliable two-way shooting guard for years now.
Through patience and experience in the G League, Dwayne Bacon looks to be one of the most prominent players for the Charlotte Hornets future.