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2019-2020 Hornets report card: Dwayne Bacon

It’s all but official that this was the third-year wing’s last season in Charlotte.

Orlando Magic v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images

The final 18 games of the 2018-2019 season seemed like Dwayne Bacon’s coming-out party. He was a mainstay in the starting lineup and scored upwards of 20 points three times, capitalizing off of opposing defenses paying so much attention to Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb. The team’s “704” marketing ploy on social media last summer using Bacon, Miles Bridges and Devonte’ Graham’s jersey numbers in reference to Charlotte’s area code indicated that he was a key piece to the franchise’s future.

After a tough season where he received limited playing time and spent a few weeks in Greensboro, averaging 5.7 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists with shooting splits of 34.8 percent FG/28.4 percent 3PT/66.0 percent FT, it seems as if Bacon’s time in Charlotte is up.

Though he definitely did not live up to the organization’s expectations for this season, I don’t blame him for seeking another opportunity, especially after the team left him in Greensboro for his bobblehead night after he’d dropped 51 points with the Swarm. He has the physical tools and the mental makeup of an NBA player, it just hasn’t consistently come together for him yet. The Hornets have a lot of young guys to be giving minutes, but the coaching staff seemed to have soured on him early on in the season. He wasn’t good to start the year, but he wasn’t given a “second chance” until January. He was noticeably better, but still got his minutes reduced again and ultimately requested to play with the Swarm so he could see the floor.

What plagued Bacon the most was inefficient shooting. He shot over 40% from the field just three times in the first 10 games before being removed from the starting lineup, and struggled from beyond the arc for the entirety of the season. He showed some growth as a passer after being charged with improving as a playmaker during Summer League; his 11.7 AST percentage is a career-high, and the ever-trustworthy “eye test” showed that he had been trying to diversify his game. His on-ball defense was solid, though like most of the young Hornets, he struggled with off-ball decision-making.

Bacon, like all NBA players, just wants to play. If he doesn’t think Charlotte is the best place for him to do that, then that’s just how it is and hopefully it works out for him. He seems like a nice guy with a good head on his shoulders. Him and Miles also make cool rap songs together.

If Bacon’s 3-point shot was falling and the coaching staff had preferred playing him to Caleb Martin or Jalen McDaniels, things might be a lot different; but they aren’t, and that’s life. Best of luck to one of my personal favorite Hornets from the past few years.

Final Grade: C