If it’s true that some draftees future success hinges on what team selects them, P.J. Hairston should be ecstatic that he ended up in Charlotte. The Hornets are a team on the rise and there should be plenty of opportunity for the former UNC sharpshooter to make an impact in year one.
Leading up to the draft, I strongly felt that the Queen City was easily the best landing spot for P.J. and Michael Jordan must have thought so as well. The Hornets have a big time player in center Al Jefferson and point guard Kemba Walker is no joke either. They’re also one of the top defensive teams in the NBA but the glaring weakness of this squad is outside shooting. The Hornets shot 35.1 percent from downtown as a team, which was OK, but their 6.3 makes per game were near the bottom of the league.
That’s why the trade with Miami for Hairston was a no brainer in my opinion because one thing we know for sure is that he can shoot the rock. In 26 games with the Texas Legends of the D-League, P.J. made 73 three pointers. So the day he steps on the court with his new teammates, Hairston will be the best shooter on the roster.
Another reason that MJ’s team was the best home for Hairston is playing time. Now I don’t expect P.J. to come in and start. However, he should get ample opportunity to showcase his talents because the guys in front of him on the depth chart don’t provide much of a roadblock. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Gerald Henderson are holding down the small forward and shooting guard positions respectively but neither does much on the offensive end.
Journeymen Chris Douglas-Roberts is the only other wing who gets consistent PT and with that being said, its pretty easy to see why I think this former Tar Heel will get a chance to produce early. If P.J. plays anywhere close to his potential, it should result in him getting a ton of run and maybe a starting spot by seasons end.
Last but not least is the city of Charlotte itself. The 6’6 220 lbs shooting guard is a native of Greensboro, so having his family just a few hours away as well as having a built-in fan base ( we all know that Charlotte is in Tar Heel Country) should help P.J. get into his comfort zone pretty quickly so he can focus on basketball. Starting his career in the state where he grew up and where he went to college should speed up the process of this young man getting acclimated to new surroundings and on top of that, Charlotte won’t be much of a culture shock.
In this aspect, Hairston will have an advantage over most of his fellow rookies, who in some cases will have to move to a strange city with no real support system. If the Hornets are getting the player I think they’re getting, well get ready Charlotte because you’re about to fall in love with another Tar Heel!