With the Charlotte Hornets recent signing of Lance Stephenson, there is a logjam at the shooting guard spot in Charlotte. While Stephenson is more than likely to start at the two guard spot, the Hornets currently employ three other shooting guards as well. While rookie P.J. Hairston likely won’t compete for the sixth man spot in Charlotte, last year’s starting two guard, Gerald Henderson, and last season’s sixth man, Gary Neal, will. Out of these two, one of these players will need to surface as the leader of the Hornets bench.
Henderson and Neal both played big roles for the Hornets last year as secondary scorers to Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson. Henderson averaged 14 points on 43 percent from the field last year in 32 minutes per game. Neal averaged 11 points on 44 percent from the field while playing 23 minutes per game.
Neal did a decent job as sixth man for the Hornets last year. He served as one of the few Hornets who created his own shot and also worked well as a spot-up shooter. He averaged only three points less than Henderson in nine less minutes played. Neal only has a year left on his contract and will probably do better working with the team for a whole year instead of the limited time he spent there after being traded at the deadline. While Neal isn’t the most efficient player, he can still carve out a big role on a young Hornets team.
Henderson isn’t much of a go-to scorer in any sense and basically gets his points off of cuts or from set ups by his teammates. While he did average double-digit points, the stats can be misleading because of his lack of aggression and shot-creating skills. While Henderson does defend and crash the boards, his offense isn’t very strong. Henderson isn’t much of an outside shooter but has a good touch from the mid-range area. Henderson has been in Charlotte for a while now and still hasn’t developed into a lead scorer type player.
Since Charlotte signed Lance Stephenson, there really isn’t much of a use for Henderson in Charlotte. Henderson would be better off being traded to a franchise that could utilize him. For the Hornets, Neal should serve as the team’s sixth man next year. Neal will bring the offense to the Hornets second unit that is needed and can step into the starting lineup when needed. Henderson’s time with the Hornets will likely end soon as the team looks like they have moved into a new direction.