Charlotte Hornets: The Underrated Value of Brian Roberts

Feb 3, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard Brian Roberts (22) warms up before the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 3, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard Brian Roberts (22) warms up before the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports /

Brian Roberts is one of the most underrated players on the Charlotte Hornets this season and he is the perfect fit for the emergency point guard role.

Even after being traded by the Charlotte Hornets last season, it was only a matter of time before Brian Roberts ended up back in the Queen City. Head coach Steve Clifford prioritizes point guard depth and Roberts has experience with the team. It was the perfect fit but even as an emergency point guard, Brian’s value with the Hornets is underrated.

After 30 games with Charlotte last year, Roberts was traded to the Miami Heat as part of a three-team deal with the Memphis Grizzlies. Just a few days later, Brian was traded again. This time to the Portland Trailblazers. He appeared in 21 games for Blazers and spent the rest of the 2015-16 season in Portland.

The 30-year old point guard was a free agent this offseason until Charlotte signed him to a one-year, $1 million deal/veteran’s minimum. Brian has been with the Hornets since the start of the 2014-15 season. Roberts clearly wanted to be back in North Carolina as he “owns a house in the Charlotte area. His family lived there after he was traded to Miami/Portland last year.” (Mike Richman)

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Familiar With the System

Like I said before, coach Clifford prioritizes point guard depth and Charlotte has good depth at that position. With Kemba Walker, Ramon Sessions, and Brian Roberts, the Hornets have an effective starter, back-up, and emergency point guard. Roberts history with the team gives him the all important experience with the system and style of play.

According to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, “Clifford has said he can live with one less wing player on the roster to have extra depth at point guard or center, positions typically harder to fill.” Having a point guard that is familiar with the playbook is essential and crucial so that he can fill in when an injury occurs. Roberts’ familiarity under Steve Clifford and with the organization make him the perfect fit.

Embraces His Role

At this stage in his career, Brian isn’t going to become a starter in this league but he can still have value. Roberts is a great teammate and is a great practice player for the Hornets. Under Steve Clifford, he is always ready and willing when called upon off the bench.

After early success in his career with New Orleans, Brian could be a selfish player and not accept a third string point guard role in the NBA. Instead, he embraces his role and takes advantage of the opportunity with Charlotte. Every team needs an emergency point guard to be available and ready but the Hornets have the luxury of having a talented one in Roberts.

Effective When Called Upon

Even though he only appeared in 30 games for the Hornets last season, Roberts was able to prove his worth. He may have only averaged 4.8 points per game, 1.3 assists per game, and 1.0 rebounds per game in 11.1 minutes per game but when he actually got minutes and playing time, he was effective. For a stretch of eight games in the middle of the season, Brian received ample playing time and was great off of the bench for Charlotte.

From January 20th to February 3rd, Roberts averaged 9.6 PPG, 1.5 APG, and 1.2 RPG in 17 MPG. The 6’1 point guard has proven in past seasons with New Orleans and during his first year with Charlotte that he is a capable replacement as a starter or from the bench.

Even though many fans don’t pay attention to third string/emergency point guards, they are unsung heroes and teams that ignore this position usually regret it at some point in the season. Steve Clifford and the Hornets made sure that they have their guy manning that position.

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Brian Roberts may just be a third string point guard but he plays an important role for the Charlotte Hornets. Truth be told, he is one of the best emergency point guards in the NBA. The team is lucky to have him and when/if he is called upon due to injuries, his true value is put on display.