Charlotte Hornets should buy-low on Nuggets’ point guard Emmanuel Mudiay

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 10: Emmanuel Mudiay
DENVER, CO - JANUARY 10: Emmanuel Mudiay /

With the trade deadline approaching, the Charlotte Hornets should target a backup point guard who could stabilize the bench.

The Charlotte Hornets‘ second unit has struggled mightily this season and Michael Carter-Williams has been one of their poorest performers. If the team is going to make a playoff push in the second half of the year, they will need to upgrade their backup point guard. While plenty of options may be available on the trade market, Denver Nuggets‘ point guard Emmanuel Mudiay is someone Rich Cho could buy-low on.

The third-year point guard is having the worst season of his young career and has lost his starting spot to Jamal Murray. He’s essentially fallen out of Michael Malone’s rotation over the past month and a half since returning from an injury. Mudiay hasn’t played over 20 minutes in a game since early-December and has picked up eight DNP in the last 12 games.

Not only has Emmanuel fallen out of favor with the Nuggets but Denver has recently tried to move the former seventh overall pick in 2015. According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, “sources say the Nuggets have attempted to trade him multiple times.” If that is the case, it’s clear that Denver’s front office doesn’t think he’s an important piece for them going forward. This furthers the argument that Mudiay could be had for cheap as his stock is at an all-time low.

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The main reason Charlotte should make a move for Emmanuel is that the backup point guard spot is their biggest need. MCW has been serviceable at times this year but he’s mostly been terrible. He’s shooting a horrendous 29.1% from the field this season which is not only one of the worst marks in the NBA this season but one of the worst shooting percentages in league history.

Mudiay is averaging more points and assists than Carter-Williams while also shooting nearly 10 percentage points better from the field and from the three-point line. Although Emmanuel is averaging slightly more minutes than Michael, their per 36 minutes and per 100 possessions stats aren’t even close. (

The 21-year old has great length at 6’5 which is something that Steve Clifford has valued with his backup PG’s in the past. He also has great athleticism which is why so many teams were so high during the 2015 NBA Draft. Mudiay is still young and has plenty of potential.

Although he isn’t a great shooter, Emmanuel is shooting a career-high from the field, three and free throw line this season. While he does have his fair share of struggles on the defensive end, he does have the tools necessary to be good on that side of the ball. Playing under Coach Clifford could also improve his defense.

As for a potential trade, it’s unclear what Denver would want in return for Mudiay. MCW for Mudiay works straight up but Charlotte would likely have to throw in either a future first or a second-round pick to complete that move. The Hornets could also send Frank Kaminsky to the Nuggets or they could make a package deal with multiple players being moved.

While the asking price is unclear, I can’t imagine that it would be all that high considering the circumstances surrounding Mudiay that I pointed out above.

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The Charlotte Hornets have had success with reclamation projects as they’ve bought low on a number of players in recent seasons including Dwight Howard, Jeremy Lin and Jeremy Lamb. Backing up Kemba Walker could be the perfect situation for Mudiay. A fresh start with a new team could be good for him and Steve Clifford’s side desperately needs a change at the backup point guard spot.