Charlotte Hornets: Should Willy Hernangomez Start at Center?

Charlotte Hornets Willy Hernangomez (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Willy Hernangomez (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Willy Hernangomez has come off the bench for the Charlotte Hornets all season, and the numbers do not lie; does he deserve to be a starter?

In recent games, Charlotte Hornets‘ backup Willy Hernangomez has been coming off of the bench and nearly achieving a double-double. The current starter, Cody Zeller, seems not to be averaging close to what Willy is getting off the bench when it comes to potential double-doubles.

In the previous win over the Atlanta Hawks, Willy had nine points, nine rebounds, two steals and one block! These are great numbers for a player who only got 16 minutes of court time, and who went 100% from the field.

When he compares to Cody Zeller; Willy is averaging 7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, while Zeller is averaging 8.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. While Cody has the upper hand with his initial stats, it is important to remember that Zeller is getting about eight more minutes per game than Hernangomez.

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When it comes to season totals, Hernangomez only has twenty fewer points scored than Zeller, and is just six rebounds shy of what Cody has! It can also be noted that Hernangomez has the same amount of offensive rebounds as Zeller with twenty-one.

It is also important to remember that Hernangomez has also had to share minutes with Bismack Biyombo; limiting his playing time even more, and bringing his numbers down. This brings me to this question; should Willy Hernangomez start for the Charlotte Hornets?

Pace and Space

Unlike Cody Zeller, Hernangomez is able to space the floor and shoot efficiently from the perimeter. When Willy is on the court with the starters, the team finally has a full lineup of perimeter shooters.

On the season, Hernangomez is 4/7 from behind the arc; the same number at which he ended last season on. Hernangomez is on track to set a new career with threes in a season, which is currently set at five.

Hernangomez at the beginning of his career was not known for his perimeter shooting with the New York Knicks. Since he has come to the Hornets, Willy has been putting in the work from behind the arc and has been working to improve this aspect of his game.

While Hernangomez can shoot from the perimeter, it can also be noted that he has a nice post game. Cody has been limited on how he can score from the post, but Hernangomez has a variety of moves for post-shooting at his disposal.

Final Thoughts

I have nothing against Cody, but when you look at what Willy is getting on limited playing time; he definitely deserves more minutes. Cody has been highly effective for the Hornets and has a lot of energy for the team; imagine his intensity while coming off the bench with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

The thing that turns the whole idea of Cody off from starting is his production from the past three games. Zeller has averaged five points per game, while Hernangomex has averaged 7.6 points.

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The Hornets will have a tough one tonight, as they take on the Philadelphia 76ers. The Hornets will face Joel Embid at Center; this will be a test of defense for Zeller, Hernangomez, and Biyombo.