Charlotte Hornets 2019-20 Expectations: Dwayne Bacon Deserving Early Hype?

Charlotte Hornets Dwayne Bacon (Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Dwayne Bacon (Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Charlotte Hornets
Charlotte Hornets Dwayne Bacon (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images) /

What went wrong in 2018-2019

Dwayne Bacon’s 2018-2019 season was one of offensive career highs both in averages and percentages. However, it appears that he may not have greatly changed his value as a complete player and may have even taken a step back on the defensive side of the ball.

Fouls committed, defensive win shares, points allowed per 100 possession, and defensive rebounds were all stats that tumbled for Bacon this past season.

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Perhaps most indicative of his defensive struggle was his defensive box plus/minus, which dropped from -.03 to -2.4. This is not to say that the second-year project is a defensive liability, but defense certainly should have been an area of improvement for him, not regression.

Theoretically, improved conditioning should have resulted in a better ability to keep pace with offensive playmakers and force them into more contested looks. Yet, even though Bacon looked smoother athletically, his increased aggression lead to him committing 70 defensive fouls, 33 of which were shooting fouls.

While his offensive gains outpaced his defensive struggles, Dwayne Bacon has yet to provide the team with an above-average impact. Basketball Reference reports that his value was just a shade under that of a replacement player during the 2018-2019 season and his overall box plus/minus, while improved, still registered as a negative number (-3.5).

However, this information does not nullify Bacon’s unmistakable NBA growth spurt. There are certainly some key things to keep in mind while reviewing the guard’s Sophmore campaign.

First of all, Bacon played limited minutes; he ranked 12th on the team in total minutes this past year. Secondly, during those minutes, his usage was minimal; he ranked 10th on the team in usage when on the floor.

This means Hornets fans are still only getting a sample of the 2017 second-round pick. Bacon’s stats need to be considered with this in mind to get an accurate picture of his uncertainty as a player. Yet, there has been a lot to like during the course of the past two years, especially the improvement of his offensive game.

So with the size of his role expected to grow this year, what can Hornets fans ultimately expect from him going forward? Will the growing Dwayne Bacon hype become justified?