Charlotte Hornets: Three Under-the-Radar Free Agents to Pursue

Charlotte Hornets James Borrego (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets James Borrego (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Charlotte Hornets
Charlotte Hornets free agent candidate Rodney Hood (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Rodney Hood

Weighing in at 208 pounds with a six-foot, eight-inch frame, Rodney Hood’s guard skillset presents a plethora of potential. The Mississippi native transferred to Duke in 2013, allowing his versatile skill set to develop under the guidance of ‘Coach K.’

Largely due to age, Hood fell to the 23rd pick in a notably deep, 2014 draft. He has played for three teams in three seasons and this offseason, Hood needs a long term home that will finally allow him to unleash his offensive skill set.

Hood’s high basketball IQ is demonstrated by peak efficiency. He only takes the most efficient jump shots, as evidenced by a 37% career three-point tick and an astounding, 49% mark from behind the arc this season. Portland’s dynamic, playmaking backcourt fed the former Blue Devil open shots consistently.

The two ball-handler backcourt that Borrego trots out most nights should find Hood efficient shots as well. While his defense has been spotty in recent years, there’s no doubting that with developing, his frame and athleticism provide the tools for him to become an above-average defender. These traits combined with quick feet should allow him to switch onto guards or wings with ease.

Hood has found himself in some big-time games over the course of his six-year career. With 44 playoff games already under his belt, he’s shown that he can be a contributor in April and May.

Particularly, he was a huge factor in Portland’s run to the Western Conference Finals last season. In the Trailblazer’s biggest game in a dozen years, Damian Lillard and company found themselves down three games to two against the Denver Nuggets in the second round.

Hood’s unique skill set flourished in this contest. He put up 25 points on 8-12 shooting from the field while nailing three out of four three-pointers. He averaged 14.7 points on 58% shooting for the series as his team advanced.

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This breakdown would be remiss not to mention a clutch three-pointer Hood hit to seal the deal for Portland in game three of that same series. At the end of a four-overtime barn burner, he confidently called for the ball and hit the most important shot of the Trailblazers season to put his team up 2-1 in the series.

A glaring reason why Hood shows poise in clutch situations is his personality. His ability to lead on and off the court has been awarded by Krzyzewski, as he was named Duke’s team captain as a sophomore. This accolade was given to him before he played a game for the Blue Devils, as Hood came over as a transfer from Mississippi St the season prior.

Hood has consistently been a product of his environment. From being benched behind LeBron James, to playing big playoff minute for the Trailblazers, he has certainly remained vigilant. In an excellent article written by James Herbert of CBS Sports, he chronicled Hood’s journey and need for a good fit with a team to succeed.

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Assuming he is had at the right price and the opportunity is available, Hood should be given freedom in Charlotte to run the offense occasionally and operate out of the pick-and-roll. This is where he is best suited, and this trait could add another key element to Borrego’s dynamic system. Perhaps a return to North Carolina will give him that stability and opportunity moving forward.