Charlotte Hornets Player Preview: How Wes Iwundu fits on Charlotte’s roster

Wes Iwundu, Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
Wes Iwundu, Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images) /

When the Charlotte Hornets sent Devonte’ Graham to New Orleans in a sign and trade deal, the team received back Wes Iwundu along with a protected first-round pick.

Iwundu has flown under the radar since arriving in Charlotte, new names like Kelly Oubre Jr., Ish Smith, and the Hornets cast of rookies have taken most of the attention. However, Iwundu brings a particular skill set that could make him a very useful bench piece in certain situations.

Wes Iwundu’s defensive skill set could make him a useful piece of the Charlotte Hornets rotation.

Iwundu makes his impact in the phases of the game that aren’t charted through stats. Throughout his career, Iwundu has been known as a player who excels on the defensive end of the court. An area the Hornets struggled heavily in last season.

Now, should fans expect Iwundu to make a Kawhi Leonard level of impact on the defensive end, be someone who can step out and limit the likes of LeBron James and the NBA’s best superstars? No, absolutely not.

However, if Iwundu makes the team, his minutes during the regular season will be used to slow down the opposing team’s best player. Charlotte doesn’t possess many players who can fill this role. Miles Bridges took it on last season but with his increased role on the offensive side of the ball, you would like someone else to take the reigns.

Head coach James Borrego could turn to Oubre, who’s been known as an adequate defender, or even Cody Martin who has been the one getting Iwundu esque minutes during his NBA career.

The competition is deep and Iwundu is no guarantee to make the roster but because of his defensive skill set, the opportunity is there. This pre-season the battle between him and Martin will be a big one to watch. The final roster spot could very well come down to one of the two.

While Iwundu may have the edge defensively, Martin may be the better offensive player. Fans will have to wait and see which skill the team values having deeper on their bench.

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