Something that has been a problem for the New Orleans Hornets the past few years is developing and maintaining young talent. The San Antonio Spurs are the epitome of storing players overseas, or in the D-League and grooming them for roles extended into the future.
Quincy Pondexter appears to have extra weight on his shoulders the next few years, to develop into a contributor. The Hornets didn’t draft anyone this year, which makes Pondexter that much more important moving forward.
If the Hornets want to develop depth and a pool of talent, their going to have to start with Pondexter.
The Season Past
Developing trust in a coaching staff and in your team-mates is agenda number one for any rookie. The best way to do this is to perform on the court and work hard each and every day. While Quincy never directly received such an opportunity early on, he did start a number of games when Trevor Ariza went down with an injury.
Deciding which was his best game is tough. His highest scoring game was against the New York Knicks where he dropped 14 at the Garden in what was a blowout. I think though, his best contributing game that helped the team win was against the Phoenix Suns at home on March the 16th.
Pondexter was still trying to find his way in the league and received very inconsistent minutes. This game showed a lot of people how he can make the most of his opportunities. In the 12 minutes on the floor, the man from Washington dropped 8 points on 3 of 6 shooting, hit two threes and had a blocked shot.
While it was no where near a complete game, I think that it showed the capabilities he has in this league.
As for the rest of the season we saw a steady rise in the number of minutes as well as points produced. It seemed like he was getting a little bit more confidence in his game, showing an array of moves to the basket. What is more promising though, is that he demonstrated a good ability to stroke it from three, something that a lot of swing-men need in this league.
Defensively he showed that he could limit opposing scorers, but was out-classed at times. This is more due to the lack of experience, but he tried to keep his man in front of him at all times, and work his opponent towards the help defense.
I saw a lot of promise from Quincy, even if sometimes he didn’t get the consistent minutes he would have liked. My advice to him, would be to make the most of opportunities where you get to start, because when he received 20+ minutes this is what his stat-line looked like:
While it’s not all bad, I think it indicates that he has promise, he just needs to refine and expand it. He has shown he can score and hit the three-ball at a nice clip. What he needs to do is get back to what made him so good at Washington, which was getting the ball in his hands by any means necessary (hustle plays).
What the Future Holds
One of the positive things to like about Quincy (outside of his work ethic) is that he has shown an ability to score albeit somewhat inefficient. His advanced measurements don’t sit to well with me as he posts a 102 Offensive Rating and a 108 Defensive Rating. Now again, I must stress that he didn’t receive the amount of playing time necessary for anyone to go crazy, but it still isn’t a good sign.
We need to remember that Quincy isn’t a lottery pick, he’s a late round pick. He needs time to develop. Given that the 26th pick is only 33% likely to give the Hornets a fringe starter or better, I think we have to temper our expectations.
If he can become the role player, shooting swing-man this team desperately needs then so be it. And if he can substitute Ariza or whoever is playing the small-forward position, then perhaps we have a nice shot at developing some depth.
If this doesn’t happen all our premonitions of his potential to succeed in this league might prove false. It could also have catestrofic ramifications in the extended future as our roster depth is thinner than a Bolloré piece of paper.
Season Grade: (Measured in Awesome to the Max’s)
2 out of 5