Nicolas Batum of the Charlotte Hornets will miss significant time during the upcoming season due to an elbow injury, according to recent reports.
The team initially announced that he suffered a left elbow sprain. Charlotte Observer reporter Rick Bonnell says it “appears serious” — which is not good for the Hornets. As it is, the team is already considered to have thin depth at the wing positions.
His backups at shooting guard include rookies Malik Monk and Dwayne Bacon as well as Jeremy Lamb.
But it seems they will be forced to look at another option for the twenty-plus games Batum will miss for Charlotte. If the team decides to add a veteran rather than rely on these relatively unproven players, they have a few options.
Monta Ellis was waived by the Pacers earlier this offseason. NBA writer Dan Favale connected Ellis to the Hornets in a recent article (via Bleacher Report):
“Putting him on the payroll, at the minimum, gives the Hornets a viable safety net in case Carter-Williams or Monk isn’t ready to pilot lineups that don’t include Walker or Nicolas Batum as a buffer. And if, for some reason, Monk’s shot creation doesn’t immediately translate to the pros, Ellis is the better bet than anyone else left to generate scoring opportunities against second units.”
Much like Ellis, Rodney Stuckey is another 31-year-old shooting guard who was waived by Indiana this offseason. Meanwhile, another option who still has some proven value is Leandro Barbosa.
Matt Barnes and Alan Anderson are not yet out of the league and can still provide valuable minutes at small forward, though the team will need more help at the shooting guard position.
DeAndre Liggins was waived by the Hawks after he was traded from the Clippers this summer. He is especially serviceable if they wanted a slightly younger player.
None of these can fill the hole left by the injury but can at least play some solid minutes for the team without Batum.
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