After losing star big man Kristaps Porzingis to injury, the New York Knicks immediately traded Willy Hernangomez to the Charlotte Hornets.
According to ESPN’s Ian Begley, the front office is still listening to offers for fellow big men Kyle O’Quinn and Joakim Noah. It seems that the 2017 All-Rookie center would have fit well back into the rotation after falling out of it due to a logjam in front of him.
Hernangomez is also close friends with Porzingis and would have been a helpful presence for the New York star after the devastating injury to the Latvian-born big man.
It’s not like he is a tremendous fit for his new team, either. The 23-year-old will play behind Dwight Howard as well as Frank Kaminsky and Cody Zeller in a similarly crowded frontcourt.
Hernangomez is a valuable asset considering he scored well on putbacks (1.16 points per possession) and was one of the ten most efficient players in the league among those with as many opportunities. But it’s worth noting that Howard (67.5 percent) was actually the most accurate high-volume shooter on putbacks.
Last season, Hernangomez was also one of the 10 most efficient players (1.16 PPP) as the roll man in a pick-and-roll offense among those with as many possessions last year. Charlotte has infrequently (5.5 percent) used this offense so far this season.
The Hornets, meanwhile, have used post-up plays more often (9.8 percent) than all but three teams. Somehow only two high-volume big men were less efficient than Hernangomez (0.67 PPP) on this play type.
He is a low-risk, high-reward option on a cheap contract. But it’s not like he is a perfect scheme fit who will make an immediate splash, either.