Jerryd Bayless was drafted by a team that didn’t need him. He’s a combo-guard, of the most combo of combo-guards. His best skill is attacking the basket and getting buckets. He doesn’t manage an offense, he’s not a great distributor, he’s not an offense-manager. But repeatedly, Nate McMillan told him he was going to have to play point guard or not play at all. They had a shooting guard, his name is Brandon Roy, and he’s an All-Star. Whether it was out of trying to mold a player to need or due to Bayless’ diminutive size, Bayless was never a priority. Even when he started to pop-off last year, the team’s confidence in him was limited.
But now he’s got a new team.
ESPN’s Marc Stein reports Bayless has been traded to the Hornets for a future first round pick. Meaning the Hornets now have the oddest combination of backups to the best point guard in the league, ever. Marco Belinelli, who has lit up preseason (like he usually does), Willie Green, and Curtis Jerrells join Bayless. It’s a combo-guard festivus!
Bayless will likely be asked to take a similar role as Darren Collison had last year, though Collison was a much better distributor. He’ll also serve as an alternative to Marcus Thornton, who has struggled mightily in preseason under new coach Monty Williams. Bayless and Paul together would make up one of the fastest backcourts in the league, and in transition would be nimble as all get out, though they’d be surrounding a lot of size to any team with an adequately sized and even moderately talented shooting guard. It also probably cements Belinelli as a shooting guard option. He and Bayless would make for a nice combination of talent and scoring. Defense will be an issue, as it always is with smaller guards, but for depth, the Hornets made a major improvement. A first rounder is a steep price, though.
You have to wonder if Portland GM Rich Cho is acquiring assets to target a separate trade for the kind of pure point guard Portland’s been shopping for for years. Either that or he’s looking to advance the future of the team, which has been building for the future for seemingly forever.