P.J. Hairston has had a rough rookie season


“He should be a rotational player in this league, his future is predicated on how much he wants it and how much he wants to put in the work to get it.”

P.J. Hairston has not put the work in.

The statement above was what Hornets assistant coach Patrick Ewing told ProBasketballTalk about their first-round pick Hairston way back at Summer League.

He hasn’t come close to fulfilling that promise, getting in 35 games this season and averaging 5.6 per when he does, but shooting 32 percent. Hornets coach Steve Clifford benched Hairston on Sunday due to a missing a weight training session, and when asked about it Clifford did not pull any punches speaking with Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.

“Potentially he could be a starter. He can shoot with range and rebounds for his position,” Clifford said. “But he hasn’t developed any way to play to make his teammates better….

“P.J., to me, has the chance to be a very good player,” Clifford said. “His approach has to be where he is constantly learning what the NBA game is about. He’s hasn’t done that well….

Clifford said Hairston has gotten this far on talent and competitiveness and now “if you want to be a good player, you’ve got to learn this league.”

The list of missteps for Hairston is long:

• Getting into an altercation with high schooler at a pick-up game this summer (charges were dropped).

• Signing with an “agent” who was not certified to do business with the league (the players’ union does the certification).

• The missed workout was just the culmination of whispers about his work ethic and focus.

• Plus he had the worst flop of the year (he was fined for his one).

Some guys turn things around; but Hairston has a lot of work to do.