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Dwayne Bacon comfortable and confident as season winds down
Hornets rookie contributes on both ends
Published Thursday, March 22, 2018 10:27 pm
by Ashley Mahoney

Dwayne Bacon’s abilities translated from college to the NBA.

The Charlotte Hornets (32-41) rookie guard/forward has used his strength and speed on both sides of the ball to acclimate to the NBA.

“I’m using my abilities,” Bacon said. “I’m big. I’m strong. I’m fast. I’m quick. I feel like I can play defense, and I can play offense. Whatever I’ve got to do to stay in the game is what I’ve got to do.”

Said coach Steve Clifford of Bacon’s performance in the Hornets 111-105 win Wednesday in Brooklyn: “A lot of guys would not have the strength, nor the quickness to get back in front of the ball like that, and in this league, guys who don’t get beat cleanly on the first step are everything.”

Bacon scored 15 points and had five assists and five boards in Charlotte’s 140-79 win Thursday against Memphis (19-53). It marked Charlotte’s largest margin of victory in franchise history, including a career-high 10 three pointers from point guard Kemba Walker, who scored 46 points and dished four assists.

“They don’t really listen, but I always tell [the rookies] take care of your body,” guard Jeremy Lamb said. “I used to say my body doesn’t hurt, or I feel good. I always try to always tell them, get ice, cold tub, hydrate—just little stuff that will definitely help them through the season. Hopefully one day they listen.”

Charlotte acquired Bacon, the 40th pick in the 2017 draft from New Orleans in exchange for the 31st overall pick, guard Frank Jackson, and cash. Bacon left Florida State as a sophomore, where he averaged 17.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists over 28.8 minutes per game, which earned him a spot on the All-ACC second team. He immediately became immersed in a starting role when guard Nic Batum sprained his left elbow at the start of the season. He is the sixth player taken in the second round to start the first game of the season since 2009, starting a total of six games for Charlotte.

“You guys know I was high on him,” Clifford said. “He has a chance to be a starter. I’m talking about a starter that you can win with. He can play at both ends of the floor, but he has worked. He shot 33 percent in college from three. He has worked so hard with [assistant coaches] Bruce [Kreutzer] and Pat Delaney, that his skill level from September has improved dramatically, but he has locked in, and taken advantage of this opportunity.”

Said Bacon: “I’m feeling comfortable. I’m very comfortable. I’m just able to go out there and play. I feel like I still make minor mistakes, but I’m just getting better as I go.”



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