By Sam Perley, hornets.com
Another player with familiar ties to the Charlotte Hornets was brought back to the organization last summer in veteran point guard Brian Roberts. An experienced and trustworthy reserve, Roberts served as some much-needed backcourt depth for the team throughout the course of the 2016-17 NBA regular season.
Roberts Returns to Charlotte
Having originally signed with the Charlotte Hornets three summers ago, the franchise parted ways with Roberts in February 2016, sending him to the Miami Heat in a three-team deal that netted Courtney Lee from the Memphis Grizzlies. Roberts was quickly traded again to the Portland Trail Blazers, where he finished out the season before coming full circle back to the purple and teal.
Penciled in as the team’s third-string point guard, Roberts played sparingly in the first half of the season. In 12 games through Jan. 28, the former Dayton Flyer averaged 1.4 points and 0.7 assists in 5.4 minutes of play.
Sessions’ Injury Opens Door for Roberts
Following Ramon Sessions’ season-ending knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus in early February, Roberts saw his playing time quickly increase. Across 12 appearances from Jan. 31-Feb. 28, Roberts put up 3.8 points on 41.2 percent shooting, 1.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 10.7 minutes for the Hornets.
Roberts’ numbers continued to rise down the stretch for Charlotte as he appeared in all but five of the team’s remaining 22 games. During this span, Roberts registered 4.6 points on 39.7 percent shooting (40.7 percent from three-point range), 1.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 13.1 minutes.
His best performance of the year came on March 10 against the Orlando Magic when he racked up a season-high 15 points and a season-high-tying four assists in the team’s 121-81 home victory.
Roberts finished the season with averages of 3.5 points on 37.7 percent shooting (career-high-tying 38.6 percent from three-point range), 1.0 rebound and 1.3 assists in 10.1 minutes over 41 total appearances (two starts).
2017-18 Season Outlook
Roberts is an unrestricted free agent and is free to sign with any NBA team. During player exit interviews on April 12, Roberts reflected on his return not only to the Hornets, but the city of Charlotte as well.
“It was cool [being back in Charlotte]. This is a great city. I’ve enjoyed my time here for sure. It’s something I don’t take lightly. I really like the city and organization. It was definitely good to be back.”
He added with regards to the team’s overall season, “We definitely had high expectations coming into the year. We knew with the team that we had, the talent we had, we could make some things happen, but that’s why you play it out. You come out and play 82 games to make the playoffs and we just didn’t do enough as a unit to get the job done.”