After an arduous comeback campaign, which included a year-long stint with the Texas Legends of the NBA Developmental League, former UNC star guard P.J. Hairston is an NBA player, selected No. 26 overall by the Charlotte Hornets.
Hairston, 21, spent two seasons under Roy Williams at North Carolina. In 2012-13, he averaged 14.7 points per game as a sophomore and shot nearly 40 percent from three-point range. Expected to return for his junior season, Hairston never made it on the court after first being suspended due to NCAA violations and an arrest for possession of marijuana.
After North Carolina refused to reinstate Hairston in the middle of the season, the gunner left school and joined the D-League. He started off well for the Texas Legends but eventually tailed off and hit bouts of inefficiency. Still, Hairston averaged 21.8 points per game while shooting 36 percent from the pro three-point line.
At nearly 230 pounds and 6’5 in shoes, Hairston has the strength to have an immediate impact on both ends, but his lapses on the court and his off-the-court question marks likely hurt his draft stock a bit.
Charlotte's addition of a scoring threat -- particularly one that can shoot the three-pointer -- is a great move, especially with the status of unrestricted free agent Josh McRoberts up in the air. Hairston's ability to make an impact on the defensive side of the ball, where Charlotte excelled last season, makes him a good fit for the Hornets.
The Hornets originally selected 24th overall, but traded the pick to the Heat, who used it to land Shabazz Napier. The 26th pick was part of that deal, as well as two second-round selections.