Carl Landry Should Stay

May 22, 2012 | by Ryan Schwan, Hornets 24/7

If there is any place on the floor that the Hornets seem to have lots of options this off-season, it is the frontcourt.  The draft has a group of promising young power forwards and the Hornets already have Okafor, Jason Smith and Gustavo Ayon under contract – not to mention tweener forward AFA.  As a result here’s a question I hear a lot:  Is there any room for the little big man Carl Landry? Should he be brought back?

Most people say no.

I say yes.

You see, Carl Landry has been pigeon-holed as a one-dimensional player.  He’s been classified as a black-hole scorer, a non-rebounder, and a classic tweener that takes more off the table than puts on it.  I’m here to tell you it’s bunk.  Landry actually does a lot to help this team win – and I think room should be made for him to operate as a sixth-man on the roster.

The Rebounding Myth
No, Landry’s rebounding numbers don’t look impressive.  Yes, he plays power forward and should be snagging lots of rebounds.  Here’s the reality, however.  The Hornets posted a 12th best 50.7% rebound rate for the season.  When Carl Landry was playing, they posted a 52.2% rebound rate.  It also wasn’t all on one side, either.  Landry’s presence increased offensive rebound rate by .7%, but the team’s defensive rebound rate also increased from 73.1% to 76.9%.   To put that in perspective, the Hornets were the 15th ranked defensive rebounding team at 73.1%.  San Antonio was 1st.  At 76.0%.  So the Hornets, with Landry on the floor, went from solid to great.  Only one player who got significant minutes for the Hornets (500 minutes or more) improved his team’s rebounding numbers more than Carl Landry did. (Put your guesses in the comments!)  It’s my opinion that rebounding may be Landry’s biggest strength on the court.

The Scoring War
Now, I’m not going to try to argue that Landry is a good defender.  He’s not.  Other teams shot better last year when he was on the floor.  They draw fouls and free throws at a slightly higher rate.  They turn the ball over less.  They have their shots blocked less often.  It’s all true. He’s not terrible, but he’s definitely not average, either.

However, you have to balance all of that with what Carl Landry does to the team’s offense when he’s on the floor.   The Hornets turn the ball over less than usual with him on the floor, they  post a better eFG% with him on the floor, and most importantly, they draw a lot more free throws with him on the floor.  In fact, other than Eric “Wrecking Ball” Gordon and Xavier Henry, no one improved the Hornets likelihood of getting free throws more than Carl Landry.  This helped the whole team score more easily and more often.  In my book, efficient scoring is worth a lot.

The Hornets are a team that is starved for scoring.  Teams looking for power forwards will have a plethora of restricted and unrestricted free agents this off-season to look at: Ersan Ilyasova, Brandon Bass, Michael Beasley, Kris Humphries, Antawn Jamison, Jason Thompson, Marreese Speights, Ryan Anderson, Ronny Turiaf, Louis Amundsun, Jordan Hill, and Earl Clark.  Landry is simply not going to command a huge multi-year salary with all those guys out there.  I think the Hornets could ink Landry to a three-year mid-level style deal, and if they make him the featured scorer of the second unit, I think that contract would be worth every penny.

So, here’s to keeping Landry in NO.

Tags: Carl Landry , New Orleans Hornets , NBA , Basketball , free agency