Legends Claim P.J. Hairston

By: Bobby Karalla --- @BobbyKaralla

The Texas Legends have claimed PJ Hairston off waivers.

Credit: Gary Dineen

Hairston played for two seasons at the University of North Carolina, last playing during the 2012-13 season. He led the team in scoring with 14.6 points per game in 2012-13. That same season, according to Basketball-Reference, the guard also led the ACC in Win Shares per 40 minutes, a metric used to measure the number of wins a player contributes to his team based on his offense and defense.

The 21-year-old was an excellent three-point shooter last season for the Tar Heels, finishing third in the ACC in three-point field goals (89) and fourth in three-point percentage (39.6). He also shot nearly 78 percent from the free throw line and recorded 1.3 steals in less than 24 minutes per game.

The Legends shoot 37.8 percent from three-point land, the second-best mark in the D-League, so Hairston should fit right in with the team’s other shooters, most notably Booker Woodfox and Sammy Yeager, each of whom are shooting better than 49 percent from beyond the arc. Hairston attempted more than six three-pointers per game last season with North Carolina, and only five D-League teams shoot more threes per game than the Legends. And at 6’ 6”, he has NBA size and athleticism – his dunk highlight tape is impressive, to say the least – to accompany his smooth shooting stroke.

Credit: Gary Dineen

A thought in media circles is that Hairston is planning to declare for the 2014 NBA Draft, similar to what Glen Rice Jr. did last year after spending time with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Like Rice, who played at Georgia Tech before making the leap to the D-League, Hairston could perhaps use his time with the Legends to audition for a job in the NBA, something that’s perfectly common among the D-League’s brightest stars.

However, if Hairston’s time in Texas is anything like Rice’s with the Vipers, the Legends will have nothing to complain about. The Vipers won the D-League title last season with Rice at the helm, as he averaged 13 points per game in the regular season and 25 points and nearly 10 rebounds per game in the playoffs before ultimately signing with the NBA’s Washington Wizards. Hairston, meanwhile, enjoyed plenty of individual postseason success with last year’s Tar Heels, as the guard averaged 20 points per game over three ACC tournament games and two NCAA tournament contests.