2015-16 Season in Review | Jorge Gutierrez
By Sam Perley, hornets.com
2015-16 Review | Jorge Gutierrez
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A late addition to the roster this past year, Jorge Gutierrez landed in Charlotte following a strong showing in the NBA D-League which he parlayed into a contract with the Hornets for the final two months of the season. A former Pac-12 Player of the Year and current member of the Mexican national team, Gutierrez provided the Hornets with a reliable and experienced NBA point guard who was not only used to playing in a multitude of different environments, but also constantly hungry to prove himself in the league.
Gutierrez Gets Going in Charlotte
Gutierrez officially signed a 10-day contract with the Hornets on Feb. 20, helping the team fill an empty roster spot after its midseason trade for Courtney Lee led to the departures of P.J. Hairston and Brian Roberts. His previous NBA experience included 35 combined games over the last two seasons with the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks although he had spent the entirety of the 2015-16 campaign playing for the Canton Charge of the NBA D-League.
In 22 games for the Charge this season, Gutierrez averaged 11.3 points on 43.1 percent shooting, 4.2 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 2.2 steals, the latter two of which were ranked eighth and fourth, respectively, in the D-League this season. He also recorded 18 points and season highs in both rebounds (10) and assists (10) to finish with a triple-double in a 118-113 win over the Los Angeles D-Fenders on Jan. 9.
Gutierrez made his debut for the Hornets on the road against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Feb. 24, finishing with four points and two assists in four minutes of play. Just under a week later after signing a second 10-day deal, he notched a season-high five points in a 126-92 home win over the Phoenix Suns on March 1. He eventually signed with the Hornets for the rest of the season on March 11 and would close out the month with two points and three assists in 12 minutes of play during a 100-85 road win over the Philadelphia 76ers on March 29.
Gutierrez’s best outing of the season came in the team’s final regular season game as he tallied four points, a career-high-tying four rebounds and a season-high four assists in 18 minutes of play, which ended in a 117-103 home win over the Orlando Magic. On the year, Gutierrez posted averages of 1.8 points on 54.5 percent shooting and 1.4 assists in 5.3 minutes across 12 total games for the Hornets.
2016-17 Season Outlook
Gutierrez will enter the offseason as an unrestricted free agent. As a member of the Mexican national team, Gutierrez could be in for a busy next few months as he indicated he planned on playing in an Olympic Qualifying Tournament this summer when he first arrived in Charlotte back in February. Mexico will travel to Turin, Italy to play in a six-team tournament in July with the winner claiming one of three remaining spots at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Mexico, which is seeking its first Olympic berth since 1976, will also be vying with Croatia, Greece, Iran, Italy and Tunisia at this particular qualification tournament.