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Brought back for a second year with the organization, Joe Chealey provided the Hornets with combo guard depth and a sense of familiarity in both Greensboro and Charlotte this season.
A two-way player for Charlotte during his rookie year in 2018-19, Chealey returned for both NBA Summer League and Training Camp last fall. He began his second professional season in the G League, posting averages of 11.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.1 steals in 34 appearances for the Greensboro Swarm, 24 of which were starts.
Needing backcourt help around the All-Star Break after injuries and vacated roster spots, the Hornets inked Chealey to a 10-day contract on Feb. 21. He made his season debut the following night in a home loss to Brooklyn and about a week later, signed another 10-day deal. The College of Charleston product remained on the team until play was suspended on March 11.
All in all, Chealey appeared in just four games for the Hornets, totaling two points, an assist and four steals in 33 total minutes of action. Despite not getting a tremendous amount of playing time at the NBA level, the opportunity was still greatly beneficial said the 24-year-old.
“You always kind of get better with experience and time,” he said. “I understood the overall scheme, the game itself and what we were trying to accomplish. With the Hornets, I didn’t get a chance to play a lot, but I felt like I learned more than I ever have before in a year playing basketball. It was a good experience and I’m excited for what the future holds.”
He added, “Everybody plays a role. My role was different when I was down in the G League. When I got up on the 10-day’s, I had a completely different role and I tried to embrace that. I saw up close how the NBA game works and what all goes into it in terms of preparation. I got an appreciation for the coaches and the jobs they do so well.”
Having showcased his versatility a bit this season as a primary and secondary ball-handler in both starter and reserve situations, Chealey pinpointed a few areas in particular he’s looking to address in a longer-than-usual upcoming offseason.
“[I’m working on] still managing the game effectively as a point guard, being able to slide over to the two because I have size, finishing consistently at the rim and obviously with the way the league is trending, just make the three-point shot at a higher clip. You can always benefit from shooting consistently. Those are the areas I want to improve on.”
Chealey will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and although his future is still uncertain at the moment, he’s ready for whatever the next chapter entails.
“I’ve [thought about the future], but not too extensively,” he stated. “We’ve just learned about how the season’s coming back [without us], and I had been working out the whole time in hopes that we’d be playing. Now, I’m shifting to offseason development mode. I’m focusing on getting better and the opportunities that present themselves. I’ll make the decision when it comes.”