Analysing Ron Holland's Fit With The Charlotte Hornets

The G-League Ignite forward has been linked to the Hornets at #6.
Ron Holland Shooting the ball
Ron Holland Shooting the ball /
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Ron Holland - Age 18.9 - SF - G-League Ignite - Height 6'7.5 - Wingspan 6'11 - Weight 197 lb

Just nine months ago that Ron Holland was the top-ranked high school basketball player and projected to be the first pick in ESPN's mock draft. However, a tumultuous G-League Ignite season which exposed Holland's flaws has caused his draft stock to slip to the late lottery. Despite his struggles, the Charlotte Hornets are reportedly interested in Holland per ESPN, and several draft analysts, including John Hollinger from The Athletic, still consider him the best prospect in the draft.

At first glance, Ron Holland's G-League stats look impressive: in 32 minutes per game, he averaged 19.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.3 steals, and 0.9 blocks. However, a closer look reveals some issues. He shot only 24% from three-point range, averaged 3.2 turnovers per game, and had a high foul rate. Holland is a complicated prospect whose game needs careful analysis to fully understand his potential.

Offensive Strengths

Holland's strengths really shine in transition. He took just over a quarter of his shots (26%) in these situations and made an impressive 63.3% of them. He's also a strong defensive rebounder, averaging 5.1 per game, and loves to go coast to coast. His lightning speed and athleticism help him get to the rim and finish with eye-catching dunks.

In the halfcourt, Holland uses his quick first step, ball handling, and footwork to navigate his way to the paint. He still struggles with decision-making once he gets there, but getting into the paint is crucial for creating good offense in the NBA. Holland shows potential in this area, even if it's not fully developed yet.

One benefit of playing for Ignite was that Holland had the opportunity to handle the ball in pick-and-roll situations, which made up 14% of his possessions. He demonstrated the ability to change speeds effectively and handle the ball in traffic, even using a hostage dribble to keep defenders behind him and kick out to shooters. While his performance wasn't consistently strong, it was impressive for a 6'7" wing playing against experienced pros, especially considering the limited spacing around him.

Holland is ambitious with the ball, often attempting complex dribble moves and taking very difficult shots. While this can be off-putting, it also shows his strong self-belief and willingness to push the limits of his skills. This bold approach could pay off in the long run, but also makes him a prospect with a low floor.

Offensive Weaknesses

Holland took threes at a respectable volume, but the results were poor shooting just 24% from beyond the arc. Out of his 99 misses, 20% of those were air balls, barely grazed the rim or hit the backboard first. At this point, his shooting touch is a major question mark, although the 74% free throw percentage offers some hope. According to reports from ESPN, Holland hasn't done anything to dispel this narrative during the draft process by shooting the ball poorly at the combine and in workouts.

Ron Holland Advanced Shooting Stats
Ron Holland Advanced Shooting Stats / @British_Buzz

More concerning that the shooting percentages is the decision. Holland is constantly guilty of turning down open looks for contested ones, missing open teammates and when he does try to pass he looks sped up and out of his depth. Overall, he appears to have a general lack of self awareness of his own shortcomings which can come across as selfish at times. The eye test tells you that Holland clearly has some level of talent to create space off the dribble for his shot, but he made only made 22% of these and took them too often.

While Holland can get to the paint at will, his decision making in the half-court is erratic. He often forced difficult shots (53% on layups) and attempts unrealistic passes leading to turnovers (3.2 per game). At times, he barrels towards the rim under pressure without a clear plan for finishing. This raises questions about his offensive role in the half-court since he can't be trusted with the ball and isn't reliable as a shooter off the ball.

Defensive Strengths

Holland's defensive profile is intriguing, characterized by a tenacious motor, quick hands and feet, along with impressive length and athleticism. He averaged 3.6 "stocks" (steals plus blocks) per game, ranking 4th in the 2024 draft class, excluding centers. Notably, many of his blocks occurred in transition, reminiscent of Gerald Wallace's signature chase-down rejections.

Despite being a high-profile recruit on Ignite, opposing teams quickly learned that targeting Holland in isolation was a bad idea. He excelled in this defensive scenario, ranking in the 96th percentile and forcing numerous turnovers. As a result, teams often chose to focus their attacks on other Ignite players, with Holland's teammate Matas Buzelis being isolated over double the time compared to Holland.

Holland's agility allows him to navigate screens effectively, staying "skinny" to stick with his man. He shows proficiency in defending against dribble hand-offs and pick-and-roll situations. His defensive skills enable him to potentially guard players ranging from the shooting guard to power forward positions at the next level, providing him with a commendable level of defensive versatility.

Holland's motor really is worth bringing up again, his calling card has been out hustling everyone on the court both inhigh school and Team USA. As Holland stated at the combine "If anyone hears the name Ron Holland, then word energy has always been used since I was born"

Defensive Weaknesses

Despite his energy and enthusiasm, Holland needs to channel it more effectively. He accumulated four or more personal fouls in 17 of his 32 games, fouling out twice. Often, he gambled off the ball in a style reminiscent of LaMelo Ball, attempting to force turnovers. While this approach occasionally succeeded and boosted his personal stats, it proved costly as he ranked in the 21st percentile in defending spot-ups, allowing shooters too much space. Even when he did close out, his technique was sloppy giving up easy driving lanes.


Surprisingly billed as a Power Forward earlier in the year, Holland's lack of bulk and strength limited his impact as a rim protector in the half-court setting. Allowing 56% shooting at the rim while often fouling and out-muscled by opposing players. He is over eager on defense, constantly falling for shot fakes which other teams clearly had scouted and exploited repeatedly.

Overall, Holland's defensive efforts, while impressive at times, suffer from a lack of discipline. He frequently loses track of his assignment in pursuit of the ball, illustrating a desire to make an impact but revealing a limited understanding of effective team defense. In the clip provided, you can see how Holland is drawn towards the ball in transition, forgetting about his matchup and leaving his man wide open for an uncontested dunk.

Projected Fit With The Hornets

Holland possesses the potential to become the elite perimeter defender that the Hornets have been searching for. His defensive skills could significantly bolster the team's performance on that end of the court. Additionally, his playing style aligns well with LaMelo Ball, particularly in transition, where Holland's athleticism and speed could complement Ball's playmaking abilities. Moreover, Holland's presence would address the team's rebounding deficiencies and provide a level of rim pressure that neither Ball nor Miller naturally offer.

Considering the Hornets' tendency to make errors and struggle with discipline on both offense and defense, the question arises: can they afford to introduce another player who might exacerbate these issues? Furthermore, if the team intends to retain Miles Bridges, his compatibility with Holland could pose challenges due to their similar skill sets, lack of size, and overlapping strengths and weaknesses.

Holland's development would likely benefit from a scenario where he's not immediately thrust into a heavy playing role but instead learns gradually from experienced veterans, understanding how to maximize his skills to contribute effectively. However, the current culture in Charlotte may not align with this approach. If the Hornets believe they can establish such a culture conducive to his development and are willing to be patient, then selecting Holland could indeed be a high-upside decision.

I remain worried about Holland's mindset. He's been told he might be the number 1 pick his entire life, does he ever see himself as a "Role" Player like Derrick Jones Jr for Dallas? His shot selection and play style this year suggests he still wants to be "The Guy". Maybe the Ignite encouraged and enabled this approach, and it's not a true reflection of him, but it's something I continue to think about.


Overall, I am drawn to the idea of Ron Holland. An athletic, switchable small forward with a great motor who has demonstrated glimpses of creating shots for himself and his teammates. However, I can't overlook his AAU style basketball and mistake prone film. It's easy to say "He will clear that up as a pro", but the learning curve ahead of him is steeper than most. While he clearly possesses talent, the big questions are whether he can improve his shooting and elevate his basketball IQ to match his potential.


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James Plowright

JAMES PLOWRIGHT

Twitter: @British_Buzz Linked In: James Plowright Muck Rack: James Plowright About Me Bylines for: Sports Illustrated, Sky Sports NBA, SB Nation, Queen City Hoops Based in Manchester in the United Kingdom, I have covered the Charlotte Hornets since 2008. When I was 16 years old I won a blogging competition on Bobcats.com, this ignited my passion for journalism and since then I went on to write for a variety of blogs; Hornets Planet, Queen City Hoops and At The Hive. In 2022 I took on the role as site content manager for the Charlotte Hornets Fannation site (AllHornets.com).  I am also the founder of the All Hornets Podcast Network, having recorded over 350+ Hornets related podcasts.  Awards - The All Hornets podcast was nominated for "Best Team Podcast" in the 2022 Sports Podcast Awards.  - I was nominated for "Sports Writer of the Year" in 2013 for LSU Media while studying my B.A in History and International Relations at Loughborough University.