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Hornets' Dwayne Bacon Talks Life In (And Out Of) The G-League

Kent Smith/NBAE
Charlotte Hornet's guard Dwayne Bacon

It’s not often that we pay attention to an NBA player who averages 4.4 points a game, but the Charlotte Hornets’ Dwayne Bacon has stood out to us this season.

Credit Mark Rumsey
Charlotte Hornet's guard Dwayne Bacon in the Hornets Player's Lounge

We routinely get notified that he’s been sent down to the team’s developmental team – the Greensboro Swarm of the NBA’s “G-League.” And then, he’s called back up to the Hornets.

“It’s like every other day. I don’t know how many times I’ve been up and down, up and down,” Bacon said.

He’s been through this 14 times, the latest coming just this morning. He’ll suit up for the Swarm this evening. His most recent call-up was Sunday.

Last-minute decisions about his game status are one of several current realities in Bacon’s young NBA career, which he discussed, post-game, in the Hornets’ Players’ Lounge.

I’m a guy that… you know, I listen to what I’m told to do. If it’s going up to play, if it’s being up here…I’m more than happy to play and compete,” Bacon said.

“I'm not going to go down to Greensboro and say 'oh this is just the G-League' and half-ass it," he continued. "I just want to be on the floor no matter what.”

Bacon said he believes he’s more than capable to play in the NBA and it’s just a matter of time.  

“It’s just, you know, waiting my turn," he said. "When my time is called — my number is called — it’s just being ready.” 

Bacon drives himself back and forth to Greensboro. He said he enjoys the drive. It’s a way to listen to music and get in his zone.

The Hornets, by the way, say driving between Charlotte and Greensboro is Bacon’s choice – the team would transport him if he preferred. And yes, he’s reimbursed for mileage.

Twenty-three-year-old Bacon was selected by New Orleans in the second round of the 2017 NBA draft following his sophomore year at Florida State. The Hornets acquired him in a draft-night trade with the Pelicans. 

Bacon said shuffling between the "big league" and the “G-league” is teaching him “a lot more patience.” 

If you would have asked me, I thought I would be playing this year. But it was a step back," he said. "I feel like I got a good work ethic. I've just got to come in with the same mindset and the same goals. And that's just being a starter, helping the team win.”

Bacon said his goals are to be a consistent NBA guy.

And for sure I know I can do that. I can be that," he said. "But you know, it's all about the positions you’re in. Right now, my position is I've got to wait. I’ve got to wait. And I’ve got to wait.”

“Most guys think I'll have a 15- to a 16-year career. And they tell me I got the work ethic, I got the game and to stay with it," he said. "And I'm taking that in every day and I'm staying with it.”

For now, Bacon gets about triple the playing time when he’s on-court with The Swarm — where he’s averaging about 21 points per game. 

And for all the uncertainty of his situation, Bacon’s pay isn’t too bad. The Hornets wouldn’t reveal his salary, but he’s listed on several websites as making nearly $1.4 million a year.

Mark Rumsey grew up in Kansas and got his first radio job at age 17 in the town of Abilene, where he announced easy-listening music played from vinyl record albums.