On Wednesday, the Charlotte Hornets revealed their 2014 Summer League roster that will be traveling to Las Vegas, Nevada. The Hornets will send a variety of young talent, most notably Cody Zeller, PJ Hairston, and ninth overall pick Noah Vonleh.
Cody Zeller – F/C, 7’0, 240 lbs, Indiana, Sophomore (1 year pro, Charlotte, 2013-2014)
Cody Zeller is the only returning main roster player from last year’s Summer League unit, and will be most likely positioned as the team’s leader. Zeller improved rapidly over the second half of his rookie season, and his height and length will give other Summer League players issues guarding him down low. This session could be huge in boosting the big man’s confidence, while providing valuable minutes to giving the 21 year old further NBA experience.
Noah Vonleh – F, 6’10, 240 lbs, Indiana, Rookie
Noah Vonleh will possibly capture the most attention of any Hornet playing in the NBA Summer League this year. Vonleh is best known for his ability to stretch the floor, while still utilizing his size to finish at the rim. He and Zeller should make a fun pairing in the paint for Charlotte, and his jump shot will create more room for Zeller to work on his post game.
PJ Hairston - G, 6’6, 220 lbs, North Carolina, Rookie
PJ Hairston will be in a familiar setting in the Summer League, as his D-League experience should serve him well in transitioning to the pro game. If Hairston scores anywhere near the clip he did with the Texas Legends, he could be Charlotte’s MVP in July. The Summer League should also help Hairston work on his stamina and provide extended minutes for him to improve cardio.
Jordan Bachynski – C, 7’2, 260 lbs, Arizona State, Rookie
Jordan Bachynski is the tallest of the Hornets’ Summer League roster, and he will quite obviously spend time in the paint. In his senior season at Arizona State, Bachynski averaged 4.0 blocks per game, to go with his 8.2 rebounds per game. Offensively, he has work to do, scoring just 11.5 points per game in his senior campaign. Look for him to protect the rim and clean up misses for the Hornets.
James Bell – G, 6’5, 225 lbs, Villanova, Rookie
James Bell is a former Villanova Wildcat who averaged 14.4 points per game in his senior season. Statistically, it appears that Bell needs to work on his ability to hang on to ball, averaging 1.7 turnovers against his 1.6 assists per game. For his height, he boasts a rather impressive 6.1 boards per game, which adds to Charlotte’s group of rebounding forces in the Summer League.
De’Mon Brooks – G, 6’7, 223 lbs, Davidson, Rookie
De’Mon Brooks will be joining the Hornets Summer League team coming off of an impressive senior campaign for the Davidson Wildcats. In just 26.8 minutes per game, Brooks scored at a clip of 19.0 points per game, hitting an efficient 58.6% of his attempts. Brooks also collected 7.1 rebounds per game. It will be intriguing to see if his efficient college game will transition to a higher level of ball. (Side note: I really want De’Mon Brooks to show out, if only to steal WWE wrestler Kane’s nickname and call him The Devil’s Favorite De’Mon.)
Justin Brownlee - F, 6’7, 220 lbs, St John’s, Rookie (2 years D-League)
Justin Brownlee is entering the Summer League following two years of time in the NBA D-League. In his most recent season, with the Erie Bayhawks, Brownlee averaged 13.8 points per game, 5.7 rebounds per game, and 2.3 assists per game. Brownlee definitely won’t be the star of this year’s Summer League squad, but he should provide quality minutes off the bench.
Josh Davis - F, 6’8, 215 lbs, San Diego State, Rookie
Josh Davis possesses impressive size for a forward, and utilizes it to crash the boards. In his only season at San Diego State after transferring from Tulane, he pulled down 10.1 rebounds per game. He wasn’t much of a presence on the offensive end, though, attempting just 6.8 shots per game, despite playing over 30 minutes per contest. Look for Davis to come in and grab rebounds, possibly set picks, and provide a body down low.
Jerome Dyson – G, 6’3, 180 lbs, Connecticut, Sophomore (1 year pro; New Orleans, 2011-2012)
Jerome Dyson joins Cody Zeller as the only other player with NBA experience. In his only NBA season, Dyson just played 9 games, starting 1. Averaging 20 minutes per game, Dyson averaged 7.4 PPG, and collected more turnovers (2.2) than assists (2.0). That is always a large question mark, but if Dyson can handle the ball better, he may eventually find his way back to a main roster.
Justin Jackson - F, 6’8, 216 lbs, Cincinnati, Rookie
Justin Jackson is a forward with a solid ability to rebound and score in limited minutes, averaging 11.1 PPG and 7.3 RPG in 27.8 MPG during his senior campaign. He is yet another big for the Hornets to plug into the paint, and yet another big who can prove a lot to the Hornets front office with a less than stellar college statline.
Mickey McConnell - G, 6’0, 190 lbs, St. Mary’s, Rookie (1 year D-League)
Mickey McConnell is the second former Texas Legend to join the Hornets’ Summer League team, joining PJ Hairston. McConnell’s size instantly provides question marks about how he will play with fellow NBA prospects, but McConnell’s passing ability makes him a potential true point guard for this unit. His 6.4 assists per game, along with his 10.2 PPG, make him a viable offensive player for this squad.
Roberto Nelson - G, 6’4, 198 lbs, Oregon State, Rookie
Roberto Nelson is one of my darkhorses for this Summer League unit. Much like De’Mon Brooks, Nelson scored at a high clip in college, averaging 20.7 PPG in his senior season at Oregon State. Nelson also averaged just over 3 rebounds and assists per game, which is a positive, but he also averaged 3 turnovers per game. If Nelson can make smart passes, hang onto the ball, and play similar to how he did in college, he could be a nice addition to the Hornets’ summer roster.
Jarred Shaw - C, 6’10, 235 lbs, Utah State, Rookie
While slightly undersized for a center, Jarred Shaw brings a high rebounding rate and solid scoring clip to the Hornets’ Summer League roster. He pulled down over 8 rebounds per game in his senior season with Utah State, and he scored 14.1 PPG. Defensively, he isn’t much of a rim protector, but with all the bigs that the Hornets have compiled for July, he doesn’t necessarily have to be a defensive force down low.
Jamie Skeen - F, 6’9, 220 lbs, Virginia Commonwealth, Rookie (1 year pro, Italian, Super Basket Montegranaro)
Jamie Skeen comes to Charlotte from his professional gig in Italy, where he put up solid numbers despite limited minutes for Super Basket Montegranaro. (Side note: If Charlotte didn’t change the name to the Hornets, Super Basket Charlotte would be my top pick.) It is worth noting that Jamie Skeen is a local product out of Mecklenburg North High School in Charlotte.