The Charlotte Hornets will play tonight for the chance to compete for an NBA title. Well, not quite, but they are taking on the Houston Rockets in the NBA Summer League Tournament semifinals. The Summer League started off rough for the Hornets as they lost their first three games. However, they have won their last three bringing them to 3-3 for the Summer League season. A win tonight sends them to the finals against the winner of Wizards-Kings.
Hornets Players to Watch
PJ Hairston: Hairston leads the team in scoring and has not been shy about looking for his shot. He is averaging 16.8 points per game on a dismal 32.3 % shooting percentage. During his time at the University of North Carolina the hash-tag #pjbeshootin became very popular, and it looks like it is time to bring it back. Look for Hairston to stay aggressive tonight, and to keep launching three pointers. If his shot is falling he could have a big night, which would likely mean success for Charlotte.
Noah Vonleh: The Summer League season has been a mixed bag for Vonleh so far. He is averaging 9.2 points, and 9 rebounds per game, and has shown flashes of brilliance, but also rawness that is to be expected from such a young player. His athleticism and rebounding have been impressive, but his offense in the post and his defense could use some fine tuning. All that will come as he develops, but right now look for Vonleh to stay aggressive on the glass, especially for put back opportunities.
Josh Davis: The former NC State, Tulane, and San Diego State player has been an absolute beast on the glass. He has a high motor, and is always looking to grab loose balls. It is extremely unlikely that Davis will make the Hornets roster, but it has been enjoyable to watch his effort this summer.
Rockets Players to Watch
Isaiah Cannan: The former Murray State standout can light it up, and he is second for the Rockets in scoring this summer with 16.2 points per game. Cannan is a point guard, but scorer would be the more accurate term. He will look to get to the rim, and get his shot from three point range. The Hornets will have to keep him in check to win.
Donatas Motiejunas: Motiejunas leads the Rockets in scoring with 16.7 points per game. Last season was his second in the NBA, in 15.4 minutes per game he struggled to get his shot to fall, but that has not been this case this summer. He is a 7 feet tall stretch four who is shooting over 40 percent from three this summer. It will be interesting to see who the Hornets use to cover Motiejunas, Davis could body him up inside, and Vonleh has the athleticism to follow him out to three point range. The Motiejunas match-up will be interesting to watch.
Nick Johnson: The Rockets drafted Johnson in the second round of last month’s NBA Draft. Another scoring point guard, Johnson played his college ball at Arizona, leading the Wildcats to the Elite Eight before declaring for the draft. Johnson has started all six summer league games, and averaged 11.8 points, and 2.3 assists. The two scoring point guard attack of Cannan and Johnson will be tough to stop, and interesting to watch. It’s like a poor man’s version of the Eric Bledsoe, and Goran Dragic back-court the Phoenix Suns ran last season.
Where to Watch: Hornets vs. Rockets 6:00 PM EST, NBA TV
Gather around Hornets fans, it may not be the regular season, but it is still fun to watch a team representing the Charlotte Hornets play competitive basketball. Are you excited, or are you laying out by the pool instead? Let us know in the comments!