Today the Charlotte Hornets closed out summer league in Vegas. They finished with a loss, but it was a great game, in which they competed throughout. They started 0-3 and had every fan worried, although summer league reveals very little about anything having to do with the regular season. Summer league does give fans their first look at the rookies from this years draft, and a second look at young players from recent years.
Cody Zeller was the only player, from the Hornets roster last year, on the summer league team. Zeller was late to Vegas due to his brothers wedding, and when he showed up he didn’t play many minutes. Zeller looked about the same as he did near the end of last season. He didn’t showcase an improved jump shot, nor did he showcase much of an improved post game. He was pretty much the same athletic big man that can run the floor, and play face up near the basket. Hopefully he improves with better players around him because I think that the Hornets are counting on him at power forward.
Most people would agree that Noah Vonleh wasn’t quite as NBA ready as most of us thought. He has a great frame but showed lack of strength down low. I see him as more of a stretch 4 for the Hornets which should better utilize his strengths, and mask his weaknesses until he gets stronger. He must also improve his hands, which he struggled with in college. Vonleh is only 18 years old and has plenty of time to develop so Hornets fans are going to need to be patient. I could see Clifford giving him more minutes as the season rolls on, as he did Zeller last year.
P.J. Hairston gave us a good look at who he is gonna be at the start of his NBA career. He is going to be a volume shooter, thats field goal percentage may struggle some nights. P.J. showed that there is very little if any limitations on his range, and often pulled up from around 4 feet behind the 3 point line. Later in his career i believe he will develop a post game, and learn to use his size to his advantage. P.J. must improve his overall defense, and rebounding which really just comes down to effort. He cares much more about offense than defense, and it shows. On offense he must improve his decision making, and his touch around the hoop. Overall I think he had a decent summer league but to be a successful pro he will need to improve.
My favorite player from this years summer league would have to be Josh Davis out of San Diego State. He played with more energy, and tenacity than anyone on the court.
When Davis was in the game for the Hornets he gave the offense second chance points, and limited second chance points for opposing teams. I think he would be a great addition for the Hornets. He could provide a great spark off the bench at power forward, a position I am not quite comfortable with for the Hornets.
Although he is a bit short at 6’9 for power forward , he is strong enough, and athletic enough to compete with much bigger players. A comparison could be made between Davis and Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard. I know it is a long shot but Leonard came into the league a much different player than he is today. He started as a gritty, athletic defender who lacked shooting. Leonard started as mainly a post player on offense who beat bigger forwards with his quickness. Davis showed a lot of these same qualities. He beat defenders in the post with quick spin moves, and pure strength. All I can say is that I hope the Hornets sign Davis so we won’t have to play him.
I am not going to touch on every player because they will most likely be irrelevant to the Hornets. Overall I think the Hornets performed well in Vegas. They started slow but showed the ability to bounce back, which is a respectable trait. Now the wait begins for the regular season, hopefully the young players continue to develop, and P.J. can stay busy for the next few months.