The NBA summer league schedule was recently announced. The Charlotte Hornets will play group play in July. They will participate from July 7th to July 17th, and begin group play on the second day on July 8th against the Indiana Pacers. The summer league has grown in production and importance since its origin in the early 2000s. Fun fact, the Southern California Summer Pro League (founded in 1971) was the original summer league of future and current NBA players but was never officially run by the league.
In 2004, the NBA launched the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. Initially, it was a six-day event featuring six teams, including the Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, and Washington Wizards. The event was held at the Cox Pavilion on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV).
Since then, the event has added locations and teams and even a tournament-style format has been introduced. The tournament is as much about introducing more competitive basketball as it is for the entertainment value. Throughout the years, the league has become the spot for executives, scouts, and fans alike.
With the upcoming Summer League set to commence in about a month, it’s a good time to figure out its importance to teams like the Charlotte Hornets.
The tournament consists of undrafted free agents, rookies, and second-year players, with a smattering of veterans looking to catch on to a team. So while a team’s star may need to improve on ball handling, fans will likely see the rookies selected in the draft and the younger players that could not get enough playing time during the previous season to improve.
Some good players that could benefit from such time on the Hornets include Kai Jones, Bryce McGowens, and perhaps even third-year player James Bouknight.