Hornets need to sign this Summer League standout for 1 obvious reason

The Charlotte Hornets need to sign Summer League standout Jake Stephens because of his ability to stretch the floor at the center position.
Charlotte Hornets, Jake Stephens, Summer League
Charlotte Hornets, Jake Stephens, Summer League / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

Through their first few games of Summer League action, the Charlotte Hornets have looked solid, and big man Jake Stephens has stood out among the rest of the pack.

Stephens is a 24-year-old big man who spent the 2023-24 season in the G League with the Capital City Go-Go, the Washington Wizards affiliate. He played well in his minutes.

The center appeared in 30 games, playing 18.5 minutes per contest. He averaged 8.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.4 assists while shooting 57.9% from the field and 31.8% from behind the three-point line.

However, Stephens has been earning some real run in Summer League so far, starting in one of the three games. And when he’s been on the court, he’s looked like a guy the Hornets need to sign for next season.

Hornets need to sign Summer League standout Jake Stephens

In his three games, Stephens has played 19.0 minutes per contest. He’s averaging 13.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.3 assists while shooting 56.5% from the floor and 50.0% from deep on 4.7 three-point attempts per game.

There are certainly some pros and cons to Stephens’ game. On the one hand, he’s been an impressive shooter from distance, he has nice touch around the basket, and he’s a big body at 6-foot-11, 270 lbs. On the other, he’s a bit slow, he needs to work on his defensive positioning, and the three-point shot wasn’t consistent last year.

That said, Stephens has a history of being a quality three-point shooter. In his senior season at Chatanooga in 2022-23, Stephens shot 40.8% from distance on 5.2 attempts per game.

It’s for that reason that the Hornets need to sign him to a two-way or standard contract.

As their roster currently stands, Charlotte only has two centers—Mark Williams and Nick Richards. Stephens could be a fun project as their third big man on the roster.

However, neither Williams nor Richards is a three-point shooter. That’s the huge reason why Stephens needs a contract with the Hornets. He would give them a different look at the center position.

Having a stretch five in the mix would allow Charles Lee to run out some different looks, and if they can work with Stephens on his body and defensive positioning, he could turn into a steal.