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The Charlotte Hornets have a chance to really make a splash in this year’s NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, starting on Sunday. With a mixture of returning players and rookies trying to earn a training camp invitation, general manager Mitch Kupchak has a lot to look forward to.
Development will be the most important concept that summer league head coach Dutch Gaitley will be working with this summer. Let’s take a look at what Hornet fans should look forward to in the five games in Las Vegas.
The Growth of the Second Year Players
Last year, the Hornets’ second round picks (Vernon Carey Jr., Nick Richards and Grant Riller) did not have much time to develop. Even though they went down to the G-League bubble, their time to show what they could bring to the table was limited. Head coach James Borrego admitted throughout the season that the team did not have the time to develop the younger players due to not having much practice time due to the compacted schedule.
Now after spending time in Charlotte during the summer and going to Las Vegas as the more experienced players on the roster, the four players have a really good chance to stand out to the coaching to potentially earn more playing time.
For Carey Jr. and Richards, they have to find ways to stand out because 2021 1st round Pick Kai Jones could earn the backup center job behind newly acquired Mason Plumlee.
Hello to the Spotlight James Bouknight
The 11th overall pick out of UConn, Bouknight has every chance to earn some serious playing time in his first year in Charlotte. With Devonte Graham (New Orleans) and Malik Monk (L.A Lakers) joining new teams this week, Bouknight has a chance to carve out major minutes in his rookie season in Charlotte.
One of his strengths in college was his ability to score the basketball. He averaged over 18 points per game during his last season in college.
He wasn’t a sharpshooter but he had a great feel to create his own shot. He has very very good size at 6 foot 5 and around 190 pounds and since he’s from New York City, Bouknight has a sense of toughness already built in.
Who is LiAngelo Ball?
That has been the question that basketball fans have been asking for almost two years now. Basketball fans last saw Ball playing consistently in Lithuania with his brother. The problem is that was over three years ago.
After short stints in the JBL and spending time with Oklahoma City and Detroit’s G-League teams, what he brings to the table remains somewhat a mystery. Kupchak and his staff have talked about his ability to make shots from long-range and Gaitley talked about how good of an offensive rebounder he is. If Ball is impressive during his five games in Las Vegas, he should earn a chance to enter training camp in September with a shot of making the roster.
He would have to earn his playing time by not only making his shots but picking up the defensive concepts. Ball’s story will be not just the story that the Hornet fans will follow, but it might be the biggest story throughout the entire NBA Summer League.