The Summer League Approaches

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Published: July 2, 2009

First off, summer league games mean next to nothing.  Many players who shine in the summer league end up doing nothing in the NBA.

However, while summer league games mean very little, the rosters that individual teams send can frequently tell you something about the team.

The roster the Hornets are sending to Vegas for the July 10th Summer League tells us two things:

  1. The Hornets spent some effort after the draft trying to gather big men who had a potential NBA future for their team.
  2. The experiment of trying Julian Wright as a backup point guard may not be at an end.

Other than Julian Wright and the draftees, the “big” names on the summer league roster are all potential Centers and Power forwards:

  • Power Forward Anthony Toliver, who spent a ten-day contract with the Hornets last year
  • Power Forward Courtney Sims, who was one of the best two or three players in the D-League, was in the Hornets Training Camp, and spent time on three different NBA team rosters last year
  • Center Brian Cusworth out of Harvard who put up some nice numbers(16 and 7) in Spain last year and even has a Youtube highlight video of him dunking a lot.
  • Power Forward Marc Salyers of Samford, a dynamic scorer who has played all over Europe.  Last year he averaged 13.5 and 5 in Ukraine.
  • Center Earl Barron, formerly of the Miami Heat, played in the D-League last year.(somewhat poorly)
  • Center Luke Nevill, an undrafted 7-2 rookie out of Utah(bad rebound numbers though)

That’s a nice, diverse stable of big men from europe and the d-league, especially considering last year we had Hilton Armstrong and . . . Hilton Armstrong.  Of course, Summer League isn’t really a place to see big men shine, since guards dominate the ball and the Hornets will have Wright, Thornton, and Collison as options 1 through 3 to score.  Regardless, there are several players there that could get invites to training camp or if they seem to fit in well, or even possibly get minimum deals to join the Hornets.

As for Julian and the ill-fated attempts last year to have him run the point during summer league, I’m not convinced we won’t see it again.  Other than Darren Collison, the only member of the Hornets team that could be called a point guard is Earl Calloway – and he’s more of a combo guard.  Collison will get a lot of minutes, but last year so did Bobby Brown, and they still managed to have Julian spend time at the Point.  I hope we don’t see it though.  To me, Julian isn’t a viable candidate as a point guard.  At one point this season Chris Paul said that Julian Wright played best when he was on the break and didn’t have to think about what he was doing.  I can’t agree more.  Wright’s an instinctual player, not a cerebral player and playing point guard is almost entirely cerebral.  I hope they keep him on the wing and try and set him up, letting him build his confidence at his natural position.

Anyways – I’ll most likely watch some of the summer league games(being in full basketball withdrawl already) and I’ll put together some updates here to keep you all informed about what I see.

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