Hornets’ summer league team rallies but falls short

Published: July 16, 2012

In a re-hash of the Hornets regular season, their summer league team took on the Milwaukee Bucks tonight and put together four quarters of pretty ugly basketball.  After two double-digit rallies to make it interesting, they fell short in the end.  My observations:

Austin Rivers

Rivers had an eventful game, spending a lot of the first half sprawled out on the floor as the Bucks sent him there repeatedly.  He was again drawing lots of fouls, but he was also missing lots of free throws and actually hit the underside of the rim three times during the game.  He’s going to spend a lot of his first season in the league putting on muscle and learning to finish against quicker, stronger, taller guys.

As a PG he did play much better, and he was clearly looking to get guys more involved.  He found open perimeter shooters on several drives into the paint, and also eliminated the bad 30-foot three point shots from his arsenal.  That was a relief, though I think it is funny that he still spends his time on the perimeter hovering 4 feet behind the three point line like he would in college.  Leaving that much room lets your defender play off of you and help.  He’ll need to learn to stand at the three point line and be ready to let fly when other people create for him.

All in all, it was a tough game for him, but not absolutely terrible.

Xavier Henry

I want Xavier to succeed so badly, but he was terrible tonight.  He was terrible last night.  Half his games last year were pretty terrible too.  Like I said on the podcast (Listen to it, and please take the Survey!) Henry has terrible Basketball IQ and desperately, desperately needs a mid-range game.  His charges murdered momentum over and over – and they weren’t even questionable calls.  He made a decision 25 feet from the basket to drive, and everyone knew it and stepped in front of him.  Easy charge call.

Darius Miller

Solid game from the young man.  Strong defense and took what came to him in the game.  He did give up the huge offensive rebound at the end, but he and Lance Thomas were masquerading as the 4 and 5 out there during that time, and it’s hard to keep guys much, much bigger than you off the glass.  Besides, without his pressure defense, the Hornets would have been out of it long before.

Jason Smith

No, he wasn’t playing – but he was on the bench with the assistant coaches.  I like that.

Lance Thomas

Lance played hard, and I get why people love him.  He’s a professional and does the little things to help the team succeed.  I’m not sure he’ll ever be able to do the big things to help the team succeed at the NBA level, but that’s probably okay for the 4th or 5th big man.

Denzel Bowles

Bowles had an okay game, but he was not the force some predicted he would be after last game.  The guy is slow-footed in the extreme, and if you see him playing help defense – you will be the first.  Because he doesn’t help.  He stares at his guy determinedly.

Good rebounder and okay offensive touch, though.  Just think if he’d get in shape.  He could be an elite 5th big man!



  1. crowmania18

    July 17, 2012 at 12:18 am

    thoughts on Brian Robert’s? I think he is doing a pretty good job. consistant the last two games 12point avg

    • Chuck

      July 17, 2012 at 1:27 am

      Seems like a chucker to me. Everytime he got the ball it looked like he wanted to make a play for himself…which I guess is why he’s here, to stand out to the NBA teams, but he didn’t really look to get anyone else involved and didn’t seem to concerned with the flow of the game.

      • Josh

        July 17, 2012 at 9:59 am

        A guy named Chuck is calling Brian Roberts a chucker.

    • HoumaHornet

      July 17, 2012 at 11:50 am

      I agree with you on Roberts. I like what I see out of him when he runs the point. May overtake Dyson as the 3rd point guard on the team.

  2. nolaDarius

    July 17, 2012 at 12:18 am

    Really hated watching rivers getting fouled hard to the ground over and over again and getting up in pain. But we need to slow Henry down with all these charges.

    • CommonSense

      July 17, 2012 at 3:10 pm

      That is kinda funny. You know what they call a person that continues to bang his head against a wall?
      He may be quick but in the nba, especially when you telegraph that you going to drive the lane, these guys are just as quick and he has to learn when to say go.
      Not judging him based solely on summer league play but on his college and current play. His current play is an encore of college where he had a difficult time being coached. The kid has definite talent but he has to change his game.
      I have watched him play many times and has never shown anything but a strong propensity to drive the lane come hell or highwater, is a streaky shooter with poor form, and for some strange reason does not like to pass to teammates.
      Why force a square peg into the perverbial round hole? no pun

  3. mojart

    July 17, 2012 at 12:26 am

    i like what i saw with austin rivers dis game….he is willing to pass to open teammates…drive and kick is gud…need to improve his FT shooting…..im loosing patience to henry….we give him the chance and still not improving a lot..

    • CommonSense

      July 17, 2012 at 3:48 pm

      uh, what game were you watching?

  4. rjktan

    July 17, 2012 at 12:59 am

    Read the part of this link re Rivers


    I know a lot of Hornets fans don’t like him, but I have always been a fan and based on some of the assessments of him from the media and other sources I am actually quite encouraged that he will be able to play PG.

    I was always a fan of his and I think his own comments/responses in interviews show that he wants to succeed in the role his being asked to play and more importantly he knows how much work he has to do and that he is nowhere near where he needs to be. His 19 yrs old and has the talent to succeed so give the guy a chance. If he works his butt off in the gym he could be special.

    • CommonSense

      July 17, 2012 at 3:19 pm

      Working hard is good, if you are working on the right things and are willing to learn. Remember, Coach K and his teammates had a difficult time with him because he would not change or at least he had a very difficult doing so.
      I agree he has talent but playing him at point guard?
      He has first to learn the fundamentals of team ball.
      He shows a willingness to pass? Just where did you see that?
      A perfect example of his hardheadedness was him forcing the last shot of the game; he was determined to take that shot no matter what the d gave him.
      There is determination and then there is hardheaded.
      I am not anti-Rivers! I just do not get or see what you see.
      Put the guy where he can be successful and right now he needs to change his game.

      • macs21

        July 17, 2012 at 7:49 pm

        Actually, Coach K came out and said he was very coachable and thought the reason he/Duke struggled was because the rest of the Duke team weren’t mature/talented enough to handle his dominant play style and personality.

      • CommonSense

        July 17, 2012 at 8:46 pm

        Since the Reply button is not available on your post, I will respond here.

        That is not what the/a player is saying publicly and not what I am hearing behind the scenes.

        Did you also note that his game did not change or improve as the year progressed? He was encourage/coached to pass more and observe the game more.

        Like I said here or on another, I not saying he is a bad guy.

        With his confidence and drive, there is no reason for him not to succeed; but he has got to change his game and thus far, there are no signs of it.

      • macs21

        July 18, 2012 at 12:18 am

        Really? Funny how all the stats say he played substantially better in the second half of the season then.
        And what the player is saying publicy is that he needs to work on things to become an effective PG. He’s not saying anything about what I mentioned in my comment.

        Clearly you didn’t watch the summer league games because anyone who espouses common sense would have noticed he was penetrating to pass more in the second game and penetrating to score in the first. There are some pretty obvious signs of his willingness to change his game right there.

        Fancy some empirical data? How about;
        Game 1 – 3-13, 2 assists, 4 TO’s and 10-FT’s
        Game 2 – 1-6, 5 assists, 2 TO’s and 8 FT’s

        Not only was he passing more, but he was making better decisions in the second game. He didn’t even have to sacrifice his propensity for drawing fouls in order to do so.

  5. Pingback: Video: Hornets Summer League Head Coach James Borrego and Lance Thomas | New Orleans Hornets | Hornets247.com

  6. Andres

    July 17, 2012 at 1:23 am

    Do I see some Kevin Garnett push ups?

  7. Mike P

    July 17, 2012 at 1:34 am

    Our summer league bigs are horrible at hedging on defense. Doesn’t matter now, because it’s just a summer league game, but Thomas needs to learn to cut off the ball if he’s gonna get time on our second unit.

    • Jason

      July 17, 2012 at 9:09 am

      I found Thomas played well offensively. I would have liked to see him get more rebounds though. I think he has a realistic shot at making the team as a 4th big as long as his defense improves over the rest of the summer.

      • Mike P

        July 17, 2012 at 11:38 am

        I don’t disagree there. He is attacking the basket a lot on offense. I like what I’ve seen there


    July 17, 2012 at 7:50 am

    Other teams vets on their summer league played on their NBA team last year, the Hornets vets Henry & Thomas played in the D-League! Lance Thomas leading a NBA Summer League Team is just silly, but it really shows that the Hornets are rebuilding. We are very young and with time we should be fine! The play of the Summer League Team vets always carries a team and allows the newly draft picks to showcase their talents while learning on the fly!
    TO DaThrone: that is why you can’t trade your whole team for a bunch of picks and stockpile your team full of young inexperience players. You need veteran leadership from someone or somewhere on that basketball court!

    We will be fine guys, be patient!

  9. Josh

    July 17, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Lance Thomas is a MONSTER. He will dominate next year. I hope he can become our elite 4th big.

    • HoumaHornet

      July 17, 2012 at 11:48 am

      Thomas has a high basketball IQ unfortunately I don’t see where he has the skill set to back it up. He is an undersized 4 who is not athletic enough to play above the rim, not big enough to play with his back to the basket, his outside jumpshot isn’t consistent enough to stretch the defense, doesn’t rebound very well.

  10. Nate

    July 17, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    I liked the fact that Austin was attacking. That’s what we want.
    I gather that Monty sees him as a Westbrook-type PG, minus the athleticism.

    What bothers me is something that Monty brought up during his commentary. A lot of these guys are worried about making themselves stand out during the summer league, as is expected.
    But it’s to the point where the Bucks are THROWING down Rivers on every drive and NO ONE is bothering to stand up for him.

    Although seeing him get up almost immediately after every time speaks to his character. He’ll get there. He’ll bulk up and develop the toughness.

    And Jason Smith will be there during the regular season to stick up for his PG.

    • Jacob Williams

      July 17, 2012 at 6:30 pm

      Love that Jason Smith is the enforcer.

  11. Lucas Ottoni

    July 17, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    GO RIVERS!!! I’m cheering for you!

  12. Scott

    July 17, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    I’m sorry i didn’t know that comments that aren’t completely positive would just get deleted. All i said was, rivers is going to need to improve greatly and it probably won’t happen in the first year. it’s probably going to take a couple years. i know this comment will get deleted too, because only delusional positive comments are accepted on this. Have an open mind, and stop thinking with your heart! Think with your mind! The hornets probably won’t make the playoffs but i think they will be better than last year. this team is very young, so don’t expect a playoff appearance in their 1st season. this team is totally new! wake up and smell the coffee. lottery pick is in our future for next year.

    • Andrew Smith

      July 17, 2012 at 3:53 pm

      Do you mean the 2nd comment posted on “Dell Demps the Chessmaster: Rushing to Judge the Off-season” thats still there?

  13. CommonSense

    July 17, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Rivers will be successful, eventually, in the nba if and only if, he finds a niche somewhere on some team that can utilize his special skills OR he changes/learns how to play the game as a team member and probably not the point position.
    He obviously is a good player but I think it was either stupid or silly that he was drafted to play the point for the following reason: he never played point guard before, his stats and his play in college clearly showed he was not a point guard, was not a “classic” team player, (he plays isolation almost exclusively), and his turnover to assist ratio was negative.
    Their draft of Rivers seems to make no sense.

  14. Kempleton

    July 17, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    The boxscore says We had a bad bad rebounding game. 24-40 is the final rebound count! We got outrebounded. They almost had more offensive rebounds than our defensive rebounds. I wonder if there was a 2nd chance point count… 🙁

    I like Lance Thomas but he played 33 minutes and he got only 3 rebounds? Milwaukee missed 30 shots and Thomas got 2 defensive rebounds? He has to be more aggressive than that and do better on rebounds.

  15. Analyzer

    July 17, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Did anyone catch that picture of Bowles next to DJ Mbenga? Mbenga is listed as 7’0 – 245 and Bowles 6’10 – 247, but Bowles looks like he dwarfs Mbenga in the pic!?!?!?!?!

  16. Chris

    July 19, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Im also skeptical of Rivers at PG but love the effort Rivers is putting out right now. Hes one of those kids who wont fail in the NBA because he works so hard at his craft. He played much more like a PG in the second game and definitely looked more for his teammates. Was dissapointed with the missed FTs but he did take some hard fouls.

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