Austin Rivers and Darius Miller let me down, but I liked Brian Roberts, Lance Thomas and Denzel Bowles.
Hornets Lose Their Summer League Finale
Brian Roberts gave it his all, but he twisted his ankle late in the game, stopping the Hornets comeback in it’s tracks. I caught up with Denzel Bowles and Darius Miller after the game.
It was a tough couple games for Brian Roberts physically (wrist yesterday, ankle today), but after fueling the Hornets near-comeback in the fourth quarter, he should feel pretty good about himself. Borrego mentioned him by name after the game, and Hornets.com blogger Jim Eichenhofer shared my opinion that losing Roberts stopped the comeback from being completed.
He wound up with 18 points on 13 shots to go with 5 assists, 2 steals and only 1 turnover.
Where he winds up playing next year is anyones guess, but he showed how much he’s matured since college during this Summer Leauge. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t wind up in an NBA training camp this season.
I think we all know that Xavier didn’t play well in the first couple Summer League games, which is at least partially to blame for McNamara’s desire to rid the team. That said, he did finish pretty strong. Head Coach James Borrego talked about his improvement throughout the week after the game, and seemed pleased with his performance particularly in the last game.
Henry played the entire game and led all scorers with 21 points on 14 shots, adding 7 boards, a steal, and 4 assists to go with his 4 turnovers. Still, if you were looking for a game that validated him as a sure-fire part of the Hornets rotation, you were probably left unsatisfied.
I never expected Darius Miller to do much in Summer League since he’s really a role player, not a star. But at the same time, I was hoping he’d perform a bit better than he did. He sat almost the last entire game, logging only 3 minutes. Once he settles into his role and familiarizes himself with his real teammates, I expect a lot more efficient play from him on both ends.
We caught up with him after the game
Bowles was another guy who didn’t see much burn tonight, playing only five minutes. We spoke with him after the game as well, where he reflected on his amazing performance while leading his Philippine team to the championship. Does he have a chance to make the Hornets? It seems unlikely, which is too bad since my cameraman, Andrew Smith, already nicknamed him D-Bo (from the movie Friday).
Who is this guy and what did he do with last year’s Lance Thomas? Did he eat him and gain his powers? Lance made three plays tonight that I don’t even think he was capable of considering last year, leading me to actually get out of my chair despite the reality that I was watching a Summer League game. Don’t get me wrong– his performance today wasn’t amazing or anything, but he just looks so much better than last year overall.
The coaches speak glowingly of him, he has a head on his shoulders, the jumper is developing well, and he’s added weight in the right places. Most importantly he never says no, works his ass off, hustles for everything, and he can guard three positions on D. That’s exactly what you want from your fourth or fifth big. He wound up with 14 points on 11 shots to go with 8 boards and a block in 31 minutes. Lance had just one foul.
I ’m about 98% sure that he’ll wind up on the Hornets regular season roster next year, unless he suffers some sort of injury or unforeseen setback over the summer.
Austin sat again, but not because he was physically unable to go. I talked to him after the game and he told me that he wanted to play, and would have played if this had been the regular season.
I hate to bring it up, but Mathew played 9 minutes, committed 6 fouls, and had two turnovers. That’s probably not the note he wanted to end his Summer League on.