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2014 Charlotte Hornets Summer League 3-on-3 Recap


1. Who helped their stock with the Hornets the most thus far this summer?

Doug @QCHDoug:  Hairston needed to prove something to fans, coaches and himself and I think he did that. After all of the offseason troubles, he was able to do exactly what he said he was going to do, which was let his play do the responding. Both Hairston and Vonleh proved that they are the players, for better and worse, that we drafted. That’s a big sigh of relief. Drafting young players is, despite all of the data we have, an imprecise science. To see that P.J. was able to shoot anywhere in the gym, show a willingness to attack the basket and not let his offseason issues take him out of his game are all good signs that we made a decent gamble with Hairston late in the first round. 

Spencer @QCHSpencer:  Josh Davis. The undrafted rookie averaged 8.9 PPG (51.3% FG) & 10.1 RPG during seven games in Vegas. Davis was arguably the most versatile defender in all of summer league, guarding everything from ball-handlers to centers during SL.

Davis certainly has his offensive deficiencies – he basically has no jump-shot and has no go-to move with the ball in his hands, but I’ll bet you can’t find a more active player on the offensive glass, keeping balls alive. Simply put, he’s an extremely high energy go-getter that refuses to be denied on both ends of the floor. Think Kawhi Leonard minus the offensive prowess.
I would expect for Josh Davis to get an NBA training camp invite. It might not be in Charlotte because he’s not a great fit for this roster as it’s constructed, but this guy is a coaches dream, so someone will give him a shot.
Michael @therealmkbizzy:  Josh Davis was extremely impressive, especially considering his undrafted status. He ended summer league with respectable averages of 8.6 points and 10.1 rebounds, and showed that he may deserve a training camp invite, if nothing else.The player with the most to prove however, was P.J. Hairston. While his play was far from perfect, he showed some of the promise, potential, and ability that the Hornets were high on when they drafted him. While he needs to improve his passing and playmaking, and also needs to increase his efficiency on the offensive end, he showed that he belongs in the league. Hairston was tagged as ‘NBA-ready’ after his D-League stint, but he needed to show the readiness in order to grab real rotation minutes as a rookie, which he did. Hairston finished tenth total in summer league scoring at 18 points per, while showing some range and versatility. While there is much to be improved upon, Hairston showed strong signs as an offensive option, and his summer league performance likely helped his Hornets stock.

2. After their summer league showing, what kind of roles do you expect for the Hornets’ first-round picks (Vonleh & Hairston) in the upcoming season?

Doug:  Limited, save for injuries. Coach Clifford has made it clear that these are both prospects on a team that is growing older together. Vonleh especially fits the term “prospect” as I and others feel he’s going to need a few off-seasons to develop his awareness and touch around the rim. While P.J. might be more ready now because of his D-League experience and translatable skill as a three point specialist. His game still has a ways to go before it is complete enough to deal with substantial minutes in a rotation. Cutting down on turnovers, taking fewer chances on defense and shot selection will be hills Hairston will climb before inevitably starting for an NBA team.

Spencer: Very limited, and coach Clifford has already publicly made that clear.

Hairston is more ready to come in and contribute now, but he showcased in Vegas that shot selection and effort are still real concerns with his game. He’s clearly behind Stephenson, Henderson, Neal, and Taylor on the depth-chart, but because he can play SG & SF, that will carve out some playing time for him in pinches.
Vonleh showed us the skill that he possesses during summer league with his sweet footwork + tight handle for a big. That being said, he really struggled to finish around the basket. Vonleh shot a putrid 28.4% in Vegas, but I’d rather him already possess the skill of how to get to his spots, and then let the finishing touch follow. Don’t forget to consider that this is a guy that wasn’t extremely involved in Indiana’s offense during his freshman season. He’ll be behind Williams, Zeller, and Biyombo on the depth chart, but again, injuries can create an unexpected role for guys like Vonleh.
Michael: As Steve Clifford stated a few weeks back, I wouldn’t expect major minutes for either of the Hornets’ first-round picks this season. Hairston may see some more minutes than Vonleh for several reasons. First, he is more prepared as a player. While Vonleh is rather raw and will need several seasons of development, Hairston is viewed as a more immediate impact player, who can come in and contribute, especially on the offensive end. His time in the Development League played a big part in his ‘NBA-ready’ narrative, but as he showed in summer league, he can certainly score. Charlotte’s relative lack of perimeter players may afford Hairston some additional minutes as well. Although Stephenson, Henderson, and Gary Neal will all be competing for minutes at the shooting guard spot, Hairston’s ability to spread the floor should get him some time.Vonleh’s minutes on the other hand will be few and far between. He will be positioned squarely behind Marvin Williams and Cody Zeller, and may only really receive spot minutes, especially early on. Much of Vonleh’s growth this season will come on the practice court, and I wouldn’t expect too much on-court action from the forward.

3. The Hornets have been extremely active this offseason. There has been a lot of player movement and changes. Although it is still early, take a stab at predicting what the Hornets’ starting 5/rotation will look like for the upcoming season.

Doug:  I’m shaving with Occam’s disposable razor and going with what seems the simplest solution here: Kemba, Lance, MKG, Williams & Jefferson. Hendo is first off the bench followed by Roberts, Zeller and Taylor and Biyombo in the second unit. Vonleh and Hairston see limited minutes. Pargo and Neal become utility players. ALTHOUGH, if Taylor shows a slow recovery from his injury, slide Neal comfortably back into this rotation.

Spencer: My best guess: PG – Kemba Walker, SG – Lance Stephenson, SF – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, PF – Marvin Williams, C – Al Jefferson. 6th man: Gerald Henderson/Gary Neal.

Michael:  Things could certainly change between now and opening night, but as it seems, the Hornets’ starting lineup in pretty straightforward. You have Walker at point guard, new addition Lance Stephenson at the shooting guard spot, and Kidd-Gilchrist will again get an opportunity at the small forward spot. In the frontcourt, Marvin Williams will play power forward alongside Big Al Jefferson. Gerald Henderson will be the first off of the bench, with Zeller/Biyombo providing front court fortification off of the bench.