The Hornets‘ poor play was one of the worst parts of Las Vegas Summer League, writes John Hollinger of The Athletic.
Despite having eight players on the roster attending (and a ninth, James Nnaji, as one of a handful of remaining unsigned draft picks), Charlotte went 1-6 and was minus-55 overall. No one played particularly well, with Hollinger noting that the team may end up regretting not taking Scoot Henderson instead of Brandon Miller, if their brief Summer League performances were any indication.
Of more immediate concern for the Hornets are the fourth-year team option decisions on 2021 first-round picks James Bouknight and Kai Jones, which are due by late October. Neither looks like a sure bet to have his option picked up, as both players struggled in Vegas despite entering their third seasons, Hollinger adds. Bouknight’s option in 2024/25 is worth $6.1MM, while Jones’ is worth $4.7MM — not exactly team-friendly rates given they haven’t contributed much thus far.
Nnaji showed some defensive promise, but may be a draft-and-stash prospect while he develops his offensive game, says Hollinger.
Among the other players who struggled in Summer League were Pistons center James Wiseman (poor screening and defense), Nets first-rounder Noah Clowney (looked overmatched) and Lakers draft picks Jalen Hood-Schifino and Maxwell Lewis, according to Hollinger.
Here’s more from around the basketball world:
- On the other end of the spectrum, Hollinger also revealed his under-the-radar Summer League standouts for The Athletic, including Javon Freeman-Liberty, who just agreed to a two-way deal with the Raptors, and Cavaliers guards Sam Merrill and Craig Porter Jr., the latter of whom went undrafted and signed a two-way contract with Cleveland. Hollinger says he would have given Merrill, whose contract for next season is non-guaranteed, the Summer League MVP award over Cam Whitmore.
- Free agent guard Mac McClung, who finished last season on a two-way deal with the Sixers, tells Sean Deveney of Heavy.com he’s focused on making another NBA team, but he’s open to going to Europe if he can’t find a roster spot. “We’ll see,” McClung said. “I am in free agency right now, my agent is talking to some teams, back and forth. We’re just trying to evaluate what is the best situation for me. Hopefully, I will be in the NBA next year and finding my way.”
- Former NBA big man Donatas Motiejunas has signed a two-year extension with AS Monaco Basket, the team announced (via Twitter). Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews.com had the scoop on Motiejunas’ extension (Twitter link). The 32-year-old spent six seasons in the NBA, ending with a brief stint with San Antonio back in 2018/19. He was productive on a per-minute basis for Monaco, which won France’s LNB Pro A and finished third in the EuroLeague playoffs.
- In 2023/24, the NBA G League’s Winter Showcase event will be held in Orlando instead of Las Vegas, league sources tell Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The Showcase has been held Vegas for several years, but will be moving due to the NBA’s new in-season tournament, as the semifinals and final will be held in early December in Vegas.