Summer League is a time for teams to take stock of their younger talent, evaluate potential low rung free agents, and gain coaching experience for their assistants. This year the Hornets are primed to do each of those things according to their announced Summer League roster.
First there is the coach. Former Knicks great Patrick Ewing will be at the helm of the Summer League team this year. Ewing has been an assistant in the league since the end of his playing days and would like to raise his profile. His ultimate desire is to become a head coach in the NBA, and he was disappointed when the New York Knicks ignored him to pursue Steve Kerr and Derek Fisher this off-season.
The three headliners for the Hornets are second year man Cody Zeller, rookie forward Noah Vonleh, and rookie shooting guard PJ Hairston. Each has something that the Hornets would like to see. The Hornets are hoping Zeller will show growth in his game. From Vonleh, the Hornets are looking to see how he handles the power forward position. They will also be looking for how Zeller and Vonleh play off of one another on both ends of the floor.
Hairston’s job will be the easiest of the three. He simply needs to provide the shooting that he was drafted for and show that his athleticism can be used on the defensive end. His greatest test will come off the court where his every move will likely be followed.
Of the other members of the Summer League roster, the most intriguing local interest guy is DeMon Brooks, who spent four years at Davidson after playing his high school ball at Hopewell in Charlotte. Brooks, who is 6’7” 223 lbs, played down low for Davidson. To make the Hornets, Brooks will have to demonstrate that he can play on the wing. If he can he could offer another potential wing defender to the Clifford mix.
The Hornets Summer League season starts July 11 against Golden State in Las Vegas and the Hornets games on July 13 + 14 against the Kings and Knicks will be on NBATV.