Our first glimpse of the Hornets' newest draft picks was not a very heartening one. Power forward Noah Vonleh and shooting guard P.J. Hairston missed nearly each shot they took. The end result was a rather big loss as Charlotte couldn't pick up the scoring loss from their two best offensive players.
Let's begin with the most interesting part of the game, which is looking at why they struggled. Vonleh couldn't find his stroke on his jumper, though it looked like decent mechanics. He's no Ray Allen, but it should find net more than we saw. His footwork and ballhandling were rather solid from the post, but the shots had the wrong angles and clanked of the rim. The box score says he missed all 13 of his shots, but I know I saw him lay in an offensive putback. I'm betting they misrecorded it on the sheet. It was a rough night offensively for him, no doubt. His defense was OK, but he struggled at the beginning of the game against James McAdoo, who I noticed was able to dribble to the spot he wanted without trouble for a layup outside the restricted area on one shot. His fouls racked up, not that there's any risk of fouling out in Summer League.
Hairston was definitely showcased a shooter's conscience and short memory tonight despite a shooting performance that would make Byron Mullens blush. His shot just couldn't find a rhythm and found little besides iron as he shot 2-for-16 from the field, and 1-for-10 from three. He got plenty of looks including open catch-and-shoot opportunities, but it just wouldn't go down in any way. He did hit a little baseline runner, but his offense was the basketball equivalent of a car engine turning but not catching when you turn the key. His defense was pretty inconsistent, with mistakes here and there but some moments of fine close-outs and off-ball spacing. I don't think we expected that to be the better part of his game, however.
On the bright side, the Hornets were not without good spots. Josh Davis was everywhere. Everywhere. Davis gobbled almost every rebound he could get a finger on and did all the little things you like to see. He has good touch on his shots around the rim, too. His transition from a 6'7" power forward in college to small forward won't be easy, but it wouldn't surprise me to see him make a roster somewhere. He doesn't have a jump shot that I could see, but he's like a Kawhi Leonard-lite. It's very lite, and who knows how he'd be at the real NBA level. Still, he's fun to watch.
Mickey McConnell was also a good player for the Hornets, taking defenders off the ball with his quickness and showing terrific timing and instincts on defense. He hit his shots near the rim and some jumpers. McConnell and Davis were the only two Hornets who had above average offensive performances.
And nothing else really caught my eye. Rion Brown was certainly aggressive on offense. But, yeah, not a great showing from the team. The team's passing was poor early on, but improved some in the second half. Without good passing, Charlotte's offense was limited to whatever offensive sparks they could find. Little of their offense was organic.
But hey, do you remember who led the summer league in scoring last year? Dwight Buycks. Heck, it's one summer league game; let's give it some more time, eh? Sure, why not.