The Hornets have done a really great job in recent years putting information that's actually useful on the team website. So when the Hornets' media staff visited optional team workouts for interviews, they got some good clips. All of these interviews are available over on the official Hornets site, and we'll link each one so you can access them directly. Only Noah Vonleh (dealing with an injury) and Jeff Taylor (with family) missed the first part of workouts.
I'll be straight with you, there are some clichés and a lot of formal interview speak, so not every video will keep you captivated the whole time. Each one is about three minutes or so and you can certainly view them in one sitting. However, if you've only got limited time on your hands or your data plan is maxed out, check out some of the highlights below. And look into a shared data plan or something. There are some decent plans out there.
If you only have time to watch one of these, Biyombo might be your best choice. You don't get a whole lot of Biyombo interviews during the season, and certainly not from anyone other than the Hornets' official site. But Biyombo is one of the more interesting players you'll ever read about, or, I guess, that you'll never read about.
We all know how hard Biyombo has worked since he came into the league. The team has always raved about his willingness to work and his desire to get better. If you're a fan of the Hornets, basketball, and good people, you can't help but pull for Biyombo.
And this offseason he's hit all the right points to work on his game. He mentions the he's worked with "Patrick" (going to assume that's legendary big man and assistant coach Patrick Ewing and it's so awesome he calls him "Patrick") working on post moves, his jumper, free throws, and watching tape on how to get better rebounding positioning. Also, he's working on learning to protect the paint even better. I think that just about covers your wish list, no?
Biyombo also calls Al a big brother, and speaks a little about how much he's taught him. But the best thing about Biyombo's interview is the retelling of his summer travels when he want back to his home in the Democratic Republic of Congo and put on two camps where he worked with kids. Some of these kids had never owned a new pair of shoes and thanks to Biyombo, and generous help from Jordan Brand, they did. That's something you probably didn't hear a lot about, but it's a pretty cool thing for an NBA player to do on his summer break.
An awesome few minutes from Biz. Well worth the look.
Taylor was one of the two Hornets not in attendance for most of the optional workouts, as he was spending time with his family in Sweden. However, he gives a good update on his comeback from injury last year. After his achilles kept him out most of last year, Taylor is almost back to full strength. Although he has no pain in his achilles (that is good), he's still trying to get all the strength back in legs. The recovery requires three to four months with no weight on the leg, so he spent much of that time adding bulk in his upper body -- to the point where he was a little too heavy at the beginning of the summer.
Taylor says he can still jump really high but can still feel the difference that most may not be able to see. He actually says he can still fly which is REALLY impressive.
Roberts was a New Orleans Hornet, a New Orleans Pelican, and is now a Charlotte Hornet. Now that he's in Charlotte, his main focus is to be able to add to the mix and he's glad to see so many guys turn out. It will only help the team gel faster.
Stephenson is ready to go. When asked if he has a chip on his shoulder from last year's All-Star snub, he says he always has a chip on his shoulder. Lance is excited to be in Charlotte and is working on his body and conditioning, his jumper, improving his defense and being more consistent. All very good things.
Kemba...ooohhhhh Kemba. Walker is so good, his interview is actually a two-parter. Great leadership. Much like everyone else, Walker is excited about the great turnout and the addition of Lance. Walker and Stephenson grew up playing each other and Walker never beat Lincoln High School, Stephenson's team.
Walker laments the value of the other new additions as well, Marvin Williams and Roberts, and also says he is obviously excited to have the Hornets brand back in Charlotte. But he admits that he still calls the team by its former name at times. Stars, they're just like us!
If you watch two videos, make sure one of them is Al Jefferson. Jefferson's voice, personality and candidness make him a go to for microphones. The best part of this particular interview is Jefferson describing his reaction to the signing of Stephenson. He also says that Jordan told him he was committed to turning around the franchise, and that the signing of Lance showed that he meant it. That has to be music to Hornets fans ears.
On the injury front, Jefferson says he's good to go. The foot issues that plagued him during last year's playoffs have no lingering effects and he's entering his 11th year in good shape and is ready to go.
It's also interesting to note that Jefferson says he's even more motivated to improve his defense after he helped the team be the 6th best defensive unit in the league. He also jokes about getting head coach Steve Clifford to let him shoot threes. It's a Big Al interview, it's so good.
Neal's best line, "Your basketball game is like the bank, you can't be in game 42 and expect to make shots if you didn’t deposit anything in the off season." BOOM.