P.J. Hairston left the court, in the Charlotte Hornets third game of Orlando Summer League, with a contusion in his shoulder. That injury not only kept Hairston out for the rest of the game, but could very well keep him out for the rest of summer league. After all, Hairston is one of the Hornets guaranteed contracts, and there's no point risking further injury in games that largely don't matter.
Keeping Hairston healthy is obviously the Hornets number one priority, but it's not a fun ending to what has so far been an incredibly disappointing performance. This is a player with one year of experience under his belt, and with that comes an advantage over the typical summer league player. The rookies out of college are all playing 1000 miles per hour, and don't know how to let the game come to them. Hairston, with a full year of the NBA under his belt, should be eating these kids alive. Instead, he's the one being eaten.
To say Hairston has been struggling would put it mildly. His jumpshots are contested, drives to the basket result in a turnover, or missed layup, and worst of all he isn't producing. Some struggles, such as his surprisingly sub-par defense, can be explained away to a lack of system to benefit from. Perhaps if Hairston was on a team that's running him off screens, setting him up in the corner, and giving him a solid defensive system to fall back on then his struggles wouldn't be so highlighted. After all, it is just summer league, and what happens here means a whole lot of nothing when the games start to matter.
Yet, there is still a sense of worry that comes when watching Hairtston play. As someone that spent a year in the NBA, and a year in the D-League before that, it's very concerning that he can't seem to put together a decent game. Compare his numbers to that of Troy Daniels, and one would think Daniels was the first round draft pick while Hairston was a throw in during a mid-season trade.
Perhaps the expectations for Hairston were set too high. If he wasn't a first round draft pick with a guaranteed contract then his poor play in summer league would be getting largely overlooked. He'd be just another player out there. Instead, expectations have put him under a microscope and he's not stepping up to the task at hand.
P.J. Hairston's summer league is likely over due to injury, and Hornets fans can only hope that his play was not an indicator of the season ahead.