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The 2017 Hornets Orlando Summer League primer

Profiling the starters, the bench, and what to watch for.

NBA: Summer League-Final-Phoenix Suns at San Antonio Spurs Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The 2017 Orlando Summer League starts Saturday, July 1st, and your future 2017-18 NBA, err, Summer League, err, Champions of our Hearts Charlotte Hornets will kick things off at 11 a.m. against the Miami Heat.

The bad news is we almost certainly won’t get to see Malik Monk, who is recovering from a sprained left ankle he injured in a pre-draft workout. But don’t fret, because there are 14 other players on the roster, and you’re about to get a profile on each of them.

There will be no speculating as to who will start, as the Charlotte Hornets Rick Bonnell tweeted out Thursday who the starting five will be, per assistant coach Paul Silas:

Four of the five starters are current members of the Hornets roster. There’s experience and a bit of talent with this five, which makes for intriguing viewing. There are storylines to watch, but before we get there, let’s breakdown the roster.

The starters

Briante Weber - Weber was signed for the rest of the season after impressing during two, 10-day contracts last spring. With Ramon Sessions out, he took over as backup point guard for a spell and had moderate success in the role until Brian Roberts took the spot back at the end of the season.

Dwayne Bacon - The Hornets 2nd round pick, he was the leading scorer at Florida State as a sophomore last season. He has a good mid-range game, but will need to develop his 3-point shot.

Treveon Graham - A “3-and-D” type, Graham played 27 games last season, starting in one. He only averaged 2.1 points per game, but shot 60 percent from beyond the arc in the limited attempts he took.

Anthony Gill - A senior forward out of Virginia, Gill averaged 13.8 points and 6.1 rebounds per game last season. He attended Charlotte Christian high school, where both Stephen Curry and Seth Curry attended.

Johnny O’Bryant III - Originally drafted 36th overall in the 2014 draft by Milwaukee, O’Bryant spent two seasons with the Bucks before being waived. After a short stint with Denver, Charlotte picked him up mid-season where he had a break out game with 15 points and 6 rebounds on March 4th against the Nuggets.

While Gill and O’Bryant don’t make for a overtly tall frontcourt, the trio of Weber, Bacon, and Graham offer a lot of size and length in the backcourt, which should help on the defensive end, as many among the group can defend multiple positions.

Don’t expect a lot of outside shooting, however, as Graham is the only one to shoot a high percentage from the perimeter last season, and as stated, he didn’t take many. Given their size, expect a lot of dribble penetration and runs to the rim.

The bench

Tyrell Corbin - He’s the son of NBA assistant coach Tyrone Corbin, who had a stint as head coach of the Utah Jazz. The 6’0 point guard didn’t produce eye-popping numbers in college, but enjoyed a successful stint playing professionally in Mongolia, where he averaged 24.9 points and 2.9 steals per game, was named to the league’s All-Star game, and lead his team to the league championship before losing.

Kris Joseph - Drafted 51st overall in the 2012 draft, Joseph is the older cousin of Toronto Raptor’s guard Corey Joseph. He bounced back and forth between the NBA and D-League at first, then played professionally in France for a few years before playing in Italy this past season. At 6’7, Joseph recently stated he is a much smarter player, and a better shooter than he was during his first stint in the league.

Przemek Karnowski - The 7’2 center from Gonzaga is easily recognizable due to his size and distinctive beard. He averaged 12.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per game staring for the Zags his senior season, playing a prominent role for the national champion runners-up. He worked out for the Hornets pre-draft. In a recent profile with the Charlotte Observer, Silas stated Karnowski does a good job of anticipating what the opposing offensive is going to do, which makes up for any lack of quickness.

Mangok Mathiang - Hailing for Austrailia, Mathiang played four seasons at Louisville. Averaging modest numbers in four seasons, Mathiang does provide great size at 6’10, 230 lbs.

Malik Monk - The Hornets 11th overall pick in last week’s draft, our only glimpses of him in Orlando will come from the sideline. Fortunately, he should be ready for training camp.

Quinton Stephens - He played four seasons at Georgia Tech, and averaged 10.4 points and 7.4 rebounds this past season. Like Karnowski, he worked out for the Hornets prior to the draft.

Rasheed Sulaimon - He spent last season with the Greensboro Swarm, but never received a call up. He played 49 games for the Swarm last season, starting in 34, and averaged 13.4 points, 3.2 assists, and 3.9 rebounds per game, shooting 43.8 percent from the field and 35.2 percent from the 3-point line. Standing 6’4, he should see minutes at shooting guard.

Tai Webster - A native of New Zealand, the 6’4 Webster played four seasons at Nebraska, and averaged 17 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game. He’s somewhat of a hot commodity this summer, as he’ll be joining the Golden State Warriors summer league team in Las Vegas following his stint with the Hornets.

Devin Williams - Williams also spent last season with the Swarm, but only appeared in eight games. The 6-9 forward went undrafted last season after three years at West Virginia, where he averaged 13.3 points and 9.5 rebounds his junior season.

Gabe York - York appeared on last summer’s Hornets OSL roster, appear in five games at point guard. He spent last season playing for the Erie Bayhawks in the D-League (should I call it G-League now?), averaging 15.8 points, 3.7 assists, and 4.2 rebounds per game, playing in 44 games and starting 35.

A few things stand out with this roster. For one, most of the roster is made up for players who spent four seasons in college before turning pro, which makes it an older group of players (Monk is the only player on the roster under the age of 21). Like the staring unit, the rest of the roster lacks 3-point shooting, but has size at each position. A lack of shooting could make for a less aesthetically pleasing style of play, but if the team opts for a Grizzles grit-and-grind style, I won’t be totally against it.

What to watch for

The trio from last season. Weber, Graham, and O’Bryant each showed flashes of potential, and each have a chance to make next season’s roster. A good summer league showing could help their case. Weber needs to show he can organize the offense and improve his outside shooting, while Graham needs to solidify his role as a 3-and-D foward. For O’Bryant, it’s continuing to show a soft touch from mid-range, where he excelled against Denver during his 15 point outing last March.

Our first look at Bacon. We’ve watched highlights from college, but this will be our first glimpse of Bacon playing for the Hornets. Expect a game reliant on strength and size, but look for how he shoots from the outside, and how he performs at different positions, as the staff mentioned he would see time at the 3 and 4 positions.

Who among the invites steps up. It’s hard to gauge who will perform well during Summer League since so little is known about the majority of these guys. Karnowski is easily the most recognizable name of the group, and there’s a solid chance he could shine in the league due to his size and awareness. But don’t get transfixed on the notable names; often who gets training camp invites are players who show the team they can perform the role asked of them, and sometimes it can go un-noticed in the games.

The Schedule

Below is the list of dates the team will be performing, per the team:

  • July 1st vs. Miami - 11 a.m.
  • July 2nd vs. Indiana - 5 p.m.
  • July 4th vs. Oklahoma - 1 p.m.
  • July 5th vs. Detroit - 3 p.m.
  • July 6th - TBD

It looks like all the games will be broadcasted on NBA TV, which will make it tough for cord cutters to watch live. If anyone has any (legal) options for streaming online, pass them on below.