As Jonathan stated in the first Vegas Hornets game recap, getting the win is not the ultimate goal in Summer League games; as long as players are showing flashes and developing within the system, you’ve won. To sum up the Hornets-Kings game, though, we only need one word; ugly. Charlotte turned the ball over an astounding 22 times in 40 minutes, and even though there were only a few Hornets who played “well,” they still only lost by 10 because the Kings turned it over 17 times themselves.
To keep it consistent, here’s a bulleted list of takeaways from the second game in Vegas:
- James Bouknight shot poorly (4-11 FG, 1-5 3P) and had five turnovers while being absolutely hounded by Davion Mitchell, but again, he had some really impressive flashes. He seems to be a better ball-handler and passer than he was able to show at UConn, and the finishing has already translated.
Best possession of the night for James Bouknight vs. Mitchell -- gets to his combo moves off the handle and around Mitchell, then the body control to finish through contact at the rim pic.twitter.com/S8FPaPkoTU— Brian Geisinger (@bgeis_bird) August 10, 2021
- No highlight-reel plays for Kai Jones tonight, but like Bouknight he’s shown much better passing and vision than we ever saw from him in college; Jones had four assists against Sacramento after recording 16 assists over his entire sophomore season at Texas. Sometimes he looks incredible, and sometimes his relative lack of organized basketball experience shows itself.
- Arnoldas Kulboka was probably the “best” Hornet in this game, though nobody played particularly well. He had 13 points on 3-7 from behind the arc and the defensive miscues or instances of him getting blown by in space were slightly less frequent. Kulboka has a ways to go defensively, but his size and shooting could prove useful if the Hornets get bit by the injury bug like they did last season.
- DJ Carton was much better than he was in the opener, tying Kulboka for a team-high 13 points. He’s a really athletic lead guard that can get into the paint (7-9 FT against the Kings) and cause problems for opposing guards at the point of attack. His feel and decision-making aren't there yet, but I’ve already seen enough to say he’s worth an Exhibit 10 spot in Greensboro.
- LiAngelo Ball played another solid game, going for 10 points and five boards. Only one of his four 3-point attempts went down, but he’s more competent defensively than expected and seems to have improved his lateral quickness since high school and the Prienai days.
- Vernon Carey Jr. sat this game out, so look for Nick Richards to potentially sit out the next game so the second-year bigs can establish more rhythm on the floor during games. Neither of the two have impressed much since being drafted, but they’ve been put in a difficult situation by the organization for much of that time.
- JT Thor made his Summer League debut, scoring five points and nabbing two steals in just over 12 minutes. There wasn’t much to glean from his performance, but just looking at the way he moves on the court at his size, it makes sense why the Hornets drafted him.
- Grant Riller struggled mightily shooting the ball, going 1-9 from the field. He’s regained his athletic form after a lingering knee injury hindered him last season, but now the layup artistry seems to have abandoned him. If he can put it all together in one game consistently, Riller will be an NBA player, but unfortunately that hasn’t happened yet despite him flashing the talent.