The Hornets got summer league action started today versus the Memphis Grizzlies. I caught NBA.com's (highly grainy) footage of the game. Some assorted thoughts:
- I made a note to watch Hilton closely. Byron Scott apparently told him that with his talent, he should "dominate the summer league."
- Pretty large crowd. All the sideline rows I could see (10 or so) looked full.
- Most of that, I'm sure, had to do with the presence of one Ovington J'Anthony Mayo. Other notable Grizzlies: Mike Conley Jr., and Hornets' 27th pick Darrell Arthur.
- For the Hornets, Adam Haluska and Julian Wright were the two other notables.
- Very slow start for New Orleans, with the Grizzlies taking an early 11-1 lead. Adam Haluska had quite a few open looks that he passed up. He did convert a nice three-point play.
- These dudes looked downright scared to shoot threes. If only some team had thought to invite Antoine Walker to summer league.
- Some of the guys were just horrible. The Hornets #5 (haven't looked him up yet) dribbled off his foot and lost the ball out of bounds because of a little ball pressure from Mayo. Turnovers all over the place in general.
- One of the very cool things about summer league- you can hear the players talking to each other. So you can "see" plays developing before they happen, etc.
- Hilton Armstrong was all over the place, snatching boards, pushing off guys on the offensive glass, contesting shots. The Hornets even used him as a "point center" for one stretch, giving him the ball top of the key. Still, there was excessive, unfocused motion throughout. A moving screen, a loose ball foul, losing the ball on a drive. You could tell through video that Armstrong was much better than any of the other Vegas players. It's hard to tell that from the stat-sheet though. Simply put, his skill/effort didn't translate into great numbers.
- I should probably mention that the refs avoided foul calls like the plague. Hilton got smashed on at least 5 FGA with no call. So his numbers would have been better in "real life."
- A funny sequence in the 2nd quarter: O.J. Mayo appointed himself the official full-court press guy. He gave three different Hornet ball-handlers some problems bringing it up. Next play, JuJu gets a defensive board, starts up court. Mayo sprints over from half-court to pressure him. If he's successfully pressed three guards, what's a forward, right? Wright jukes, crosses left, goes behind the back right, leaving O.J. standing flat-footed at half court.
- Fouls! These Vegas Leaguers hack like crazy! Hilton Armstrong may have finished with 9 fouls, but he was one of the more mild-mannered at the beginning. As he kept getting hacked with no result, he turned up the juice on the other end.
- Darrell Arthur "led" Memphis with 9 fouls. There were a total of 56 foul calls. And that's with a ton of missed and no calls.
- The #5 that I bashed earlier hit a couple of threes with pretty smooth-looking release. Name still unknown however.
- Darrell Arthur- don't make too much of his 18 points. Most were on really easy buckets, near the hoop, or off good assists. Didn't see much that makes me regret our trade with Portland.
- OJ Mayo- I wasn't his biggest fan in college. I thought he was overhyped for sure. If anything, though, the dude is as smooth as they come. Everything he does happens in one fluid motion. Just poking around the internet, I've seen a couple sites raving about his slam on Hilton. Unfortunately (fortunately?) my internet died for a few minutes and I missed the dunk.
- And lastly, Julian Wright- if it's any consolation, it didn't seem like JuJu had 11 turnovers or 13 missed shots. Some of that has to be due to the fact that I didn't know who 80% of the players were 90% of the time. But he was definitely trying to be flashier than normal with no-looks, behind-the-backs, wrap-arounds, etc. For example, on the play I mentioned earlier (where he crossed Mayo), he finished by driving to the hoop. He had a point blank look at the rim. Instead of taking the layup, he spun, and tossed a no-look over the shoulder pass to the other team.
Make sure to check out mW's Game 1 recap at HornetsHype. It's, uh, slightly more insightful/extremely less rambling than this one. He even figured out who #5 is!
Here's a real fun stat to end things: guess how many victories the Hornets have in summer league play in their last 16 games (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)?
One! That's right. We're 1-15 since '05. 2005 we went 0-5, 2006 1-4, 2007 0-5, and we're 0-1 this year. I'm kind of hoping we go 0-5 again just to keep up the streak..