Matt Rochinski and Sam Perley of hornets.com will be following the Hornets throughout the 2017 NBA offseason and keeping fans up to date through the Buzz Words | Hornets Notebook. Keep checking back to see what the latest is as the season unfolds.
By Sam Perley, hornets.com | Monday, July 10, 1:16 p.m.
A busy, productive week for the Charlotte Hornets at the 2017 Orlando Pro Summer League is officially in the books with plenty of strong play and impressive performances in the rearview mirror. The team posted a 3-2 record and fifth-place finish on the week, results that although are important, aren’t necessarily the primary focus heading into the competition.
Thanks to injuries and personnel departures, the Charlotte Summer League roster featured just eight available players in its final two games. Limitations aside, the Hornets coaching staff and front office still had plenty to be pleased with over the course of the week-long stay in Orlando.
Charlotte’s brightest star was forward Treveon Graham, who finished the week ranked fourth in the tournament in scoring (17.7 points on 47.4 percent shooting), tied for second in rebounding (8.3) and fifth in steals (2.3). Graham, who made 27 regular season appearances for the Hornets last season, sat out the final two Summer League games for precautionary measures with left hamstring soreness.
Graham’s former college teammate, Briante Weber, also put together a strong week down in Orlando – particularly on the defensive side. The feisty, 6’2” point guard finished tied for first in the competition in steals (2.8) to go along with averages of 11.6 points on 42.3 percent shooting, 4.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists. Weber also showcased his leadership skills throughout the tournament, regularly organizing the team vocally on the court.
Forward Johnny O’Bryant took advantage of Graham’s absence in the final two contests of the week, putting up 26 and 23 points, respectively, for the Hornets. The former second-round pick finished the competition ranked ninth in overall scoring (16.4 points on 45.2 percent shooting), while also averaging 4.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game.
Perhaps the most pleasant surprise of the week for the Hornets was rookie Dwayne Bacon. After starting relatively slow, Bacon capped off his final game with a 29-point performance, the highest-scoring output by any Charlotte player during the week. The nearby Lakeland, FL, native, who recently inked his rookie NBA deal, finished his first Summer League with averages of 15.4 points on 41.8 percent shooting, 4.2 rebounds and 1.0 assist.
“We were really happy with the Summer League team,” stated Hornets General Manager Rich Cho last Friday morning. “Some of the guys we had before on our team last year like Briante, Johnny and Treveon, they all played well. [I] also felt Dwayne Bacon, as the week went on, he played really well. [I] thought he had his best game yesterday with 29 points and I thought he did a great job defensively as well.”
Graham, Weber and O’Bryant will all enter Hornets training camp on non-guaranteed deals, essentially meaning they can be waived if they don’t make the final roster without any financial obligations. It remains to be seen whether any other players on the team’s Summer League squad will find their way back to the organization by means of two-way contracts, camp invites or through the G-League’s Greensboro Swarm.
The completion of Summer League marks the final formalized team activities until the players reconvene in mid-September for the official start of training camp. The Hornets’ practice facilities certainly haven’t been quiet though as players have routinely been in all summer long and will get busier when newcomers Dwight Howard, Michael Carter-Williams, Malik Monk and Bacon officially get settled in the city.
Training camp is roughly eight weeks away and if the Hornets’ 2017-18 season is anything like how their summer has unfolded, the city of Charlotte is in store for some exciting times in the upcoming future.