Another game, another trainwreck. The Charlotte Hornets at least switched it up a little bit by waiting until the second half to completely fall apart.
A somewhat ugly but even first half gave way to a third quarter ice age. The Hornets went almost six-and-a-half minutes without a field goal in the latter portions of the third as their deficit ballooned from seven to 22 points. The guards again dominated the shot attempts while second overall pick Brandon Miller was largely invisible. Meanwhile the defense was scattered again, particularly in the second half where the Warriors were able to get a bunch of open looks from three.
Brandon Miller led the team with seven assists. There were a lot of things he didn’t do well, but he facilitated the offense well and seems almost out of place with his willingness to defer to his teammates. With the rest of the guard play on this summer league roster, Miller’s play making is a welcome sight.
Kai Jones bounced back a bit with 12 points, 4 steals, and 2 blocks. You’d like to see him be more assertive on the glass, but he played well in other areas. That’s the kind of disruptive defense he should aim for every game.
Amari Bailey was much improved for the first game, scoring 17 points on just 9 shots. His plus-minus of +17 was far and away the best on the team.
The guard play was painful to watch once again. Nick Smith Jr. ended up with a decent stat line, but he shot a season’s worth of 20+ foot pull-up jumpers. It worked okay in this game, but it’s not a formula for consistent success. Other guards James Bouknight, Bryce McGowens, and Justin Robinson combined to shoot 9-of-31 from the field with three assists to seven turnovers.
Brandon Miller did not show up. Part of that was the aforementioned guard play, but he needs to assert himself on the game more. He only attempted four shots in 28 minutes and committed another eight fouls. Hopefully he shows a lot more in Vegas.
The Hornets pack up and head to Vegas for the NBA 2K24 Las Vegas Summer League. Their first game is a rematch against the Spurs, this time with Victor Wembanyama, on Friday night.