Scott: Wright eager to play in summer league

Saturday, June 20, 2009
By: Jim Eichenhofer,

Julian Wright is expected to suit up for New Orleans’ summer-league team in July, said head coach Byron Scott this week. The 6-foot-8 forward, who will be playing in Las Vegas for the third straight year, hopes to deliver better results than those he produced in 2008, when he experienced a frustrating trip to Nevada.

Wright averaged 11.0 points and 5.2 rebounds over last year’s six Hornets summer games, shooting just 32.9 percent from the field and coughing up 4.7 turnovers per game. Handling the ball much more frequently than he had during his rookie NBA season, the Kansas product had an 11-turnover outing vs. Memphis in the league opener.

“When I talked to Julian, he said he was definitely playing in summer league again,” Scott said. “It was a different attitude (from Wright) than it was last year. In my mind, I think he thought that him playing in the summer league (in 2008) was like punishment. This year, he was like, ‘Coach, I’m ready for the summer league.’ It was a different attitude, and as his coach it was something that I really enjoyed hearing.

“I told him, ‘I love the fact that you want to play in summer league, want to do well and work on some of the things we’ve been talking about.’ I think he’s coming in with the right attitude. I think his purpose of going to summer league is to get better as a basketball player and that’s what it’s all about.”

Wright would be joined by the Hornets’ 2009 first-round pick from Thursday’s draft, along with the usual assortment of free agents who are trying to find a job in the NBA, D-League or overseas. New Orleans’ roster will be announced in the days prior to the opening of NBA Summer League, slated for July 10-19. The Hornets’ Las Vegas schedule is expected to be released as early as Monday.

Scott said perimeter and mid-range shooting are among the areas Wright will focus on improving during his offseason regimen.

“We’ve talked about an assortment of things,” Scott said of the 22-year-old. “We want him to work on his shot, including working on catching and shooting, shooting off the dribble.

“Also his post-up game, because he is so good in the post, shooting with either hand. There are a number of things for him to do to get ready for next season.”