NBA TV to air four Hornets summer league games

Tuesday, June 29, 2010
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

In several of the past few summer leagues, the Hornets have been near the bottom of the totem pole in terms of exposure, often getting perhaps one or two games televised by NBA TV. Things have changed drastically in 2010, however, with NBA TV opting to broadcast four of the team’s five games in Las Vegas. That’s the most summer league Hornets games the network has ever carried since it began broadcasting from Nevada in recent years.
You can watch every New Orleans game live on NBA.com via the website's summer league subscription package, including the fifth and final Hornets contest this year vs. Toronto.

HORNETS 2009 NBA SUMMER LEAGUE SCHEDULE
Friday, July 9, vs. Golden State, 7 p.m. (9 p.m. Central), NBA TV
Sunday, July 11, vs. Miami, 7 p.m. (9 p.m. Central), NBA TV
Tuesday, July 13, vs. Portland, 7 p.m. (9 p.m. Central), NBA TV
Friday, July 16, vs. Washington, 5 p.m. (7 p.m. Central), NBA TV
Saturday, July 17, vs. Toronto, 3:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m. Central)

A few other notes related to summer league:
• I’m heading to Las Vegas on July 7 to provide coverage of the Hornets in summer league, including interviews with players and coaches, as well as much more. I will also be tweeting from my account periodically (www.twitter.com/Jim_Eichenhofer).
• Six of the top eight overall 2010 draft picks will be playing in Las Vegas, including Washington’s John Wall, Minnesota’s Wes Johnson, Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins, Golden State’s Ekpe Udoh, Detroit’s Greg Monroe and the Clippers’ Al-Farouq Aminu.
• One of the highlights of game action could be July 16, when Darren Collison would square off against No. 1 overall pick Wall.



Twitter Feedback: Hornets offseason updat


This is the second installment of “Twitter Feedback,” a new Hornets.com feature in which beat writer Jim Eichenhofer responds to team-related questions sent to his Twitter page (www.twitter.com/Jim_Eichenhofer) in much greater detail (Part 1). Because let’s face it – sometimes 140 characters isn’t nearly enough.

From @ticktock6: Do the draft-night developments for the Hornets mean that the team will not be able to introduce new players at a press conference in New Orleans yet?
Yes, that’s exactly what it means. The team cannot comment on anything until July 8. In this case, since several of the primary people who would speak at a potential press conference (including Jeff Bower and Monty Williams) will be in Las Vegas due to summer league from July 5-18, it doesn’t make sense to hold any event that would be attended by New Orleans media before July 19. The odds are fairly decent that a press conference would occur on or around July 20.

Whenever possible, the Hornets try to hold their press conferences in conjunction with another New Orleans community event that they have already scheduled. There are multiple Hornets Summer Hoops Clinics for children in the New Orleans area slated for July 16-21, so it’s reasonable to expect a media gathering to be staged at one of those sites. Last June, on the day when Darren Collison and Marcus Thornton were brought to town and formally introduced, their joint press conference took place at a basketball clinic on the campus of the University of New Orleans.

From @oceanback: Chris Paul will be in town Saturday so that he can attend an event that unveils the new Jr. Hornets Bookmobile. Interesting timing?
I presume by “interesting timing” you mean that it coincides with the beginning of the NBA’s free-agency period (the moratorium is July 1-7)? Actually, the timing of Saturday’s Bookmobile event is due to the fact that Paul had planned for weeks in advance (perhaps months in advance?) that he’d be in New Orleans for the annual Essence Music Festival that takes place around the Fourth of July holiday here. He also attended last year, joined by friends Dwyane Wade and Rudy Gay.

Paul has been traveling quite a bit recently for some of his other obligations, including hosting a basketball camp for kids in his hometown of Winston-Salem, N.C., followed by a trip to Europe. Based on his often-busy itinerary, obviously it’s logical to schedule community events during portions of the calendar when it’s a certainty that he’ll be in town.

From @jiggemndaazz: How much say-so does Monty Williams have in who the Hornets pick in the draft?
NBA head coaches have varying degrees of input on draft night, depending partly on the franchise and the construction of a team’s front office. In Williams’ case, he said he’s more likely to take a secondary role during the final evaluation of college players, because it’s impossible for him to be as knowledgeable about prospects as other members of the front office who’ve spent the past year or two scouting potential draftees. “As an assistant and now a head coach, I’ve come to realize that the scouts and GMs have watched these (prospects) a ton more than I have,” Williams said.

One important element that scouts try to determine when they observe games in person – something that can’t always be detected from watching NCAA games on TV – is whether a player has a team-first attitude and gets along well with his coaches and teammates. His demeanor during games and the way he interacts with his coaches and teammates can indicate a lot about his maturity. Obviously, the Hornets had tremendous success in 2009 by picking two players who each had four years of college experience and seemed to quickly be able to handle the on- and off-court demands of the NBA. “I’ve watched (prospects) on Synergy (a video-scouting service) and watched them on DVD, but I don’t get to see guys on the bench, after the game, when they’re frustrated,” Williams described of his perspective. “For those things, you have to trust management (and what their in-person scouting has determined).”

From @oceanback: Can we expect changes in the assistant coaches?
Yes, there will be changes to the staff. As I’m sure many readers are aware, some media outlets have already reported a couple of the names. At the moment, the Hornets are tentatively planning to announce the names of Monty Williams’ assistant coaches tomorrow morning. The official announcement will likely take place at the Alario Center, followed by media availability with New Orleans reporters. It will be a chance for the local media to become better acquainted with the staff.

Williams stated when he was hired that his goal was to have his staff in place before the beginning of NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. Team personnel is departing for Las Vegas on July 5, with the team practicing at least once daily July 6-8, followed by the summer squad’s first game vs. the Golden State Warriors on July 9. Summer league will be an invaluable time for the coaching staff to get a feel for the capabilities of several of New Orleans’ young players.

Once again, from @oceanback: What is the latest on the sale?
Hornets president Hugh Weber provided an update last week during an interview on WIST 690 AM, saying that some of the delay can be attributed to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
“When this opportunity came up for Gary (Chouest) to have a larger role, obviously he wanted to be a part of it,” Weber said. “There have been things that have maybe slowed down the process – things like an international tragedy in the Gulf right now – because obviously Mr. Chouest has to focus on those things.”

Weber noted that he has heard concern from fans about the delay in the ownership transfer, but encouraged patience. “Candidly, we are getting things done,” Weber said. “Everyone out in the community has been a little bit more concerned about it than we have been. But I think you’ll continue to see progress and movement there. We’ll get something done that will be great for the community, great for the team and great for both families (of ownership).”