One fun activity for diehard basketball fans consists of scanning the NBA Summer League rosters for familiar names. As you peruse the 24 lists this year, you’ll see plenty of former college stars who opted for a pro career overseas, as well as a few semi-forgotten ex-NBA draft picks whose names haven’t been mentioned in hoops conversation lately. It’s a pursuit that often leads you to say things like “Oh that’s right, I remember that guy in college” or “Wait, whatever happened to him?” There are also an ample amount of names unfamiliar to even the most avid aficionados of the sport.
On the other hand, when the 2012 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas commences on Friday, the New Orleans Hornets may have the most recognizable roster of any team. The Hornets will tip off their game participation in Nevada on Sunday, July 15, with a game against the Portland Trail Blazers (9:30 p.m. Central, broadcast live on NBA TV). Although his health status will determine the extent of his participation, No. 1 pick Anthony Davis (ankle) will join the Hornets during their weeklong trip to the desert. Davis will be joined by fellow New Orleans draft picks Austin Rivers and Darius Miller, who were selected 10th and 46th, respectively.
In addition to the three draftees – all of whom played for marquee college programs at Kentucky and Duke – there will be four Hornets veterans on the summer squad. It’s fairly unusual for an NBA team to send more than perhaps one or two players with significant regular-season experience to Las Vegas. However, between Xavier Henry (83 career NBA games), Lance Thomas (42), Darryl Watkins (14) and Jerome Dyson (9), the quartet has played in a total of 148 official NBA games. Henry logged a total of 759 minutes in the 2011-12 regular season for New Orleans; Thomas finished with 630. The power forward also started 10 games following the All-Star break.