NBA Summer League: Grizzlies 88, Hornets 75

Friday, July 11, 2008
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

The outcome of New Orleans’ ongoing pursuit of targeted free agents remains to be seen, but regardless of how that plays out, the success of the bench next season will depend greatly on improvements made this offseason by Hilton Armstrong and Julian Wright. Armstrong did not progress significantly in the second year of his NBA career after being the No. 12 overall pick of the 2006 draft. Meanwhile, the Hornets are hopeful that Wright can build off an impressive final two months of his rookie season.
Both Hornets veterans were aggressive in Friday’s NBA Summer League opener vs. Memphis, but neither turned in a great individual performance. New Orleans fell behind 11-1 in the first 3:42 of the game and never dug out of its early hole.

A few notes from Las Vegas:
* Armstrong finished with team-highs of 13 points and nine rebounds, but was only 3-for-9 from the field. Rebounding is an area where the coaches believe Armstrong must show improvement, so his work Friday was a plus. In one of the numbers in the box score that you’ll only see in summer league, Armstrong had – count ’em – nine fouls. You don't foul out in summer league until you get whistled for 10 personals.
* Wright was sloppy, racking up a whopping 11 turnovers in 33 minutes of action. He went 4-for-17 from the field for 12 points.
* Point guard Bobby Brown was the third Hornet in double-digit scoring, with 11 points. The quick Cal State-Fullerton product ran the offense effectively at times, netting five assists.
* The opening few minutes were very summer league-like for New Orleans. The Hornets had seven turnovers and were 5-for-15 shooting in the first quarter. For the game, New Orleans shot 35.9 percent and coughed up 25 turnovers.
* It’s not hard to be heard in the Cox Pavilion during summer league. Though there was a pretty nice crowd on hand for Day 1 of the league, fans are usually very laidback. While Memphis lottery pick O.J. Mayo shot free throws early in the second quarter, one fan yelled “Over-rated!” loud enough so that everyone could hear it. Mayo was impressive at times, especially on a highlight-reel breakaway dunk, finishing with 15 points. He also was turnover-prone, totaling eight miscues.
* The Grizzlies have a pretty intriguing collection of players on their squad. A lottery pick like Mayo, Mike Conley played well, as did 2008 first-round choice Darrell Arthur and 2007 Lakers first-rounder Javaris Crittenton. All four Grizzlies reached double figures in scoring.



Blog, fans prominent in commemorative magazine


Along with providing content for Hornets.com, my job with the Hornets also includes helping produce our free game programs, known as "GameTime," as well as the team's official magazine, called "Hornets Magazine."
When we were reviewing ideas for a special-edition Hornets Magazine to commemorate the team’s memorable 2007-08 season, I thought it would be ideal if we could acknowledge this blog in some way. After all, our playoff theme was "Fan Up New Orleans," and a significant portion of our efforts this year have gone toward incorporating Hornets fans into what we do as an organization.
The result is a wrap-up issue of Hornets Magazine that includes many of the biggest highlights from the best year in franchise history. It is titled, “History in the Hive: A look back at the Hornets’ memorable 2007-08 season."
Each page/moment includes a postgame comment taken directly from this blog, or a comment made to us by a Hornets season ticket holder. These frequent blog participants and their quotes appear in the issue: Michael Torres, Jono, D.J., Hungry4wins, Antoine, At The Hive, Vilmar, Kamo, Robert Milam and MW. In addition, comments by Hornets season ticket holders Apple Lane and Bobby Segal appear within the pages.
Basically, we selected roughly 20 games/moments from the season that were memorable for one reason or another, such as Opening Night, the All-Star Game, Byron Scott’s selection as Coach of the Year, the playoff-series victory over Dallas and so forth.
Congratulations to those of you whose comments appear in the issue. On behalf of the Hornets, I would like to extend our thanks for your contributions and feedback to this blog since its inception in October 2007. We’re pleased to be able to recognize you in this commemorative issue of Hornets Magazine, which is being mailed to all 2007-08 season ticket holders.