Summer League interview: Bobby Brown

Saturday, July 19, 2008
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

Hornets summer-league point guard Bobby Brown sat down to chat with me on the team bus heading over to New Orleans' scrimmage today. The 10-minute interview is available in Hornets.com’s audio section. Brown discusses his performance in Las Vegas; the reason he ended up at small-school Cal State Fullerton and why he chose to stay there despite offers to transfer; his 2007-08 experiences playing overseas in Germany; and what he is focusing on in his bid to earn a spot on an NBA roster this fall.



Julian Wright Q&A


Entering his second year in the NBA, expectations have increased for Hornets 2007 lottery pick Julian Wright. The 6-foot-8 small forward played sporadically over the first four months of the regular season, before moving into the rotation in early March and staying there during the NBA playoffs.
New Orleans coaches have moved Wright into a “point forward” role during summer league, utilizing him more frequently as a playmaker. It’s a role that Wright says he hasn’t filled since his senior year in high school. So far the results haven’t been great, with the 20-year-old admitting to being frustrated by his performance in Las Vegas. He has averaged 6.5 turnovers over the first four games.
Wright discussed NBA Summer League and what he’s working on this offseason in an interview Friday after the team’s scrimmage at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.

Hornets.com: It’s been a couple months since your rookie season ended in May. Now that you’ve had some time to reflect, what is your assessment of your debut in the NBA?
Wright: It was an adventure, but it was helpful to me as a player. I went in not knowing anything and trying to figure what it’s about and how to be effective at the NBA level. I went through a lot of speed bumps trying to get acclimated. I was trying to do too much at times. I sat (on the bench) quite a lot at midseason. That was something that helped me slow down and see what I should be doing to contribute.
Defense was the first thing I focused on. I tried to ask a lot of questions of the veterans and the coaches to see if I could help the team more at that end. Eventually that got me on the court. Then, getting to play with Chris Paul, he gave me more confidence. I tried to play with more confidence offensively and tried to knock down shots when I was open. Going into next year, hopefully that’s something that I am going to take with me, and that will allow me to finish plays for him.

Hornets.com: How much more confidence do you have after getting to contribute so much more in the last two months of the season, starting in March?
Wright: I gained a lot of confidence. I know what’s at stake. We tasted a little bit of success, but we’re not satisfied. I’m going to work my butt off again. For me to be in the rotation (at the start of the season), I feel like it’s going to be an advantage to the team, that I already got my feet wet. I have an edge compared to last year in that I have a better understanding of the game.

Hornets.com: Byron Scott mentioned recently that one of your goals in 2008-09 is for you to average at least 20 minutes a game. What are some of your personal goals for next season?
Wright: (Twenty minutes per game) is one goal. Also I want to be on the sophomore team at the rookie game (during 2009 All-Star Weekend). But if the team wins, I know I will get recognition, so I’m not going to be worried about it when I’m out there playing. They usually pick guys from successful teams.
I just want to get better every day and help the team win. We have a very team-oriented nucleus of guys, and it’s all about the team at the end of the day.

Hornets.com: People may not know this, but before the All-Star break last season, the team was putting together video to try to get you into the dunk contest. Is that something you’d like to be a part of next February?
Wright: Yes. I think my resume started in March and will go through the middle of next season. Hopefully I will have some more game dunks by then that will solidify my chances. But I do have some stuff up my sleeve (if selected for the dunk contest). I would definitely have the adrenaline pumping if I was in it.

Hornets.com: What have you been working on in your game during summer league and the offseason?
Wright: I’ve been working on my catch-and-shoot game, as well as my dribble-and-shoot (moves). Right now in summer league, they have me with the ball in my hands a lot, but it’s been a little frustrating. Eventually I’m going to have to become better as a decision-maker. I want to improve my decision-making and handling of the ball. It’s tough because I haven’t had to do this since I was in high school. I’m trying to get more familiar with having the ball in my hands. I’m also going to be lifting weights a lot over the rest of the summer.

Hornets.com: Are you looking forward to not having to go through rookie hazing anymore? They had you and Adam Haluska carrying around pink backpacks and pushing baby strollers around the New Orleans Arena last season.
Wright: Well, if we don’t get a rookie, some teams make you do some of the stuff again (in your second season).

Hornets.com: They can’t do that to you, can they?
Wright: I don’t know. All I know is that I’m still a rookie until the first preseason game. During training camp, they’re still going to be doing stuff to me. [grins] It will be interesting to see how it works out, if I’m still the youngest guy on the team.

Hornets.com: Although the players liked to give you a hard time as a rookie, they were also very supportive and excited when you did well late in the season. Who were some of the Hornets who helped you adjust to the league as a rookie?
Wright: Everyone comes to mind, which is almost unheard of, for a rookie to get that much support. Tyson (Chandler) was one of them, Chris (Paul) definitely and Melvin (Ely) took me under his wing a little bit. They helped keep me focused – they always kept tellling me it was a long season – especially when I wasn’t playing.
I attribute a lot of me staying positive and working hard to them. Also Morris Peterson helped me a lot. It’s something that I will remember when I become a seasoned veteran.

Hornets.com: Lastly, what is your impression of Bobby Brown, one of the best stories from summer league so far?
Wright: We’ve all been impressed. He came in oozing with confidence. He goes out there and doesn’t force anything. He lets the game come to him and runs the team well. He picked up the offense probably quicker than anyone here who wasn’t on the (Hornets regular-season roster) last season. That helps to be a quick learner. That’s what you need out of a point guard who has the ball in his hands a lot. He plays hard and is definitely doing well for himself.



Charlie Parker summer league update in audio section


We're in Las Vegas now and spending a lot of time with the team. Right now the players are warming up on the Thomas & Mack Center floor, along with players from the Milwaukee Bucks and Portland Trail Blazers. They'll be scrimmaging against the Bucks and Blazers over the next hour-plus.
Hornets assistant coach Charlie Parker, who is the head coach of the summer squad, chatted with me after Thursday's OT win vs. the Clippers. Parker provides an update on Bobby Brown, Julian Wright and Hilton Armstrong.