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2021 Summer League Blog - Vegas Moving Fast, Hornets Look to Keep Building

By Sam Farber | August 11 (8:30 PM)

Life in NBA Summer League moves faster than you think. Games and practices are faster than you think, a 24 second shot clock is faster than you think, four days and counting in Las Vegas is fa…. OK that actually feels a lot longer. But everything else moves fast. 

Things have been especially fast for the Hornets who had to play two games in the first two days (one of only three teams with that schedule). So far the Hornets have led Summer League in turnovers (24 per game) yielding free baskets to their opponents and at time struggling to get their own half-court offense to yield quality shots. 

Despite those difficulties their talent and their fight have been obvious. Even with the turnover issues, the Hornets have remained competitive making each contest a one possession game in the 4th quarter. That willingness to battle is exactly what the coaches want to see from the young and talented roster.

“We’re looking for competitive spirit,” said Hornets head coach James Borrego. “We want to see them fight and compete. We want unselfishness.”

The next step is to see the Hornets take the lessons from the first two games and put them into practice. Particularly unselfish play through better ball movement. 

The one player with Summer League experience on the Hornets is Arnoldas Kulboka, who leads the team in +/- through two games. Early on his quick decision making has stood out. “You just got to read the game,” said Kulboka. “Do the right play and that’s it, you’re going to be a good player.”

Kulboka’s quick decision making no doubt came from lessons learned over several professional seasons overseas and multiple trips to NBA Summer League, luxuries the rest of the roster has not yet had. But hopefully the Hornets can show they learn on the same pace as Summer League, fast! 

Anticipation Culminates as We Tip Things Off Today

By Sam Farber | August 8 (10:00 AM)

We’ve made it to Las Vegas. Summer League 2021 is hours away from tipping off for the Hornets and there is a ton of excitement. 

For me personally it’s the anticipation of something new. It’s my first time at Summer League having just joined the broadcasting team before the pandemic altered 2020/2021 season. There was no summer league, and there was no interaction, let alone in person interviews, with any of our players or coaches. This is the first time I really feel like I’m covering the team rather than watching it from a distance.

It feels like this week is more important than just a normal summer league. Yes, it’s an opportunity to see the newest crop of NBA players in person, and for some to prove they belong and earn a job, and that will always be important. But there is also the sense that this is the first step in a return to normal. A normal calendar, more normal fan attendance, more normal coverage, a more normal season.

There are also the obvious cues that things are not yet back to normal, and perhaps won’t be again for a long time. There are still strict health and safety protocols to adhere to, and just in general Las Vegas is very much more covered up these days. Masks are everywhere, even in 100+ degree heat. 

More than anything, it is great to be able to see fans see our players again. One moment during travel that really made the magnitude of this return to Las Vegas stand out was watching people watch the Hornets players as they made their way through the airport. There’s that look of awe small children have seeing NBA players walk by. There are even some adults who have those same looks when they see these guys too. We’ve missed that. We’ve missed seeing fans react to the best in the world playing the best game in the world. And tonight the Hornets return to the floor to entertain and inspire again.

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