Charlotte Hornets
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Charlotte Hornets Will Win 2021 NBA Summer League

I’m not sure anyone puts a ton of stock or attention into the NBA Summer League, but it is a really fun opportunity to see a franchise put all their young talents on one team. After walking away as one of the big winners in the 2021 NBA Draft, I think the Charlotte Hornets will win the 2021 NBA Summer League. They will have virtually no holes on their roster.

2021 NBA Draft Picks

The Hornets got off to a good start, drafting an electric scorer in James Bouknight with the No. 11 pick. Fans should be excited to see LaMelo Ball and Bouknight running the backcourt for the foreseeable future. The Hornets then snagged Kai Jones with the No. 19 pick, one of the best team-player fits of the whole draft. Jones will be a fantastic above-the-rim player to pair with Ball. Charlotte continued the clinic into the second round. Auburn’s JT Thor was a major steal for where he was drafted. He is a great defender with stretch big potential. Scottie Lewis of Florida is a great perimeter defender who averaged 1.4 steals and 1.1 blocks per game in two seasons with the Gators.

2020 NBA Draft Picks

The Charlotte Hornets 2021 Summer League roster may also feature two of their picks from the 2020 Draft. 20-year-old center Vernon Carey Jr. will enter the Summer League after averaging 16.0 points and 9.4 rebounds per game for the Greensboro Swarm G League affiliate. 2020 second-round pick Grant Riller averaged 13.1 points per game for the Swarm on 49.0% from the field and 46.2% from deep. He’s a sniper.

The Rest of the Roster

The Hornets also have a number of options that will serve as depth pieces. Nate Darling played for the Greensboro Swarm last season. He averaged 8.9 points per game just a year after averaging 21.0 points per game as a senior for Delaware. Guard Denzel Mahoney signed on to play with the Hornets in the Summer League after a four-year college career where he averaged 14.9 points per game. DJ Carton went undrafted in the 2021 Draft after a solid sophomore season at Marquette. He will provide a fair amount of scoring and athleticism off the bench. Forward Cam McGriff also joins after a four-year career with Oklahoma State. Finally, LiAngelo Ball signed a contract to play Summer League ball for Charlotte a year after being waived by the Detroit Pistons.

Recap

All in all, I’m not sure what the Hornets roster is missing.

  • Primary scorer and initiator (Bouknight)
  • Athletic lob threat (Jones)
  • Stretch forward (Thor)
  • Defensive guard (Lewis)
  • Paint presence (Carey)
  • Knockdown shooter (Riller)
  • Depth (Darling, Mahoney, Carton, McGriff)
  • A Ball Brother (LiAngelo)

If there’s a hole on this Summer League roster, I’m not seeing it. That’s why I think they’ll bring home the 2021 Summer League title. The only other team with a summer roster that approaches the completeness of Charlotte is that of the Houston Rockets. If either of those teams win, I will not be surprised, but for the sake of prediction I’m going with the Hornets.

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