July 24th, 2012
The NBA’s summer league has always been a good opportunity for both highly touted draft picks and lesser-known youngsters to show off their skills.
This summer, we’ve seen lottery picks like Portland’s Damian Lillard and Sacramento’s Thomas Robinson light it up in Las Vegas. Even former draft bust Adam Morrison had an impressive summer, averaging 20 points per game.
The New Orleans Hornets are one of the youngest teams in the league and they are going to make noise in the future once the building blocks they have in place develop into proven stars. The first crop of young cornerstones are this year’s rookies Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers.
Rivers used his time in the summer league to help make the transition from college shooting guard to NBA point guard. The results were less than spectacular. In two games, Rivers averaged 10 points per game while the former Duke sharpshooter shot a paltry 12 percent from behind the arc.
Davis, meanwhile, has been making his mark in a different summer league. The No. 1 overall pick was a late substitution for the Olympic basketball team and he’s making the most of his limited playing time. In two games, Davis is averaging 10 points in a little over 11 minutes a game. He’s also blocked four shots thus far.
Davis and Rivers weren’t the only Hornets players generating buzz this summer. Guard Brian Roberts had an impressive summer, averaging 13.8 points per game in five games. Forward Lance Thomas was excellent as well.
Summer league success doesn’t always translate to pro success. Former Nuggets lottery pick Nikoloz Tskitishvili was named the MVP of the summer league back in 2004 but never amounted to much in the NBA.
However, there are a few New Orleans players who will fare better than Skita did when they get their chance in NBA games that matter.
Here are five Hornets who will translate their summer league success into success in the NBA.
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