Ever since the 2012 NBA Draft, I have been eagerly anticipating the start of Summer League play for the New Orleans Hornets. But Anthony Davis is playing for Team USA and Austin Rivers has struggled at point guard. Meanwhile, the Hornets were 0-2 and Rivers has looked like a punching bag on the court. However, New Orleans finally picked up its first win in Summer League play over the Phoenix Suns 76-61.
New Orleans Hornets vs. Phoenix Suns
The big story at the outset of this Summer League game was that Austin Rivers was not playing. The official word was that Rivers was nursing minor injuries from the last game. While I'm sure that's true, I also suspect the Hornets wanted Austin Rivers to watch a game from the bench to gain a better perspective of New Orleans' offense.
There have already been concerns raised by New Orleans fans that Austin Rivers has struggled at point guard in the Summer League. I'm sure those voices will get even louder after the Hornets picked up such a convincing Summer League win with Rivers on the bench.
There's no doubt that New Orleans looked like a different team tonight. Brian Roberts and Jerome Dyson ran the Hornets' offense very smoothly and combined for 29 points. I really like Dyson's quickness and dribble penetration although his poor shooting is a problem at guard. I hope he makes the New Orleans Hornets' final roster.
I thought Lance Thomas had another strong game and he's making a push to stick around with the Hornets after Summer League play. Thomas scored 14 points and pulled down eight rebounds. He even had two assists for the Hornets who passed better tonight than during any other Summer League game. In fact, New Orleans had 12 total assists.
It was also great seeing New Orleans play its best defensive game of Summer League so far. If your team lacks superstars on offense, you can always stay in every game by playing defense. I know Monty Williams had to be pleased with the defensive effort of his young Hornets squad against the Suns.
Reportedly, Austin Rivers is not seriously injured and he is supposed to play in the Hornets' next Summer League game Friday night. Hopefully, the day off will help Rivers heal up and process New Orleans' offensive scheme better. If not, the angst in New Orleans will become a bit worse.
Patrick Michael was born in New Orleans and currently resides in the Big Easy. A loyal New Orleans NBA fan, Patrick was a diehard New Orleans Jazz fan and now cheers for the Hornets. Patrick was in attendance the night the Hornets were one win away from the Western Conference Finals. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
"New Orleans Hornets vs. Phoenix Suns," nba.com
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