Charlotte Hornets GM Mitch Kupchak has been around the NBA for the better part of five decades, dating back to his days in the late 1970s with Washington.
So when he witnesses something a bit unusual, as he has for a hefty portion of these past two months since the season ended, it should be noted.
"Our gym has been just full of activity for the last 6-8 weeks," Kupchak said Monday during his pre-draft availability. "Our coach has done a great job of setting up times for players to come in. Starting with treatment, training room, migrating to the weight room, then going upstairs (to the gym) and getting shots in. Tuesdays and Thursdays, they have fun, they scrimmage. Unlike any gym that I've been around in a long, long time.
"Players like living in Charlotte. They are staying here and they are coming in every day to work out. Even on a Friday — which we call a flex day — in which a player might want to get away for a weekend a lot of these guys are still coming in on Friday."
That includes LiAngelo Ball. As first reported by SI.com's All Hornets, LaMelo's older brother is expected to be on Charlotte's summer league roster when it's finalized before the team heads off to Las Vegas in just under two weeks.
"Melo and his brother LiAngelo — I call him Gelo — he showed up about a month ago," Kupchak said. "We allow our players to have a workout partner. They can come in during the morning on odd hours or the afternoon or at night and come back. And they would be working out together. And then on scrimmage days, they would scrimmage."
Kupchak said the Hornets will present Ball with an invite to summer league, provided he has a good showing in the four days of practice leading up to the team's departure. The hope is to bring 12 players, perhaps as many as 14, and unless things drastically change Ball is going to be among them. And he'd have LaMelo there with him because the 19-year old is going to be among the Hornets' contingent of players working out in Las Vegas.
So LiAngelo Ball will have his own personal cheering section.
"He’s been great to be around," Kupchak said. "I’m sure Melo appreciates it. He’s got a guy he can hang out with and come to the gym with and rebound and shoot. So it’s been good for him. And he’s a Division I player. He’s a player that was recruited and played for UCLA. He’s a real talent. Whether he’s good enough right now, that remains to be seen. But he’s fitting right in on the scrimmages that we play on Tuesdays and Thursday’s. We’ll bring him to that four-day camp and we’ll go from there."