After reflecting on my trip to NBA Summer League and re-watching all of the team's games on my 20 hour return trip to Manchester one clear point stood out to me. Charlotte's 20 year old center project Mark Williams was the teams most consistent and impressive Hornet in summer league.
Despite only playing 19 minutes per game, Williams impact was felt all over the court when was out there. His statistical averages won't get him onto any All-Summer League team, but if you look at his per 36 numbers you can see how impactful he was: 12.6pts - 13.7reb - 2.6ast - 1.9stl - 2.6blk - 2.6to
One stat that we can't track through NBA.com's Summer League statistics are "Deflections" of which Mark had his fair few. He has a fantastic reading of the game, while contesting a driving rim attempt he simultaneously manages to flail his arms and legs out to the side to block any passing lanes. This led to a several turnovers or late clock situations for the other team which you can't find anywhere on the stat sheet.
In between the 3rd and 4th games I had the opportunity for a quick chat with Mark about his experience of Summer League.
JP Jordan Surenkamp (SL Head Coach) said your doing a great job doing exactly what they’re asking you to do. What does that mean to you, what are they asking?
MW That could be anything from protecting the rim to being a good decision maker to playing hard. I don't know how long ill be out on the floor, but when I'm on the floor I'm trying to be as productive as possible.
JP They say you’re learning really quickly, can you think of any examples of what they might be talking about when they’re describing that.
MW Just a lot of our offensive principles, our defensive scheme, just stuff like that.
JP You only have two fouls, no turnovers so far. Has the speed of the game been okay compared to college so far?
MW Yeah its obviously a little faster but it’s not too bad.
JP Any of the older hornets players been speaking to you, taking you under the wing.
MW Yeah, all the returners and then some of the guys who aren’t playing who are older (Rozier, Plumlee, PJ and Martin were all in Vegas). Telling me do what I do best, stay confident, you don’t know how long you're going to be out on the floor but do your best.
JP How much are you enjoying this experience?
MW Yeah its fun, being in Vegas, I’ve been here a couple of times but this is the longest I've stayed.
JP You’re 20 right, so you can't enjoy all the benefits yet can you?
MW Not yet, I'm limited... (Laughs)
JP But your teammates have been able to?
MW For sure, next year I'll be able to.
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