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Hornets Announce Training Camp Signings

Charlotte add four undrafted free agents to their training camp roster

74... That's how many days it's been since the Charlotte Hornets have made a roster move announcing the re-signing of Cody Martin on July 6th. The latest addition of four undrafted free agents isn't going to move the needle for the upcoming season. However, it helps build the picture ahead of Charlotte training camp opening in two weeks. Let's have a look at each of the players announced.

Point Guard - Jalen Crutcher

For the hardcore Hornets fans you are probably by now familiar with Jalen Crutcher after he played last season for the Greensboro Swarm and for Charlotte in the 2022 NBA Summer League. 

Crutcher was one of Greensboro's most promising prospects last year averaging 16.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists while shooting 47.9 percent from the field and 43.6 percent from 3-point range last season in 33 games. Unfortunately a less than stellar Summer League performance has tempered expectations. Crutcher shot the ball poorly from all over the court and failed to always find talented bigs Kai Jones, Mark Williams and Nick Richards inside. The team generally looked unorganised on offense and as the lead ball handler Crutcher shouldered a fair dose of criticism.

Chance of making the roster? <20% Charlotte do need to add another ball handler but reports suggest they will fill that need with a veteran through free agency. 

Forward - Isiah Whaley 

Whaley went undrafted in this past years' draft and is an ex-teammates of James Bouknight from his UCONN days. It's fair to say his modest career averages 5.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 18.9 minutes per game don't suggest he is a legitimate NBA prospect. However, Whaley did earn Big East Defensive Player of the Year honors as a senior in 2020-21 after averaging career-highs in steals (1.0) and blocks (2.6). Whaley was on the Hornets 2022 Summer League roster but was reportedly hindered by injury and didn't make any appearances. 

Chance of making the roster? <5% Whaley's defensive energy and impact will likely stand out in camp. However, the best he can hope for is to catch on with the Greensboro Swarm and see if he can improve his all-round game

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Wing- Anthony Duruji

A 6-7 forward, Duruji held averages of 8.7 points and 4.7 rebounds in 120 games (97 starts) across four seasons at Louisiana Tech (2017-19) and Florida (2020-22). Duruji averaged 9.7 points and 5.1 rebounds in two seasons at Louisiana Tech before transferring to Florida, where he spent his final two collegiate seasons and averaged 7.4 points and 4.2 rebounds. Duruji is an athletic, high-motor forward that is entering his senior season with the Florida Gators. He is a rangy defender that can get blocks and steals but is an inconsistent shooter.

Chance of making the roster? <1% This team looks loaded on the wings with prospects so I see little chance of Duruji sticking with the team.

Chance of making the roster? <1%

Shooting Guard - Jaylen Sims

Sims is a Charlotte native who played all four years of his college career with UNC Wilmington, he earned all-state recognition as a high school senior at United Faith Christian Academy in Charlotte.

In his collegiate career Sims averaged 12.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game in 112 contests.

Chance of making the roster? <1% Sims wasn't on the NBA Draft radar at all and went undrafted this past summer. Similar to Duruji, I see no route for Sims to land a roster spot with McGowens/Bouknight backing up Rozier.

Overall Thoughts

Underwhelmed but not surprised. Charlotte are a terrible landing spot for landing higher calibre training camp signings. The Hornets already have several high calibre young prospects not receiving playing time, do you think agents will want to send their undrafted guys to somewhere lottery picks don't receive minutes? In terms of veteran players who are still free agents, they normally end up on high end playoff team in hope of latching onto a title contender.