Posted by Jeff Duncan, The Times-Picayune
October 04, 2007
Hornets fans are going to love Julian Wright.
The rookie forward is still learning and might need a year or two of development but his attitude and work ethic have been outstanding so far.
Right now, he's way behind frontline veterans like Rasual Butler, Hilton Armsrong, Melvin Ely and even Ryan Bowen. That's to be expected. He's only 20 and just three days into his first NBA camp. But the first-round pick has arrived in the NBA with the requisite "PHD" attitude: poor, hungry and driven.
Wright is one of the first to arrive at workouts and one of the last to leave. He spent extra time after Wednesday's practice to work on his shooting. On Thursday, he consicuously finished every post-practice sprint or suicide ahead of the rest of the big men. At one point, he even ran an extra suicide.
That's the kind of attitude that will get the attention of Hornets coach Byron Scott and general manager Jeff Bower.
I must admit, I was a little skeptical of Wright when the Hornets selected him in the first round. I'd watched several Kansas games last season and don't remember the 6-8 Wright making much of an impression. But Wright is one of those players that must be evaluated closely to appreciate. The more you watch, the more you like.
First of all, he is a terrific passer for a player of his size, which will make him an effective weapon in the high post or on the wing.
Second, he's a solid defender, quick enough to hang with most small forwards and long enough to hold his own against NBA power forwards.
Third, and perhaps more important, he has excellent basketball IQ. He knows how to play the game. He understands the little things like spacing, off-side defense, communication with his teammates, game situations, etc.
It's well-documented that Wright need to improve his shooting. Like a lot of players, his jumper has a tendency to flat-line when he gets tired. But, as Scott said this week, his mechanics are fine. It's mostly a matter of confidence with him. Besides, shooting is one the easiest skills in basketball to learn. Wright is going to be fine if he keeps working on his shot like he did Wednesday when he was knocking down well over 50 percent of his 3-pointers during an individual shootaround session.
The other young player that has stood out is Trey Johnson, the rookie free agent from Jackson State. Scott called the 6-5 shooting guard has been the biggest surprise of camp so far. Johnson led the nation in scoring last season with a 27-point average and could be a sleeper to make the final roster.
Second-round draft pick Adam Haluska is battling Johnson at reserve shooting guard. Haluska is more of a shooter than a scorer, the exact opposite of Johnson. He appears to be in excellent shape and has also spent extra time after workouts to work on his game. Haluska hasn't made as much of an impact as Johnson but he also hasn't made too many mistakes. It'll be interesting to see how the rookie shooters fare in the exhibition season, which begins Tuesday against the Houston Rockets in Oklahoma City.
Rookie review - Hornets Beat - Times-Picayune - NOLA.com
Re: Rookie review
Julian Wright will be a force to be reckon with in the future. Right now he will put up decent numbers and give the Hornets a spark, they may help them on their playoff run
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