WESTWEGO, La. — The Hornets have brought in 11 players for pre-draft workouts.
Seven of them have been frontcourt players.
And two – both in Monday for their workout – have reasons for gigantic chips on their shoulders.
Entering the Jun 28 draft, Perry Jones III of Baylor has to fend off those wondering if he has desire while Jared Sullinger of Ohio State is working to show that he’s better than his draft combine testing showed.
On Monday, Hornets brass had their chance to get their reading on the two. The result? Positive reviews by coach Monty Williams.
“Perry is a guy who you have to see in person to realize how good of an athlete he is,” Williams said. “He can put the ball down and shoot it a little bit. He’s really quick. And Jared is a guy who can shoot it pretty sound, more deliberate in his approach to posting up the ball. Both of them pretty skilled players.”
Jones averaged 13.7 points and 7.4 rebounds per game at Baylor, earning AP All-American status as a sophomore. He largely was considered one of Baylor’s top recruits in school history.
But his consistency continually was called into question, as he would disappear during parts of games.
Monday, Jones tried to answer his critics when asked what he thought about people questioning his effort.
“I can’t satisfy everybody with the way I play,” Jones said. “All I can do is satisfy the coaches in the gyms and the team I play for, work as hard as I can for them and whatever anybody’s got to say, they’re just going to say it anyway.”
Sullinger, meanwhile, didn’t test well during certain tests at the draft combine. He’s not concerned about how high he can jump or how quickly he can do certain tasks.
It’s what he does while in a game that’s most important.
“I’m not a testing type of guy,” Sullinger said. “I’m a basketball player.”
“Jared has a deceptively quick step, especially when he’s going to the basket or he’s posting up,” Williams said.
Yet, while the Hornets have put those 11 players through workouts, there’s still a chance they won’t use the No. 10 pick on a player. They could trade for a veteran who could help the team win immediately.
General manager Dell Demps, at least on Monday, said that’s not likely.
“We’d keep our options open, obviously, but right now we’re looking at guys that we can draft with the 10th pick,” Demps said. “Now if someone makes us a deal that’s going to make our organization better, we’re definitely take a look at it but as of today, right now, nothing’s happened. ... We plan on using the 10th pick.”