The Charlotte Hornets are a major question mark in the Eastern Conference heading into the 2022-23 NBA season.
With Miles Bridges’ NBA career likely over and LaMelo Ball being the only All-Star talent on this young, inexperienced team, the Hornets could very well be taking a step back and once again rebuilding with no set plan in motion.
Searching for more young talent that can supply them with depth and value is all the Hornets can do right now, which is why they have gone ahead and signed Jalen Crutcher, Anthony Duruji, Jaylen Sims and Isaiah Whaley to training camp deals
Starting with Crutcher, he recently played with the Greensboro Swarm during this past year, the Charlotte Hornets’ G League affiliates, after going undrafted out of Dayton. In the G League, Jalen Crutcher averaged 16.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists while shooting 47.9 percent from the field and 43.6 percent from three-point range in 33 games.
Playing in five Summer League games this past July with Charlotte, Crutcher averaged 6.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game in Las Vegas.
Anthony Duruji is a lengthy forward who played two years at Louisiana Tech (2017-19) before transferring to Florida (2020-22). In total, Duruji played in 120 collegiate games, starting in 97 of them and averaging 8.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game over the course of his career.
A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Jaylen Sims is a 6-foot-6 guard that spent four years at UNC-Wilmington, playing in 112 total games, starting in 70 of those games, and averaging 12.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game while shooting 35.6% from three-point range for his career. Sims ended up being a main reason why the Seahawks went 27-9, claiming the Colonial Athletic Association regular-season title this past year.
Isaiah Whaley has spent the last five years at UConn, averaging 5.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game over the course of his career. A 6-9 forward, Whaley earned Big East Defensive Player of the Year honors during the 2020-21 season and while he was on the Hornets Summer League roster this year, he did not play in any games.
As of right now, all four players have signed training camp deals with Charlotte, who still has an open two-way roster spot to fill before the start of the 2022-23 season should they wish to do so. The other two-way spot is currently being occupied by 2022 second-round pick Bryce McGowens.
While it is possible that Crutcher, Duruji, Sims or Whaley could earn an actual roster spot on the team’s 15-man roster for the 2022-23 season, it is much more likely that one of these four young players will earn themselves a two-way contract during or shortly after training camp.
Charlotte has a lot of work to do if they are to be a competitive team in the Eastern Conference this upcoming year.
Brett Siegel joined Fastbreak on FanNation as a credentialed NBA journalist in April 2022 after previously covering the NBA for NBA Analysis Network and working with Louisville Basketball, aiding in daily operations, scouting and recruiting. From playing to coaching to covering the game as a media member, Brett has been involved with the game of basketball from many different perspectives. Breaking the news of All-Star Andre Drummond signing with the Lakers in 2021, yearly NBA Draft news and other key stories around the league, Brett is always on the phone, getting the latest news and rumors around the NBA. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @BrettSiegelNBA.