“Lottery pick” at the Draft 2021 (11th), james bouknight clearly did not have a “rookie” season that lived up to this status, nor to that of his personal expectations.
Appeared only 31 times, for less than 10 minutes per game, the former Connecticut college player was indeed a big disappointment for his professional debut, and then easily conceded, at the end of the season, that he was going to have to do much better the following year.
A second exercise that he begins under the orders of a new coach, Steve Clifford, who took over this summer from James Borrego, dismissed from his post a few days earlier. A new start, we imagine, for the 22-year-old player, who had not forged the best imaginable links to start his career, with his now ex-coach.
We especially remember this episode just before the All-Star Break, during a match against Miami. James Bouknight, frustrated by a remark from James Borrego, lost his temper and stormed into the locker room, escorted by security. The former club technician, who claimed afterwards not to hold it against him, placing this clash on the account of frustration, however nailed the young player to the bench for the next 18 matches…
Steve Clifford’s confidence, but not yet the performance that goes with it
A priori, James Bouknight and Steve Clifford left on better bases. This is in any case what the recent statements of the second named, very talkative about his young rear, seem.
” I believe in him a lot. Of course, he didn’t play a lot in his first year, but I told him that a lot of kids went through it, and that it was not necessarily very usual for young people to be successful in the first year. . With us, Melo [LaMelo Ball] it was, but it’s still quite rare “said the Hornets coach. ” But he has undeniable pure talent, I mean starting level talent in this league. Nowadays, we mainly draft on the potential. He was drafted for his potential but also for his performance. He had already accomplished things in college, he was a hell of a player in college. So I think he’s different from a lot of other youngsters in the league, who haven’t achieved anything yet. »
Reassuring words for James Bouknight, who in the midst of the current galley of the Hornets, defeated five times in as many meetings in pre-season and orphaned by LaMelo Ball to start the season, can hope to get out of the game.
Even if, like his team, he did not show his best face in pre-season, since he accumulated 16 points at 6/32 on shots on his first four outings, before rectifying (literally) shooting in the last game against the Sixers, with 11 points at 4/8.