It has been almost two months since the Fraport Skyliners said farewell to the 2014-2015 Beko BBL season as they lost 3-1 in the quarterfinals of the playoffs against FC Bayern Munich. It was also the last game of Los Angeles native Justin Cobbs who finished game four with 20 points, three rebounds and three assists. It had been a very strong season for the rookie who played 27 BBL games averaging 14.4ppg, 2.5rpg, 4.4apg, FGP: 47.9%, 3PT: 31.6%, FT: 80.3%, 2.9rpg, Assists-4(6.1apg), FGP: 46.6%, 3PT: 40.6%, FT: 83.1%. He also belonged to the top players in the Eurochallenge tournament where the Fraport Skyliners wouldn´t have reached the Final Four without the stellar play of the California(NCAA) graduate. He played 12 games averaging 16,3ppg, 2,9rpg and 6,1apg. He brought home Eurobasket.com All-EuroChallenge Honorable Mention, and Eurobasket.com All-German Bundesliga 3rd Team. At the start of the season he was the last cut of the Charlotte Hornets and it was no secret that his number one goal was getting to the NBA as it is for every other basketball player on earth. Of course getting on the correct NBA route and getting that possible training camp invitation is usually made easier with a potent NBA Summer League performance. Last summer he played NBA Summer League with the Memphis Grizzlies, but got into two games playing garbage minutes. With his rookie season under his belt, he is back at it this time with the Charlotte Hornets and try to make amends for having to clear the last spot for a veteran.
Cobbs has one ex Beko BBL player as a teammate with ex medi Bayreuth center Brian Qvale cleaning up and mixing it up down low and showcasing his mid range game as well as Beko BBL player Jonathan Wallace who at age 28 has played with teams like Oldenburg, FC Bayern Munich and the Walter Tigers Tuebingen and is one of the older guys in the competition opting to race up and down the court with the young guns instead of hanging around the pool with family at home in Alabama. Cobbs has swift competition at the point guard position from Ohio State standout Aaron Craft who played in the D-League last season for Santa Cruz averaging 9.4ppg, 5.0rpg, 6.1apg, Steals-2(2.5spg), FGP: 49.4%, 3PT: 27.0%, FT: 80.1%. In the first game against Oklahoma, Charlotte lost a nail bitter 76-74 as Wallace started the game and registered 21 minutes scoring six points and dishing out five assists. Cobbs stayed scoreless in his debut and in 13 minutes found his teammates four times for buckets while going 0/1 from the field. Craft had a DNP. The roster has stand out players like ex North Carolina Tar Heel forward PJ Hairston that was a Miami Heat #1 draft pick in 2014,, but played 58 games for Charlotte last season, 213cm forward Frank Kaminsky who reached the NCAA Final 4 in 2014 and was a finalist in 2015 with Wisconsin was the Hornets number one draft pick a few weeks ago, sniper Troy Daniels that played for three NBA teams last season with Houston, Minnesota and Charlotte, or double double monster Alan Williams out of the University of California at Santa Barbara that averaged 18ppg and 10rpg the last three seasons in college. Cobbs doesn´t only have stiff competition at the guard position, but has exceptional teammates where he will only benefit from on the court.
In the second game against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Charlotte Hornets went with a big lineup as they had Troy Daniels and Aaron Harrison at the guard position. Head coach Steve Clifford opted not to insert point guards Justin Cobbs or Aaron Kraft. AS for the game, the Hornets went up against a powerful Grizzlies lineup as they had many Grizzlies players like Jordan Adams, Russ Smith and Jarnell Stokes and former Kentucky player Andrew Harrison as well as many talented young players. Mamphis led by as much as 15 points in the second half, but Charlotte made a surge at the end to cut the Grizzlies lead down to 70-68, but couldn´t get the lead back in the last minute losing 78-72. Grizzlie players Smith and Stokes led the way combining for 24 points and American Tony Crocker who will play for his sixth team in Europe this season with Yesilgiresun Belediye (Turkey-TBL) chipped in with 11 points. For Charlotte, Troy Daniels was top scorer with 21 points while Andrew Harrison had 16 points and Frank Kaminsky contributed 14 points and eight boards. After two games the stat line of Justin Cobbs reads 0 points and four assists in 13 minutes which is nothing to brag home to mom, but then again the competition in the NBA Summer League is stiff and there are always 3-5 players that get DNP´s and it is always what the coaches want to see on that given night and how they want to experiment. Sometimes a coach has certain players he wants to see extra and already guys on his mind who he might want to plan for. “ Usually in the NBA Summer League the club already knows who they want for the next season. I have a few friends playing NBA Summer League and it´s all about politics. Cobbs can´t do anything except work hard and wait his turn, but if the coach already has his mind made who he wants then there is nothing he can do. It is just a shame that he can´t show what he has if he doesn´t get chance. I have same problem. Coaches in the German Pro A won´t take a chance on me, because they already know who they want. Cobbs is great and should be an NBA back up”, stressed American Jermale Jones who played with the Licher Basket Baeren the last three seasons. Cobbs just has to be patient and wait for his chance. But when he gets that chance, then he will really have to perform and not hold back as getting that opportunity is a lot less common in the NBA Summer League. He took only one shot in 13 minutes which shows he wasn´t necessarily forcing anything up, but then again not being as aggressive as he is accustomed to. But then again you can´t show much in 13 minutes, but when one does get the limited minutes one has to perform extra out of the ordinary to be noticed. Good guards are a dime a dozen while the great guards are of the rarer basketball species. The American has shown flashes of brilliance in his rookie season with the Fraport Skyliners where he led amazing comebacks where his calmness and leadership qualities were one of a kind where he was more than just being a dime a dozen. Cobbs first needs to get some minutes and then display uniqueness to set him apart from a dime a dozen and the extra special half dollar.