Heads Up: Training Camp Week 1 Review

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Published: October 8, 2006

We're a week deep in training camp, with the Hornets practicing for the final time in New Orleans today at at Tulane's Reily Center. The preseason schedule starts Tuesday when the Mavs visit the Ford Center in OKC.

This time last year, we did a weekly recap of how everyone was doing in camp. Seemed to go down well, so here we go again. (Note that the ratings do not compare one player to another; the gauge is just there to see how well the guy has been doing compared to what's expected of him.)

Hilton Armstrong:
Armstong has been coming along nicely, providing the rebounding and defensive presence the Hornets expected of him. He's apparently learning the system easily, although Byron Scott noted that both he and Simmons have a long way to go. Said Hilton, "These have been the hardest days of my life, so far."
Armstrong - Gauge

Brandon Bass:
Bass seems to be on a mission, reporting to camp in good condition and playing some smart basketball. Said Scott, "He’s probably been the biggest surprise. He came to camp in great shape. He’s been in this system for a full year, so he has a better understanding of it. There are still some things he has to learn, but he’s way ahead of the pace he was at last year. He’s doing a heck of a job."
Bass - Gauge

Rasual Butler:
I'm relying on media reports and whatever video I can find online to complie all this. Unfortunately, there hasn't been much mention of Butler so far in camp, although I heard he's not crazy about the new ball. Hard-hitting info, I know. We'll keep Butler neutral for now.
Butler - Gauge

Tyson Chandler:
Scott sees Chandler averaging a double-double this season, but stops short of envisioning him in the All-Star game, which Tyson has stated is his goal this season. Still, the former-Bull seems to be happy with the Hornets, and he's been rebounding and blocking shots in camp like he's made of Mutombos. He's also been hooking up with Chris Paul offensively. If that carries through into the regular season, Chandler will have no problem scoring ten a game.
Pity the fool

Luis Flores:
No idea.
Flores - Gauge

Bobby Jackson:
B-Jax has been doing pretty much what's expected of him, knocking down some long jumpers, hounding guys on D, and just being a crafty veteran for the most part. Dude was feeling it after the first day of practice, though: "This is the hardest training camp I've ever been in. Maybe because I'm getting old."
B-Jax - Gauge

Marc Jackson:
Jackson looks to be taking over PJ's role as enforcer and mentor this season. He's been pushing the rookie bigs around in practice, cracking jokes and talking trash. We know what to expect from him.
Jackson - Gauge

Linton Johnson:
According to Byron Scott, "(Linton) came to camp in probably the best condition of athletes we have." If you caught the Hornets on Real Training Camp last week, your jaw probably dropped like mine at Johnson's physique. Dude is cut. His game has also developed nicely over the summer, so much so that Scott envisions him easily fitting into the Hornets rotation this year, able to contribute on both ends of the floor. Nice. Benjamin Hochman has more on LJ over at the T-P.
LJ - Gauge

Desmond Mason:
By all accounts, Mason's shooting stroke is drastically improved, and he's dropping jumpers regularly in camp. That makes the Hornets a better team, which makes me a happy spastic. Said Mason about his offseason, "The main thing I did (over the summer) was a lot of shooting. I put up a lot of shots. I feel like I put the work in, and I'm seeing the results. What I'll do more this year is face up (after posting up). That will give me room to work in the mid-range area." Oh, worth noting that Mason wears sweat pants in practice, too. Never shorts.
Mason - Gauge

Scooter McFadgon:
No clue how Scooter's been playing apart from what I saw in that Real Training Camp video. That was the first day of practice. Nobody really stood out.
Scooter - Gauge

Jannero Pargo:
Pargo seems too good to be a third-string point guard, but that might be because he's more of a scorer than a true point guard. Whatever. The important thing is that Pargo is a weapon, someone who can come off the bench and fill up that cup. Scott has been impressed with his attitude so far in camp: "Jannero's in great shape, and he's a tough kid, too. He's in the same mold as Bobby and C.P. Those guys don't back down from people." Pargo missed last Wednesday's practice due to the birth of his son, which I guess is more important.
Pargo - Gauge

Chris Paul:
He rocks. He's always fantastic. He walks on water. I'm naming my kids after him. And so on.
CP3 - Gauge

Cedric Simmons:
Apparently Simmons stole the show with Madonna's "Material Girl" when it game time for the rookies to sing yesterday. No need for Cedric to give up the day job, though. He was impressive in the scrimmage on Friday, knocking down some jumpers and hustling on D. However, he's probably behind Brandon Bass at the moment in the battle for back-up minutes at the 4.
Simmons - Gauge

Peja Stojakovic:
I guess the best news here is that our $64 million didn't get hurt during the first week. Coach Scott will tell you the following: "Peja can flat-out play. He moves extremely well without the ball, he's extremely intelligent, he can create his own shot, and he's a heck of a passer. People don't give him a lot of credit for his passing ability, and they dog him about his defense, but he's a much better defender than people give him credit for, as well." Yeah, that's great, but it doesn't matter a shit though if the man gets injured. As long as he stays healthy, he'll rate high on this scale.
Peja - Gauge

Marcus Vinicius:
Rumor has it that Quiznos (or whatever his nickname is) sat out the open scrimmage on Friday. He also seemed a little out of the loop in Tuesday's opening session. With sixteen players on the roster, the Hornets need to cut at least one before the real season starts. As a second-round draft pick, Vinicius is not guaranteed a spot, so he'll find himself in a battle with Flores and McFadgon for a guaranteed contract.
Marcus - Gauge

David West:
Last year's leading scorer has added some range to his already funky arsenal, which he displayed by knocking down a pair of triples at Friday's scrimmage. His bread-and-butter mid-range game and post work also appears more polished, suggesting last season was no fluke. Said Scott, "He did everything I asked of him this summer as far as getting ready. He's a lot better than he was at this same time last season at camp." The Hornets F.O. seems to agree, as Jeff Bower is hustling to extend West's contract before the season gets going.
West - Gauge

That'll do it for week one. I'm liking this team more and more as we get closer to the season, although you just know though that someone's gonna get injured and fuck everything up. I hope I'm wrong.

More of the same next Sunday.

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