Time to Make the Mavericks look Conventional

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Published: January 14, 2009

Blogger Power Rankings

First off, there is a new installment of the Blogger Power Rankings out this week.  The Hornets keep hanging around that 6-8 spot.  Can’t say I disagree.  Enjoy, though I was a little short of witty contributions this time around, but the other blogs picked up the slack.

Losses to Bad teams

I wasn’t terribly upset by the New York loss.  It was disappointing, but really it was just one of those off games that every team has.  Not one of the Hornets shot well – or even came close to shooting well, and we only lost by six.  The defensive effort was irritating at times, but that happens.  Every team has games like this, even the premier teams in the league:  Orlando has losses to Memphis and Toronto. The Lakers have losses to Sacramento and Indiana.  The Celtics have losses to Indiana, Golden State and the Knicks.  Even the the six-loss Cavaliers have losses to Miami and Washington.  The Hornets have slipped against Charlotte, Sacramento and the Knicks. 

The games I get upset over are when we get blown out by good teams.  Quite simply, the team should be prepared and ready to roll against those teams.  A loss by ten or less?  Fine.  Blowouts?  Those put me in a foul temper.

The Rotation

I’m not super happy with any of the Hornets wing players.  Based on this years contributions, I rank them: Butler, Posey, Stojakovic,  Peterson, Wright, Brown.  No, I don’t think Peterson has shown much this year, and I think we should trade him for a back up big who can actually rebound.  I agree with some of the recent commentary that the Hornets should move Butler to the second unit and use him as a sixth man since he’s probably our most skilled non-Paul perimeter scorer.  There is one qualification, however, to that idea.  Earlier this summer I did an evaluation of Rasual Butler and it became pretty evident that Rasual is only effective when he’s getting at least 25 minutes per game.  If he falls below that number, his shooting stroke suffers(it drops from 43% to 28%) and he generally becomes a liability.  That is why I’d propose the following rotation:

Starters: Chandler/West/Wright/Stojakovic/Paul
2nd Unit: Armstrong/Posey/Butler/Peterson/Daniels

Starting Wright allows him to gain experience and have his mistakes minimized by the presence of the other starters.  He can also play 20 good minutes and be replaced by Butler, who will still get the minutes he’d need to stay productive.  This rotation becomes even more attractive if Peterson can be moved for a rebounder, who would slot into the second unit and move Posey to small forward and Butler to shooting guard.

I’ll tell Byron to make it happen at our next tee time.  On to the game:

Matchup: Hornets(22-12) @ Mavericks(22-16)

Off Efficiency: Hornets 106.8(8th), Mavericks 105.2(13th)
Def Efficiency: Hornets 103.0(11th), Mavericks 103.0(11th)

The Mavericks are currently on a 3 game losing streak, and they played last night in Denver, where they lost by two despite a 44-point night by Dirk Nowitzki.  Fortunately for the Hornets, Dirk played 42 minutes in that game, so we’ll see how much he’s got left in the tank tonight.

The Hornets didn’t much care about their game against New York.  They lost.  Hopefully they won’t make the same mistake tonight against a division rival.

Injuries

Mavericks: Josh Howard is out with a bad wrist.
Hornets: Sean Marks should not play due to a broken Jumper.  Unfortunately, it appears it may be contagious.

Positional Analysis

PG: Jason Kidd v Chris Paul
Advantage: New Orleans
Let’s pretend we didn’t see Paul destroy Kidd in the playoffs last season.  All you’d need to know is this:  Last night the Nuggets were isolating Chauncey Billups on Kidd because Kidd couldn’t stay in front of him, and Paul is what, about 25% faster than Billups?  50%?

SG: Antoine Wright v Rasual Butler
Advantage: New Orleans
Wright is a terrible offensive player, shooting 37% from the floor and 20% from deep.  He’s out there primarily for defense.  If you want to pick a player to sag off from, here’s your man.  You can’t sag off of Butler(it’s still weird to type that) – and he’s good defensively too.

SF: Gerald Green v Peja Stojakovic
Advantage: New Orleans
Gerald is the opposite of Antoine Wright.  He’s got no defensive prowess, but is capable offensively.  He’s been forced into the starting role with Josh Howard out and has been mediocre over their last few games, averaging only about 15-20 minutes.  Peja is really struggling with his shot right now, but I still keep the faith he can outplay Green.

PF: Dirk Nowitzki v David West
Advantage: Dallas
Nowitzki is having another one of his exceptional seasons, while West is scoring fine but his defense and rebounding is leaving a lot to be desired.  I’ll give a fair edge to the German Bomber.  Maybe we should give him the nickname “Schmitt”, as in Messerschmitt – the german attack plane from World War II.

C: Erick Dampier v Tyson Chandler
Advantage: Even
Come back to me Tyson.  You should be dominating this.

Bench
Advantage: Dallas
Brandon Bass, Jason Terry, Jose Juan Barea, and DeSagana Diop make an alright group of backups.  Terry alone propels this unit way past the Hornet’s squad, as he averages 20 points a game.  The Hornets lack scoring punch from their second unit, and their defense has proven only so-so this season.  Pargo, wherefore art thou, Pargo?

Enjoy the game.

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