What do the Hornets Need?

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Published: May 29, 2009

Since the end of the season and the Game That Will Not Be Named, the knee-jerk reaction of a lot of fans to the question “What do the Hornets need” has been “everything”.  I’d prefer to go with a much more quantifiable list, so I’ve put together what I think is a pretty solid set.  In this post I’m not going to hit actual players the Hornet’s should target, but rather set down three weaknesses that if the Hornets shore up, I feel they can get back to elite status.  In order of importance:

1. A Rebounding Back-up Big – If they have to rely on Armstrong as more than a 4th big man, The Hornets aren’t going very far.  The backup doesn’t even need to be a big scorer, they just need to be able to post at least an average rebound rate, not turn the ball over every time they breath on it, and be trusted to play 20 minutes a game.

2. A True Shooting Guard – The Hornets don’t have a shooting guard on the team, unless you want to count Devin Brown.  I don’t.  The primary wing players; Posey, Wright, Butler, Peterson and Stojakovic, don’t have the ball-handling to be a shooting guard.  This puts tremendous pressure on Paul, as he must always bring the ball up the court and he must always be the one to initiate penetration.  That second part is key – the player can’t just be an Antonio Daniels style point guard reserve – they must be able to create some sort of shot on their own.  Jannero Pargo, Speedy Claxton, and the 28-year old version of Devin Brown served that role for Byron Scott in past years, allowing Paul a little rest during the game.   It’s still clearly something the team needs.  The player doesn’t have to be a starter – they just need to provide around 18-24 minutes of penetration, ball-handling and/or scoring, giving Paul 12 minutes of rest on the bench, and 6-12 minutes with Paul where the opposing team have to worry about perimeter penetration from two players at the same time.

3. Scoring Support – It’s a little simplistic, but it seems to me that there are two ways to contend for a title in the NBA:  Field a team with two Class A scorers, and surround them with specialists(see Shaq-Kobe or Shaq-Wade, 2nd Three-Peat Bulls) or field a team with one Class A scorer, and two Class B scorers, then fill in around the edges.(Ginobili-Duncan-Parker, Jordan-Pippen-Grant, Dantley-Thomas-Dumars, Hamilton-Billups-Sheed)  The Hornets are currently built around a Class A scorer(Paul) and one Class B scorer(West), and one scorer(Peja) who they hoped would be Class B, but has fallen to Class C.  To me, they either need to find another class B scorer on the cheap or try and upgrade their Class B scorer to a Class A one.  The question is, however, who do I classify as a Class A or Class B Scorer?  Class A are those players who are not only efficient scorers(points per shot of 1.3 or better) but whom retain that efficiency while taking around a dozen shots or more.  Class B are those scorers who average between 1.2 and 1.3 points per shot, while taking the same number of shots per game.  Just because it’s interesting, I’ll list the Class A scorers here for your perusal.

Player Name Points Per Shot Shots Per Game
Dwight Howard 1.66 12.4
Shaquille O’Neal 1.59 11.2
Kevin Martin 1.55 15.9
Amare Stoudemire 1.51 14.1
Corey Maggette 1.5 12.4
Yao Ming 1.47 13.4
Gerald Wallace 1.46 11.5
LeBron James 1.43 19.9
Chauncey Billups 1.43 12.5
Chris Paul 1.42 16.1
Devin Harris 1.41 15.1
Paul Pierce 1.4 14.6
Eric Gordon 1.39 11.6
Manu Ginobili 1.39 11.2
Ray Allen 1.38 13.2
Chris Bosh 1.38 16.4
Mehmet Okur 1.38 12.3
Dwayne Wade 1.37 22
John Salmons 1.36 13.4
Steve Nash 1.36 11.5
Danny Granger 1.35 19.1
Kevin Durant 1.35 18.8
Andre Igoudala 1.34 14
Brandon Roy 1.34 16.9
Deron Williams 1.34 14.5
Richard Jefferson 1.32 14.9
Jameer Nelson 1.32 12.6
Tim Duncan 1.31 14.8
Dirk Nowitzki 1.3 20
Kobe Bryant 1.29 20.9

Some items of interest from the list – Kobe isn’t that efficient of a scorer and if I stuck to my 1.3 points per shot cut off, he would have just missed this list, Shaq and Manu were both fairly low on taking shots this year(11.2), though they retained their efficiency, and Dwight Howard and Kevin Martin’s efficiency levels are crazy.  For a perimeter player, Martin is flat out insane.

Anything else you think the Hornets need desperately?  Comment away.

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