Lowered Expectations

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Published: September 2, 2009

46.5.

That’s what the ESPN experts arrived at for the number of wins we can expect the Hornets to produce this year.  That rounds up to 47, which ties them on ESPN’s list as the 6th seed in the West.  A year ago, the Hornets were generally expected to win at least ten more than that, and to contend for the Western Conference crown.  What a difference a year and the Game Which Will Not Be Named can make in expectations for a team.

So, are those expectations warranted?  Niall asked what all of you thought would make a successful season, and we’ve seen some pretty different views, but in general the expectations are somewhat north of 50 wins for the team.

My take?  I’ll channel Spock and state “47 wins is illogical.”

My 5-point reasoning:

  1. When Tyson was traded for Emeka Okafor, we compared Okafor’s production last year to Tyson’s last healthy year.  It was, essentially, a wash.  However, Tyson only played 52 games last year, and when he did play only gave 75% of the production he did in his last healthy year.  Therefore, Okafor isn’t a minor upgrade, he’s a major one over what the Hornets got last year.
  2. Rasual Butler was a below-average producer by every statistical measure, yet he soaked up the third most minutes on the team.  Butler is gone, and appears likely to have his minutes taken by Peja, Posey and Wright, all of whom produce more.  Peterson could also mix in, and he should produce essentially the same.
  3. Ike Diogu was signed to replace minutes given to Hilton Armstrong and Melvin Ely.  Hilton Armstrong and Melvin Ely were two of the least productive players in the entire NBA last year.  Diogu has already proven he’s better than that.  Any minutes he takes will be a gain for the Hornets.
  4. The injuries we saw last year will probably be about what we’ll see this year.(Minus Tyson’s struggles, since he’s gone)  Maybe Peja misses more than 61 games with that balky back, but the rest of the team doesn’t have any worrisome injury history that we should be alarmed about.
  5. Daniels won’t be any worse than we saw last year.  It’s possible Collison may be better.

If you take all of the above, how does it make sense that the Hornets will win 2 less games than last year?  It seems to me that the Hornets will be fielding a team very similar in talent as the one two years ago that won 56 games.  Of course, I’ll also be the first to admit the team probably overacheived by a few games in 2007-2008, so, at least until I run the numbers like I do every season, I’m settling on 53 wins for the Hornets next season.  What do you all think?

Finally, in honor of the Lowered Expectations title, here’s a great “Lowered Expectations” dating service clip from MAD TV, a show that was damn good during its initial four or five seasons.  I had a hard time deciding between Eddie Murphy, Keanu Reeves, Mrs. Barone or Bjork.(One leg is Easter . . . one leg is Christmas . . .  come and visit me betweeeeeen the Holidays!)

I went with Keanu.  Enjoy . . . doods.

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