What’s next for NOLA?

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Published: February 16, 2010

The Hornets are a franchise in transition but the future looks clouded. Financially and technically, New Orleans is stuck with a team talented enough to be outside the basement of the Western Conference but not good enough to be in playoff contention. But why are the Hornets on a tough spot? Because they do have a superstar but those around are either too young or too old and most of them are untradeable.

The Hornets have this character, David West, who can score the basketball in so many ways and is such a phenomenal, deadly score but that doesn’t contribute anywhere else. He’s not a consistent rebounder, a good passer or a decent defender. He makes a lot of money and Jeff Bower can’t trade him, otherwise Chris Paul goes insane because his last All Star helper still in good conditions would be gone. They also have 140 years old Peja Stojakovic that still shows up to shoot on national television but that hasn’t been as consistent throughout the season. Don’t forget about James Posey who has played a lot better lately but that is still incredibly overpaid to be a bench player and is getting older. Plus, Emeka Okafor who can’t be traded because he’s terrible.

But the future looks promising at least. This season’s draft picks are slowly becoming important parts of the organization. Rookie Darren Collison has really stepped up in the recent absence of Chris Paul. NO has played without the other rookie sensation, Marcus Thornton, who has been out in the past week. Thornton is a shooting guard that just takes so many shots and that bothers a lot those who watch, and probably those who play alongside him, but he’s a rookie and should be fine. Thornton is not a deadly shooter but a skilled Swingman that can dribble his way to the basket.

The main problem on the big Easy may be that inside the court wasn’t necessarily the franchise’s main thought since day one. The Hornets obsession since the summer was to get under the league’s luxury tax line, so they become eligible to receive the $4.5 million dollar bonus paid by the league to non-paying tax teams. That’s a goal they achieved by donating Rasual Butler to the Clippers and Hilton Armstrong to the Kings for conditional draft picks in 2016 and trading Bobby Brown also to the Clippers and Devin Brown to the Bulls.

It’s amazing how things move fast on the National Basketball Association. Two seasons ago, the Hornets were a game away from the Western Conference Finals and nowadays they just had to promote a yard sale in order to get a league bonus and on the way, completely throwing their season away. Although there are some bright spots on this team, it’s tough to imagine them going anywhere on the near future.

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