« What we don’t know when a play goes wrong
Rookie Report: Inside the Numbers »
Let’s Become the Magic
With the obvious struggles and budget concerns its clear the Hornets are not at the level they were at two years ago and won’t be for some time. They also have several immovable contracts and the ones they could move are those of their two all stars, Paul and West. That leaves two options: continue to be a middle of the pack type team for the next few years knowing they won’t compete for a title OR change it up and do what they can with the current roster. Without making any crazy trades with West or Paul here is how the Hornets can transform into an entertaining team that will thrive by causing matchup problems for their opponents.
The Hornets need to become the 2008-2009 Orlando Magic for the next few years and capitalize on a unique style of play. That Magic team was led by Jameer Nelson, a diminutive penetrating guard that looked to hit his shooters and make open jump shots. They also had Dwight Howard, an offensively challenged center known for his defense, shot blocking ability and rebounding. Hedo Turkoglu was their small forward, but often ran pick and rolls as a point forward at the end of games. Rashard Lewis was their stretch power forward who mostly settled on the three point arc. Courtney Lee was a rookie shooter whose only responsibility was to hit open shots.
The current version of the Hornets does not have all the necessary pieces but I think they could win more games by using Orlando’s style. One of the glaring differences is Hedo Turkoglu, however with Paul’s ability to run the pick and roll to perfection, I believe this could be made up for. Picture Chris Paul getting in to the lane and kicking it out to three different shooters, with Okafor anchored underneath to chase down rebounds. Marcus Thornton could easily be Courtney Lee. That leaves Stojakovich and David West. Obviously, there’s no problem with Peja spotting up around the arc for threes. That leaves David West to be our ‘Rashard Lewis.’ Although he doesn’t have three point range, he can hit a consistent 16 foot jump shot which should be enough given Paul’s ability to find him, as well as his ability to run the pick and roll with Paul. James Posey could also come in as the ‘stretch four.’
I think this is the best-case scenario for the franchise right now and the only way to compete in the ever-toughening Western Conference.