« How Does Vegas View the Hornets?
ESPN’s Experts See Playoffs as Unlikely
ESPN.com gathered up a group of NBA experts (with TrueHoop’s Brian Widhorst and Michael Wallace now on the list, as well as Zach Harper from the Daily Dime) in order to predict the finishes of all the NBA teams. The Hornets didn’t fare as well as their fans would like, but from what the predictions say the team could be battling for a playoff spot all year long.
Considering the Hornets, as built, aren’t really a team that is capable of winning it all, it’s possible the most exciting thing to happen would be a long battle for the last playoff spot out West. It’s hard to see things going too much better than that since the entire conference is so stupidly deep. Only the Lakers, Mavs and Thunder are complete locks to make the postseason. Then you have the next tier of teams-
The Spurs, Rockets, Trailblazers, Jazz, Hornets, Suns, Nuggets, Clippers and Grizzlies all have a legitimate shot of grabbing the final 5 postseason spots out West, and even the Kings could sneak in if Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins play to their potential.
Overall the 10 experts predicted that the Hornets would average a 4.1-th place finish in the Southwest, and a 9.9-th finish in the West overall.
A few choice opinions from the article:
John Hollinger, ESPN.com | Hollinger’s picks
Since he was rarely healthy last season, it’s easy to forget how dominant Chris Paul can be at full strength. His star-studded play should keep the Hornets above .500 and in the playoff chase despite a paper-thin frontcourt and the usual miserable cap management.
J.A. Adande, ESPN.com | Adande’s picks
As long as the payroll costs take priority, Chris Paul will be in purgatory. But at least he’ll be in New Orleans for a full season. Doubt we’ll be able to say that next season.
Chris Broussard, ESPN The Mag | Broussard’s picks
Obviously, I’m not putting much stock in the preseason. I am a believer in Chris Paul, though, and even though he doesn’t want to be with the mediocre Hornets, his talent can lift them to playoff berth. Monty Williams is a good young coach and Trevor Ariza should thrive next to Paul.