Hornets Power Rankings- Week One

Published: October 31, 2010

Other sites have their weekly NBA rankings, speculating on how each team stacks up against each other based on some subjective formula and who knows what other criteria. I am not going to pretend like I have watched all 30 NBA teams closely enough to do that with any integrity, but I have watched every Hornet play this season and I feel like I know enough to rank the players on this team. So every week we will update the list and focus on ranking the players from most valuable to least valuable.

This isn’t a ranking of best stats, although stats will be incorporated. Instead, the list will rank players on how much they have contributed to the Hornets success this season, therefore emphasizing how valuable and/or irreplaceable they are. Without further adieu, your week one rankings:

1. Chris Paul: 20.0 PPG, 9.3 APG, 6.0 RPG 50%FG, 90%FT, 43% 3PT 30.3 PER, #1 in NBA in Win Share

Without question, CP3 has been the MVP of this team so far this season. In all three games this season Chris Paul simply willed his team to victory in the final minutes of the game. With 1:03 left in the Milwaukee game, the Hornets were up by 1 point with the ball. Paul drove hard to the hoop and got fouled. Before calmly sinking the two free throws he slapped Emeak in the chest and yelled, “C’mon, it’s winning time!” Thanks to CP3, all the Hornets have experienced this season are winning times.

2. David West:  19.0 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 57%FG, Highest Points per 40 minutes on the team

If West could stay out of foul trouble, his numbers this season could be phenomenal. He is averaging under 30 minutes per game this season, which is far less than his usual 36-38 MPG. Still, he is as efficient as ever offensively and he is a new man on the defensive end. Perhaps it is Monty or perhaps it is because he does not have to expend so much energy on the offensive end. Whatever it is, D West is back in All-Star form.

3. Marcus Thornton: 11.7 PPG, 52% FG, 23.2 PER, 2nd highest Usage % on the team, 2nd in Pts per 40 minutes

Without Marcus, the Hornets are 2-1 at best, and likely would be 1-2 on the season. Against Denver and in San Antonio, the Hornets offense sputtered, and when it did, Thornton stepped up and provided the spark that the team needed. In the Spurs game his big Buckets slowed the momentum of the Spurs run. No way the Hornets win that game without him.

4. Willie Green: 7.3 PPG, 50%FG, 18.5 PER, .577 TS%

The standard stat sheet might not show that Green has been the 4th most valuable Hornet this season, but a closer look tells you that he has been.  He is 4th on the team in PER and he has played three different positions already in this young season. His versatility, defense, and good decisions so far this season have made him the Hornets biggest surprise.

5. Trevor Ariza: 10.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 2.7 SPG

Ariza has been tasked with covering the other teams’ best offensive wing every night and has done a good job (except for a couple moments in the Denver game when Melo got hot). His strip of Salmons opening night won the Hornets the game and his rotations this season have been stellar. He will move up this list if he can find his role on the offensive end and if he can cut down on the turnovers.

6. Emeka Okafor:  7.3 PPG, 7 RPG, 60% FG, 1.7 BPG, 67% FT

Okafor’s offensive numbers have been a little disappointing this season, and his rebounding numbers are down as well. Normally Okafor can be counted on for 4 offensive rebounds a night, but this season he is below 2. Those extra 2 possesions could be huge for the Hornets if their games continue to come down to the final two minutes. He needs to stay out of foul trouble and finish around the rim more aggressively and maybe he can move into the top 5 on this list.

7. Marco Belinelli: 8.7 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 2 APG

After a terrific preseason, Marco has had his ups and downs so far during the regular season. His hustle and decision making has been wonderful, but he simply hasn’t found his stroke from deep yet as he is just 3 for 10 on the year.

8. DJ Mbenga: 1.3 BPG, 12.1 Blk% (next highest Hornet is at 5.6%)

Mbenga could never be a starting center in this league and he probably won’t ever be able to give more than 15 minutes a night, but he is a legit 7 footer that makes plays on the defensive end and changes shots. Yes he picks up bad fouls, but when he is on the court he gives this team an element that no other player on the roster can.

9. Pops Mensah- Bonsu: Leader on team in rebounds per 40 minutes

You don’t want Pops doing anything other cleaning up trash on the offensive end, but defensively he has been very versatile. He has covered centers, power forwards, and even Carmelo Anthony and Corey Magette this season.

10. Jerryd Bayless: 3 PPG, 2 RPG, 1.7 APG

Bayless simply has not gotten a chance to get comfortable with his teammates, and as a result he has been a turnover machine. It will take time, as it did for DC last season, but once he cuts down on the turnovers I can see him shooting up this list thanks to his dynamic scoring ability that we have seen in flashes.

11. Peja Stojakovic: 2 Games Played, 5.0 PPG, 50% 3PT

Peja did not even see the court in the San Antonio game, as Monty had no use for him on either end of the court. In the two games he has played, he made a couple of key shots at crucial times and his defense was not horrible.

12. Jason Smith: 6.7 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 18 MPG

I know I will get killed for this one because the stat sheet says that he has been fairly valuable this season- he is the 8th leading scorer and has played the 7th most amount of minutes. If that makes you feel better, then fine, but this is MY list and MY eyeballs tell me Jason Smith has been the least valuable player of the young season. Yes he hustles, and yes he makes the occasional offensive play, but this team needs bigs that make an impact on the defensive end and Smith has been awful on that end. He is horrible at hedging on pick and rolls and picks up bad fouls 30 feet from the basket that leads to point guards getting 2 easy free throws. His rotations are horrible in the paint and he stops the ball flow when moving it around the perimeter on offense. I am rooting for the guy because I know he wants so bad to do well, but so far he has been the LVH (Least Valuable Hornet).

Not Ranked:

Aaron Gray

Quincy Pondexter

Joe Alexander


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