Great post and it is funny how different the attitude would be if we started 2-4 and then won 11 of 12 instead of vice-versa. People just got a little spoiled and had unrealistic projections of where this team was going. It is a good, solid team, but most importantly a culture is being put in place that will sustain beyond this season. I still don't believe this season will be a great one and I will consider a trip to the 2nd round a huge success, but I am increasingly optomistic about the next 5-7 years and perhaps beyond.
Through 17 Games . . .
Through 17 games . . . we needed to show something. Why? Someone made that up, but they were pretty adamant about it. It was noted very early on that we needed a hot start. But how could we? Chris, we were told, didn’t want to play here. We weren’t good enough, we weren’t smart enough, and gosh darn it, no one liked us. Well, go talk all the jive to Katrina, Rita, Gustav, Betsy, BP, Tony Heyward, Dennis Hastert, the bankers in 1927, the British in 1815, Nick Saban, and everyone that said The Bless You Boys weren’t good enough for a Black and Gold Super Bowl. This is our team. These are our boys. Just live everyone that’s here today came here, or some ancestor did, for whatever reason, and fell in love . . . these guys are a part of our city, and that part is growing. We don’t take kindly to people running our city or our boys into the ground. You may beat us, once or once-and-for-all, but you won’t forget New Orleans or the pop we’ll give you in the mouth. We’ve been doing our thing for 300 years. We don’t need to show you . . . anything. But, we are hospitable, so here: take a gander. We’ll feed you while you’re at it, too. Have a Hubig’s . . .
Through 17 games . . . we won 12 games. 13 games were against the West. We swept the East, including the most hyped team in history: Chris Bosh, Kim, and Paris, the now 10-8 Miami Heat, leaving us at 8-5 in the West. At home, we were 7-1, 4-1 against the West, losing only to the NBA-best Spurs. Therefore, we fared less well on the road, posting a 5-4 record on the road, 4-4 against the West, highlighted by a win against those same Spurs. We split or won the series-so-far against our division opponents and haven’t lost 2 games to a single opponent yet. We haven’t lost 3 in a row.
Through 17 games . . . we showed up on the scouting reports.
Through 17 games . . . we’ve seen no major injuries. Last year at this time, we lost Chris Paul once already.
Through 17 games . . . we have gotten rid of every player whose contract-to-value was clearly disproportionately large. There are people who may argue that our two $10m+ players are not worth it. Chris won’t have that problem outside of Utah. Emeka gets more flak for his salary, since he’s not the player Paul is, but he’s a good center and centers have the highest average salary in the NBA. Compare this to 6 months ago when we had Peja, Mo, and Posey on our team, chewing up close to $30m. One could argue that Banks’ deal is bad since they told him to stay home, but he’ll be dealt and we’ll not feel that salary.
Through 17 games . . . we are continuing to make roster moves.
Through 17 games . . . we have seen some players emerge from obscurity to join the ranks of the relatively obscure . . . kidding. We have a few players on our team that have gotten some attention where they haven’t had any before, or at least in a while. Jason Smith is drawing defense. Willie Green is thriving, not surviving, as a key bench player. Marco Belinelli is proving that he can be the player everyone thought he could be. Trevor Ariza is proving he can play away from the Lakers, and his 3 against the Heat was the biggest shot of the season so far. These guys have each lifted our hearts, and our spirits, and our glasses when no one thought they could. I hope they know that, too. They worked hard their whole lives to have those moments whether it be for the first time or the last time.
Through 17 games . . . we’ve seen our two most important rookies shine.
Through 17 games . . . muckrakers be damned, we are currently averaging 14,241 people per game (this link may show a different number if we are past November). In 2007-2008, we averaged 14,181. The Hornets are taking hold in this city.
Through 17 games . . . we have hope, we are starting to have faith, and we are beginning to believe that we can be champions in time.
Through 17 games . . . we had a damned fine time. Laissez les bon temps rouler!
This post was submitted by 420ftJesus.