Hornets defeat Washington for second straight road victory

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Published: January 1, 2011

Chris Paul follows Hornets247 on his twitter account and I am convinced he forwarded today’s Game On write up to Trevor Ariza. How else can you explain Ariza’s breakout performance? The guys has been simply horrendous this month, but he was the difference tonight, finishing with 22 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 steals in the Hornets 92-81 victory at the Verizon Center.

It wasn’t only the points that he scored, but the way that he got them that was so impressive tonight. He forced turnovers that led to breakaway layups, he hit jumpers (both open and contested), and he drove to the basket in the half court when Washington ran out at home. Those drives led to three layups and one dunk that sent the Hornets bench into a frenzy, as he took off from 8 feet out and dunked right on the head of shot blocker extrodanaire Javale McGee.

For the Hornets, six players scored in double figures, including all five starters. Ariza led the team, but Okafor chipped in with 17 points on only eight shots and Jarrett Jack gave the Hornets 12 off the bench. Chris Paul, meanwhile, focused on setting up his teammates on the offensive end and making John Wall’s life a living hell on the defensive end. Paul had seven steals, and he and Ariza were largely responsible for the rookie’s game high eight turnovers.

Washington got solid efforts from Nick Young (24 points) and Javale McGee (12,13, and 6 blocks) but got practically nothing from their undermanned bench. The Wizards reserves went 4-14 and scored just 11 points total, as they obviously missed veterans Kirk Hinrich and Josh Howard on the second unit. Hinrich specifically could have proven incredibly useful early on, as John Wall picked up his second foul just two minutes into the game and was forced to go to the bench for the remainder of the quarter.

Other Notes and Observations:

– The Hornets bench was pathetic again in the first half as they helped turn a three point New Orleans lead into a 13 point deficit. Luckily CP3 and the other starters came back in and got it down to a manageable five point deficit at halftime. In the second half Monty kept West and Ariza in with the second unit rather than just subbing all five guys. The Hornets had much more success with that group, as CP3 left with the game tied at 62 and returned with an 8 point lead.

– Guys on IR in the NBA are the equivalent of backup quarterbacks. When the team is losing, those guys are always the fans’ answer to all the problems. Aaron Gray, Marcus Thornton, Pops Mensah-Bonsu. I have read the comments for weeks and people swear the Hornets are losing because, in large part, these guys aren’t getting the playing time they deserve. I will say it again; our bench has coaches with nearly 40 years of NBA experience and none of us get to see what goes on in practice. If these guys were that good, they would be playing. The answer to the Hornets woes are not named Thornton, Pops, or Gray.

– Want to know the real reason Gray was playing tonight? The Hornets have until Wednesday to decide whether or not they want to guarantee Pops and Mbenga for the rest of the year. If they decline, and go with a guy like Gray instead, they can pick up another 2 million or so in a trade without going over the lux tax. The Hornets are a little more than 3.5 mil under the tax now, so if they pick up a 5 million dollar guy (for example) using a TPE, it will actually cost them about 10 million dollars once you factor in the rebate check and everything. Long story short, every penny counts and if the Hornets don’t think there is a huge difference between Mbenga and Gray, Mbenga is gone for that reason.

– With all that said, Aaron Gray looked awful tonight and while I expect Pops gone, I hope the Hornets keep Mbenga for 1.1 mil. Things could be worse, however. All joking aside, I honestly think that Hilton Armstrong is the worst player in the NBA who actually gets minutes. The worst.

– John Wall will be a stud in 2 years, but he isn’t ready to go up against the elite point guards just yet. The Wizards announcers were making a comparison between Wall’s rookie year and CP3’s rookie year and showed that they had similar stats. There is one exception, however- CP3 was leading his team to wins and had inferior talent.

– I would give up anyone outside of West or CP3 to get McGee. Yes I love how Okafor is playing, but McGee would be straight nasty with CP3. Give him this year to understand the system and by next year he could be exceeding what Tyson did while he was here.

– Awesome job with the captions guys- I was dying laughing. Answer to the pop quiz: Milwaukee, Charlotte, Cleveland, and New Jersey- which means that the Hornets are the lowest scoring team out West. Good thing for that new and improved D and the new emphasis on rebounding.

– Hornets have two winnable home games (Philly and GS) before a rematch with the Lakers at the Staples Center. Let’s get out and support them!

65 Comments

  1. Ron

    January 1, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    While the Box Score shows that the bench was anemic on Offense, how did they do on Defense?

    • 42

      January 1, 2011 at 9:09 pm

      In an 11 pt win, they should have a +/- of about 3. Jack had a +3. The other guys were all -.

      • paul

        January 2, 2011 at 12:27 pm

        Well, until everybody stops presenting silly stats like the +/- as meaningful, I guess i will respond as I do.
        Sorry…I all dumb when I see it.
        It is a non sensible stat and as such deserves little attention.
        I didn’t think I was directing anything at you, but you seem to have taken it thus.
        I did, however, present a better replacement…it is when more relevant data is applied that it becomes useful and then useable.

    • paul

      January 2, 2011 at 9:29 am

      i give up on that +/-.
      It seems that until it has been “Adjusted +/-… which takes into account who you play with and against, is more valuable, but it takes a large sample size to get good results (a few seasons).”, it’s pretty stupid.
      Really, why would it mean anything until details are taken into consideration?
      There are a whole lot of stats used in sports that are meaningless until great detail is put into them. Otherwise they are nothing more than snapshots or words(numbers) taken out of context.
      Very manipulated.

      • paul

        January 2, 2011 at 9:31 am

        This was given to me by Celeb462, whom I have learned to give a graet deal of respect to when it comes to looking deeply into the thinking part of basketball.

      • 42

        January 2, 2011 at 10:04 am

        Lots of people here, including me, know the limitations of stats. I tried to give some context for how the bench played on defense compared to their offense. My point is: not that well.

        I tried to break it down as fairly as I could and give a quick answer.

        Pound on the stat all you want, but until you produce a better answer in response to a comment posted about a half-hour after the game, you, and Ron, are going to get answers like that.

        It’s easy to pick on stats, but it’s hard to produce answers.

        Also, I didn’t hear anyone contradicting the conclusion this time.

      • paul

        January 2, 2011 at 3:04 pm

        Well, until everybody stops presenting silly stats like the +/- as meaningful, I guess i will respond as I do.
        Sorry…I call dumb when I see it.
        It is a non sensible stat and as such deserves little attention.
        I didn’t think I was directing anything at you, but you seem to have taken it thus.
        I did, however, present a better replacement…it is when more relevant data is applied that it becomes useful and then useable.

      • 42

        January 2, 2011 at 4:07 pm

        The adjusted +/- wasn’t available on the pages I was looking at half an hour after the game.

        In this case, I think it told the story.

        I take very personally, so no issue there. However, I’d more enjoy someone sharing the information they have so we can all benefit, like what the bench’s adjusted +/- was to answet Ron. It just makes for betrer conversation.

  2. BeesGivingEffort

    January 1, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    Yay for 2 game win streaks.

    It is an undeniable truth that Monty holds a different standard to MT5. Talk about whether he’s the answer or not. But that statement is fact. We all notice how MT5 is pressing on offense. We also notice that if Marcus is not going completely bananas he doesn’t see the floor much at all. It’s kind of a no-win situation in the long term. Our 2 guards have all sucked lately for the most part. I don’t think it’s unrealistic to want to see Marcus get to play with players who actually move the ball around. The bench guards ALL look for their own shots. Rarely do they pass to each other. They will pass to the big to set up a high-low situation but that’s about it. Belinelli is constantly getting fed and bricking wide-open looks by CP3/David in the flow of the offense. All Marcus’ shots are off the dribble or off multiple screens that have him moving away from the basket as he’s shooting the ball. I’ve been waiting for a comment from Mike or Joe and I just don’t understand why people see Belinelli is a clear upgrade to Marcus. Someone please explain it to me. All I hear is that he’s not the answer. I don’t get an answer why, especially with Marco’s defense being a lot worse than it was to start the season.

    • 42

      January 1, 2011 at 9:24 pm

      What would you consider to be a fair comparison we could by looking at games this season so far and a few upcoming games?

      • BeesGivingEffort

        January 1, 2011 at 9:52 pm

        The only games I recall Marcus getting to play significant time with Chris and the other starters was the Sac-town and Spurs games. If you are not going to start Marcus in a trial run (which I’m sure Monty will not do as his pride will not allow it), then if Belinelli throws up his normal 0-5 or 1-7 first half stinker, play him to start the 3rd. Belinelli has been a monster in the fourth quarter recently anyways. I just want to see Marcus get an actual sample size with players than can run a real offense instead of 3 guards taking turns with who gets to shoot the ball, which is what happens. Pipe dreams after all.

        A win is a win.

      • 42

        January 1, 2011 at 9:59 pm

        So there’s no comparison we can do unless Marcus is starting?

        A bit of a chicken-egg problem eh?

      • paul

        January 2, 2011 at 9:37 am

        well, there IS one thing we can do…trade for a second team point guard.
        Some body who really wants to manage and direct the team.
        Right now I don’t see this.
        I see a whole lot of individual games going on.

        BeesGivingEffort really nails it with…”The bench guards ALL look for their own shots. Rarely do they pass to each other. They will pass to the big to set up a high-low situation but that’s about it.”

        Good catch and analysis.

      • 42

        January 2, 2011 at 10:14 am

        You are talking about something else entirely, Paul.

        I’m asking what can we do do make a guard-comparison that will satisfy Bees as to who is good at what.

        He keeps saying he doesn’t get it and things like “Someone please explain it to me. All I hear is that he’s not the answer.”

        And he’s not alone.

        Personally, I think they are all inconsistent, so there’s no reason to change. Frankly, Marcus has improved a good deal since last season being behind the 8-ball, so to speak. We may just be seeing some coaching psychology going on. We may be seeing a `grudge’ as Bees speculated. We may be seeing something else entirely.

        But regardless, I was talking about comparing who we have, not trading. Trading a guy away may help or hurt, but it doesn’t explain anything.

      • paul

        January 2, 2011 at 11:14 am

        42..
        No I got what you were say, and I kind of agree the way they have been performing so far.
        I am not that aware of their individual abilities, so I can’t say if they have or do not have the skills needed to become the second team leader or scorer needed.
        I was trying to say IF they do not, then one is needed.
        But I agree with you as things stand.

        My two new year wishes for this team.
        First, they get this second team going.
        By somebody they have now stepping up or getting somebody.
        This to me is right now the missing link for this team to be second or third round contenders.
        Second…the second team middle player.
        MBenga is not quality enough for me. Not for long minutes and that means no playoff success.
        Gray, I think he can be…but ofcourse nobody can say for sure because the guy hase NEVER been given the chance.
        Not in Chicago, not here.
        He came here recovering from a broken leg and it would take serious playing time to get into NBA shape.
        He has never gotten this.
        He’s been in shape now this season, but never given good minutes.
        This is a major position this team needs.
        No team makes it without a quality second center.
        Nobody.

        So, 42, those are my two wishes for the Hornets IF they are to be a team I would invest money for season tickets.

        I would have known about Gray by this trade deadline IF we had given him time.
        We instead put MBenga on the floor and we KNEW about him.
        It was a stupid waste of valuable evaluation time.

    • Michael McNamara

      January 1, 2011 at 9:32 pm

      To me, Marco is not an upgrade- he just is a stop gap that doesn’t mess up the flow on the court. I assume most of us have played pickup basketball. Now imagine you and your two friends make a nice solid 3, you pick up a lanky defender, and then you have to fill out the 5th spot. there are two options:

      1.) A guy who is fine not touching the ball if others are hot, but can stretch the D if need be

      2.) A guy who calls for a pick and roll, then uses it, drives 5 feet, then backs it back out and shoots an off balanced jumper. Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don’t- but that isn’t the point. The point is that the rest of the team is just standing around waiting.

      The Hornets have 3 shooting guards (if you include Green) and ALL of them have glaring weaknesses, and NONE of them are the answer. My point simply was that if Willie and Marcus were getting all the PT and playing bad- fans would be screaming for Marco and saying things like “Remember when he had 22 against Detroit or when he lit up Cleveland?”

      One guy will be the odd man out and the other two who play will have more bad games than good games because they are below average players, and therefore the third guy will always be the hero in the eyes of fans because he is the guy who fans only point the good things out about while leaving out the bad.

      • BeesGivingEffort

        January 1, 2011 at 9:58 pm

        Michael,

        Has Marcus gotten the time with the starters like the other 3?

        The answer is no.

        Everyone’s quick to point out Marcus’ problems but his playing style is too similar to our other bench guards. They don’t mesh at all. But we’ve seen plenty of JJ,WG,Belinelli playing with the starting lineup and they still don’t live up to expectations most of the time.

        Is it really unrealistic to ask for his chance with legitimate players?

    • Hornet

      January 1, 2011 at 9:38 pm

      It is not fact. Marcus has been the 6th man for us in the past 8 games or so (ever since the Sacto game) and he’s play terrible. He’s played like crap. He doesn’t deserve anything right now.

      • BeesGivingEffort

        January 1, 2011 at 9:54 pm

        Really? And Green and Belinelli and Jack haven’t played like crap? The point is. THEY HAVE. But they are entitled to their playing time by Monty regardless.

      • Hornet

        January 1, 2011 at 10:00 pm

        Green and Belinelli don’t shoot 10+ times in under 20 minutes though. Green also has only been back 2 games, so give him a break. Dude is a veteran leader for the bench. Belinelli is inconsistent yes, but we went 11 – 1 with him in the starting line up. With a guy that hasn’t seen minutes like this before, it’s best to show confidence in him so that he can gain consistency. Only way to do it. Jack and Thornton don’t play the same position, so that’s that.

        Thornton constantly jacks up shots and is playing only for himself. Not the team. Look at Pondexter when he gets his minutes. He plays like a team player, and looks solid. Thornton looks for himself, and that is NOT what Monty wants. By the way, not sure if you remember but Thornton was the 6th man for Bowser until the very end of the season (only started like 20 games.) Marcus is made to be a 6th man, not a starter, and Monty has been using him as a 6th man for the past 8 or so games. Be thankful Monty didn’t give Willie those rights after he came back.

      • MaxALM

        January 1, 2011 at 11:22 pm

        This conversation isn’t going anywhere until we actually see Marcus get PT with the starters. That’s what BeesGE is asking for. He comes in with a minute or two left in Q1 and plays into the second quarter. That’s usually when CP3 is subbed out, and then the bench is obviously playing at the top of Q2. Rarely do you see him come in midway thru Q1, or the end of Q2 when CP is back in. Same cycle usually for the 2nd half.

        You’ll get the same results from doing the same thing. Maybe Marcus just can’t play well without a good playmaker. But when every other guard is playing like crap, there’s nothing to lose by trying it out. A few road Ws doesn’t mean our problems are solved. Start him for a handful of games, and if that doesn’t work, then us Marcus-lovers will shut up.

      • MaxALM

        January 1, 2011 at 11:40 pm

        Also, to say that Thornton plays for himself is a misstatement. He shoots the ball more than any other bench player, yes, but when EVERYONE on the bench is looking for their own shot–yes EVERYONE–who would you rather have taking those shots than Marcus?

        Sure, if Jack or Green are wide open, then that’s one thing. The issue is that bench play has been awful and you can’t pin it on one person. Someone has to take those shots. Smith has literally one offensive skill–shooting at the elbows. Mbenga/Gray should never shoot the ball unless they are point blank for a wide open dunk. Jack is off and on, Green takes ugly shots when he creates for himself.

        So when the bench is playing awful as a UNIT, with no one really creating for other players, I think most people would rather have Marcus taking shots than anyone else. It’s easy to say Marcus only looks for his own shot, but think about this–in a bench unit of Jack, Thornton, Green, Smith, and Mbenga/Gray, who is the first option on offense?? My answer is clearly Marcus.

      • Hornet

        January 2, 2011 at 12:41 am

        It’s not just him taking shots. It’s him waving off Jack when Jack is asking for the ball to start a play so that MT can try to do his thing. It’s stuff like forcing things when they aren’t there.

        Would it be a bad idea to start MT? No, probably not. But my point is, what has he done to earn the starting spot this year? He’s had a couple of really great games and the rest were stinkers. If we were having this discussion after the 2nd Jazz game or the Nets game then I’d probably be agreeing with you but Monty has been using him as a 6th man and he hasn’t done anything with it. He was able to last year so it’s not that he can’t play without playmakers. If Marcus starts outplaying Belinelli for 3-5 games or so then I’ll agree with you but for now he’s not.

      • sundance

        January 2, 2011 at 1:24 am

        @bees,
        Believe me when I say I would love to see Marcus starting alongside CP and DWest; he’s got such a quickness losing his defender in getting to the basket that Marco can’t possibly do. I agree Marco’s been shooting poorly (yes, like ‘crap’), but the thing is he doesn’t let that affect his game. He doesn’t force shots and he isn’t the hi-volume chucker you think he is. Tonight’s game could easily have devolved into the wizards’ frenetic pace, but Chris kept the hornets offense under control and Beli was a part of that. What I saw tonight and yesterday is that Marco is no longer stuck in the corner most of the time; he’s out at the top of the key at times to initiate the halfcourt offense. To me it looks like Monty wants Chris to be more of a scorer.

        You seem determined to pit Beli against Marcus, I don’t. They’re 2 very different players. I would love to see Beli assume more of a playmaking role off the bench; he did the same thing this past summer with his NT. Who knows if he could make the bench more productive? It’s the only difference of opinion I have with Monty. But the reality is that even if Marco did come off the bench, Monty would probably simply swap out Marco with Willie Green.

      • m-W

        January 2, 2011 at 12:27 pm

        I’m totally befuddled by people that are concerned about Marcus Buckets’ “chucking.” As MaxALM said, who else do you want shooting on the second unit? He’s probably our third best scorer, period; and certainly our best off the bench.

        Sure Marcus can create his own shot, but remember how successful he was coming off screens last year? Where is that? Monty needs to run more plays for Marcus. Monty preaches “trust” but I don’t feel that he trusts Marcus or that Marcus trusts him. That is Monty’s fault. To be clear, I like Monty as a coach, but just don’t see that MT5 makes us a worse team.

        Like others, I would like to see him get a few starts. No slam on Belli, but just see how it works for like 8 games. Better to find out now how that works, rather than be tinkering come March.

  3. andy

    January 1, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    picking up josh howard next year at a reasonable number would be quite lovely.

  4. QueenBee

    January 1, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    Happy New Year Hornets!!!

  5. mbdtf

    January 1, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    We win 2 road games in a row! The bench was very questionable at times, but as soon as CP3 gets back out there, things turn around. And where has this been Trevor!?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9QoipKoNkk

    • NOH Domination

      January 3, 2011 at 6:49 pm

      How can anyone thumbs down this? Is JaVale McGee reading the blog?

      • NOH Domination

        January 3, 2011 at 6:56 pm

        If you are Mr. McGee, please demand a trade to the Hornets.

  6. NolaHog

    January 1, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    Way to go Hornets. I would say I wasn’t worried about this game, but after the Timberwolves fiasco, I don’t count any games as gimmes. We are 6-4 in our last 10 games. It’s nice to be on a positive streak. Two days to rest before the 76ers. I’d love to give those guys some payback. Hopefully all of the Sugar Bowl visitors will turn out for the game on Monday.

    Ariza fucking FACED McGee on that dunk! That’s what I’m talking about, baby.

    • QueenBee

      January 1, 2011 at 11:21 pm

      I loved that dunk! That’s the Ariza I’ve been looking for.

      We owe the Sixers a beatin and with Iguodala out, we’d damn sure better give them one.

    • Taquito

      January 2, 2011 at 3:30 am

      I literally screamed OHHHHH NEGRO! when ariza dunked on mcgee, feels so good to win

      • JCS

        January 2, 2011 at 3:31 pm

        Who you calling negro Taquito?

  7. MaxJD_Nola2NYC

    January 2, 2011 at 2:09 am

    I’m waiting for that sixers beating, especially now that we are Undefeated in 2011 (jk) I know we weren’t supposed to say that. Can’t wait till monday night! Thornton will post 20pts mark my words

  8. JaeAmazin

    January 2, 2011 at 2:45 am

    2 in A Row..I’ll Take It!!

  9. paul

    January 2, 2011 at 8:18 am

    This whole story has a few weird thoughts, thoughts I would not expect from understanding the game.

    First, Beesgiveingeffort has it right on several points.
    First, the second unit has no leader.
    They have nobody good enough at passing, or at least not showing this,and instead fall nto selfish street ball every damned time. The moving stops. the passing stops.
    Until this changes there will be no cohesive successful second unit.

    Gray. Saying that Gray looked awful last night with only 4 minutes of play time and 30 in total the entire season is bewildering. Stupifying(?).
    To judge him when all around him you have players doing their punkball thing and throwing up numbers like :
    Jack 3/8
    Green 2/8
    Thornton 0/3….
    THESE were the “stud” leaders on the floor with him.
    I saw several times when Gray was open for a dunk and the ballhog kept dribbling around, looking for his shot.

    To say Gray looked horrible is….well, a horrible statement for a reviewer.

    • 42

      January 2, 2011 at 9:59 am

      Some of Jack’s misses resulted in free throws. Jack had a nice scoring game.

      • m-W

        January 2, 2011 at 12:37 pm

        I’m with 42 on Jack, his shot wasn’t falling, but Jack got to the line. Belinelli did the same before hitting those late two 3s. I really liked that aggressive play to make something work.

        But I’m really with paul on the Aaron Gray thing. Immediately Gray was involved in the offense and defense, made a nice one-on-one stop and hit Jack for a nice cutter in the lane. Not talking about that, though. Sure Gray made some dumb fouls too, but he didn’t just disappear like Mbenga does. When you look at Gray in advanced stats, he’s one of the most efficient scorers we have, despite his way low volume attempts. Mbenga, on the other hand, is abysmal. Check out the graphs over at http:/www.atthehive.com, they did the legwork which makes this abundantly clear. Seeing that our second unit failing to score is the real problem, why not try Gray, see how it works? Especially until you may have to cut Mbenga. Make sure Gray will work. Though the stats say he will.

      • 42

        January 2, 2011 at 5:49 pm

        Gray has shown some upside and I’d like to see him play more. It’s not like he’s some dominant figure, but I think he could play well in some games. He’s basically very inconsistent. If we’re supposed to get a look at a guys on the bench, give them `fair chances’ and all that, then why not do that for all of them, Pops and Gray included.

  10. paul

    January 2, 2011 at 8:22 am

    do both he and I a favor and set gray free.
    He’s been a favorite student of mine since college.

    If he is unappreciated by this team, let him find another home.
    Lots of openings for big men out there. Teams where he can get floor time and develop.
    If you want to go into the final part of this season with MBenga, or Andersen…BLESS you and good luck.
    But it would be the end for me.
    I couldn’t take the pain…especially in the playoffs.

  11. Gordon

    January 2, 2011 at 8:50 am

    Hopefully Ariza stays consistent, and only take that many shots when he’s hot. I’m not even a NOLA native but I’m really nervous about the attendance situation but I read that the current situation is good and if the attendance stays the way it’s been going for the past 2-3 games, the Hornets will be here to stay!

    Good to see Mek beasting, another big rebounding game would bring him back to averaging a double-double, first time since his Charlotte days, good on ya Mek!

  12. rm

    January 2, 2011 at 9:35 am

    Pops should stay

    See my Forum entry.

    http://www.hornets247.com/forum/new-orleans-hornets/pops-should-stay/#p1010

    MM you are wrong about Pops. Pops has not played because he has been injured not because he is not good enough. Ok he went inactive before he was injured but has been out for so long because of the injury.

    Why would they wait until now to cut him. He has been injured for so long they could have done it then.

    I think that he needs another chance.

    • 42

      January 2, 2011 at 10:06 am

      He could be both injured and `not good enough’. He’s an insurance policy. Remember David’s ankle turn? That’s why he’s around. Hopefully, he’s making the most of his time, though.

  13. paul

    January 2, 2011 at 9:47 am

    McNamara…
    You gotta explain…
    None of us are in the gym to know what’s going on.
    Are you?
    Also, IF Gray is still an undecided player, why then has he been sitting?
    Why would you sit a guy you need to learn about who hasn’t gotten more than 30 minutes of time so far and yet play somebody who has had 8 years in the league?
    Now you talk about total NBA experience on the bench, yet with all this combined knowledge, they didn’t understand that little odd situation?
    They didn’t know MBenga after 8 years?
    Where is all this NBA experience?
    And instead they play him and sit the guy they need to “know about”?
    Come on…are they good coaches or just combines years of non NBA success?

    • Michael McNamara

      January 2, 2011 at 10:02 am

      Joe has attended practices- I have not, but if I have to bet on something I haven’t seen with my own eyes, I would go with the opinion of Monty, Ayers, Malone, etc of that of fans who do not see these guys day in/day out.

      Not saying they are infalliable- it’s just that they have financial incentive to play Gray because his contract is guaranteed for 2 years while Mbenga is not guaranteed as of now. Yet, they play Mbenga.

      The only other conspiracy theory I will throw out is that they are essentially using Mbenga and will dump him before Wednesday and then have a fresh Gray for the 2nd half. Imagine you have a movie club membership that you are locked into for 2 years- no way out. Then Netflix offers you a 2 month free subscrition. You load up on Netflix and then cancel the day before they start to charge your credit card and then take advantage of the rollover DVD’s you earned from not using the other membership.

      Bad analogy, but you get the point. Personally, I think Mbenga stays because Gray is horrible on his rotations and Monty is a defensive guy. Also, I don’t think the Hornets will go over the lux tax and if they do, 1.1 million won’t be the difference in going over or not- if it is, they will pay someone to take an expiring contract.

      • paul

        January 2, 2011 at 11:02 am

        Simply cannot allow you to use the term horrible when describing Gray, yet allow MBenga a pass.
        Sorry, but being at practices or not, MBenga is not a useful tool.
        Blocking is the gift awarded him, and that and be taken only so far.
        He fouls as quickly as or quicker than Gray.
        He cannot offer you passing or offense.
        So, please, don’t use “horrible” to describe Gray and MBenga is passed.
        You passed by my weak logic (it’s all I got) without explaining.
        MBenga HAS been around.
        8 years.
        You were the guy explaining the NBA experience of the staff.
        Where is this knowledge when it comes to MBenga?
        Gray is the guy they need to see get NBA time.
        They signed him.
        So telling me they are going to evaluate Gray with 30 minutes of time, then 4 minutes before Wednesday belies logic.
        It doesn’t make sense.
        Unless they don’t know what they are doing.

    • 42

      January 2, 2011 at 10:09 am

      They need to know what they’ll have if they chuck Mbenga. So you have to look at both. They haven’t had a good look at Gray recently, so they played him. I put those same comments in the Game On thread. They could be doing exactly what Mike said, and they could be showcasing him for a trade (Peja), not proving he’s great, but that he’s not hurt.

      Gray is locked in to a contract for this year and has a player option for next year.

  14. CP3nBrees

    January 2, 2011 at 9:51 am

    I think Monty did a good job on the rotation in the 4th Q, kept West and Trevor along with 3 other guys, he really should do this instead of subbing all 5 guys in the 2nd quarter.

    • Michael McNamara

      January 2, 2011 at 10:10 am

      The key to the game IMO- but can they stay fresh if they just go with an 8 man rotation the rest of the year? I think Monty will continue to play Jack, Green, and Smith- he will give Mbenga minutes against the 4 or 5 teams with dominant centers, and so either Pondexter or Thornton have to show that they can be consistant enough to play 12-20 minutes a game.

      If the Hornets pick up a starting 2 (S Jax type) I really wonder how Jack, Marco, and Green would do as a unit. 3 guys who can handle the ball, go to the rim, shoot, cover multiple positions on defense, etc. Thornton, Banks, Pops, and Anderson for S Jax works

      CP3, Jackson, Ariza, West, Okafor to start games. Then you can bring in Marco off the bench, sit Ariza and move S Jax to Sf for a few minutes to really spread the court. I can go on and on, but so many options and essentially you have a 9 man rotation you can rely on with multiple ball handlers and play makers, plus another shooter.

      Of all the realistic scenarios out there, I might like this one the best.

      • paul

        January 2, 2011 at 12:19 pm

        so you are implying you firmly think gray is a gonner?
        I get the feeling you might have more inside info than the rest of us.
        Please…tell me this can be an opportunity.
        I would like him to go somewhere appreciated.

      • BeesGivingEffort

        January 2, 2011 at 7:23 pm

        I like it, I’d even trade Q-Pon instead of Pops if we had to, to make the deal more enticing. We have to try to win now. Giving up MT5 and Q-Pon might be enough. Marcus would dominate over in Charlotte.

      • 42

        January 2, 2011 at 7:33 pm

        I think we should be making a push for Carmelo with Ariza and Thornton as the key parts. Put in Banks and other trash to make the details work. They’ll want a future 1, too.

  15. bgalella

    January 2, 2011 at 10:00 am

    Chris Paul played a great game defensively and the Hornets never panicked as Washington closed the gap. Everytime the Wizards were within three or four points, New Orleans responded with a huge shot.

  16. NOLABanks96

    January 2, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Wish we had a player like Marquis Daniels who cud play PG even tho he is a three, and distribute since we dont have a player on the bench who can do that

    • QueenBee

      January 2, 2011 at 12:06 pm

      Can we teach Pondexter some PG skills? 😕

      • m-W

        January 2, 2011 at 12:43 pm

        Marcus played some PG last year. Still had less turnovers than the Currys and Evanses. Just saying.

  17. JCS

    January 2, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Anyone who thinks Aaron Gray is a good player is a MO-RON. Throw the stats out the window and you see A) he’s not coachable, and B) he has no team chemistry from NOLA to Chicago. On the flip side, if you were to put the stats in the debate (a pointless one, mind you) you’d see he racks up whole numbers on PF’s, TO’s, and BA’s, and less than 5’s on all other stats, despite being one of the 15 tallest players in the entire league.

    Now if you like him just because he reminds you of someone you know, or the way he walks, talks, and chews gum just gets you excited – that’s fine. However, to defend him as a good or even decent NBA player is just ludicrous. He had zero block shots and zero points in the last Hornets win, to match his zero positive impact on the team.

    • m-W

      January 2, 2011 at 4:17 pm

      So you think the Hornets are better with Mbenga in as a back-up center. I don’t. All Mbenga can do is block. That’s good and well, but most times it doesn’t even result in a possession change. Gray does pretty much everything better than Mbenga. Even if you think they are both bad (and I don’t), Gray is better by just about every metric available. So while some call for an upgrade at this position, the real issue, currently, is who is the best back-up center. It’s not the undersized Anderson or Pops, nor is it Mbenga. It’s Gray.

    • paul

      January 3, 2011 at 8:17 am

      .I am a MO-RON.
      Yup.
      Not very far from being just a monkey with a set of car keys.
      I have to consume other living things to live.
      90% of my waste is that of dead bacteria that actually live off me, inside me.
      I cannot live but for a small distance from my planet’s thin membrane surface or there will nor be enough air for my longs to support me.
      Thanks for my mind’s ability to at least allow me the self hypnosis needed to convince myself I AM SOMEBODY.
      Some of us, obviously, have a greater ability to do this than others….

      • 42

        January 3, 2011 at 9:20 am

        It’s ok, Paul. Arguments attack people when they can’t attack facts. Even if the argument is in favor of the correct position, the inability to marshal the facts and establish a point clearly is better done by some than others.

  18. BIGBREED

    January 2, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    I see that alot of guys here have alot of input on who should start and who should we trade for! Trading for Stephen Jackson -or- Iggy or starting MT5 would be solid moves. BUT I really think that upon those decisions, the glaring change that should be done should come within the offensive philosophy!

    1.) Trevor Ariza is not (and I repeat) is not “A Spot up Shooter”! Why is he beyond the 3pt arc waiting for the kick out pass? HE IS A SLASHER! When DWest, Marco, and/or CP3 has the ball… HE SHOULD BE SLASHING TO THE GOAL! {back door -or- thru the lane}

    2.) The HORNETS floor spacing is HORRIBLE!
    -DWest & Okafor clogs the lane, plus CP3 loves to penetrate deep inside the paint which causes a traffic jam btween the 3. More movement should be run on the back end of the offense w/ Trevor cutting to the goal and Marco sliding open for the kick out 3ptr! Plus it allows Marco to get back on DEFENSE, if CP3 penetrates the paint.

    3.) Players aren’t coming hard off the picks -nor- the screens that are being set!

    4.) Stephen Jackson, Iggy, and Trevor Ariza are all the same type players. Even though Trevor is more offensively challenge, their style of play are the same by slashing/cutting to the goal and not being an 3pt threat. Which would mean the HORNETS would really need a spot up shooter like …MARCO! Everybody can’t penetrate the lane in a coach’s offense, someone has to shot the 3 ball to keep the defense from collapsing the paint.

    5.) MT5 needs to run off of screens more! He needs to stop signaling to ISO his defender. DWest is used on one side of the court to ISO his defender. We can’t ISO both sides of the court! MT5, you are very talented dude but you need to open up your game more to just ISO’s! {Learn the scheme and play within the scheme bro!}

    6.) Mbenga…..”BLESS HIS HEART”

    -I SEE MORE THINGS THAT NEEDS IMPROVEMENT BUT I’M ONLY LISTING A FEW-

    • OkiJeff

      January 2, 2011 at 8:53 pm

      Good comments.

      1.) I think Trevor should take only 1 three-pointer a game. Not the 4-6 that has taken this year and last.

      5) I would like to see more plays and plays off of screens put into the offensive for both SGs by Monty. Kind of like Ray Allen, Richard Hamilton or Reggie Miller shooting off of screens vice Marco standing at the 3 pt line or MT5 calling an ISO. Generate open shots through the offense.

  19. BeesGivingEffort

    January 2, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    I completely disagree. Trevor should either be attacking the rim or taking 3’s. That mid-range game worked today, but it is BRUTAL normally.

    • OkiJeff

      January 2, 2011 at 10:00 pm

      Yeah, not Trevor in the mid-range game. Marco, MT5 and even Willie Green.

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