Published: February 27, 2011

Throughout the season, we have seen our team mixed and matched more times than Mark Cuban’s stock portfolio. We made several significant trades, changing our lineup, rotations, and roles on the team. Each one of our guys has individual skills, and it has been Monty’s job to evaluate each individual talent and utilize them to transform the Hornets into Bee-Voltron, a force so powerful that it makes Charles Oakley look like a girl scout. Individually, we all have powerful…… but combined, we can make some serious noise in the Playoffs. And Awaaaaay we go!

Part One: Chris Paul’s Playmaking and Vision

Nuff Said. He is the closest thing to a Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas lovechild that we’ve seen in this league. For the same reason, he will always be an elite PG: He manipulates the game like a puppeteer.

How to utilize it:  Make the rest of the guys efficient, and Chris will do the rest. Let him know the ball belongs in his hands when the game is on the line, and do whatever it takes to awaken the beast inside of him. Tell him Rajon Rondo called him a nancy-boy or Russell Westbrook wants to challenge him to a game on 1 on 1.

Part 2: Willie Green’s confidence and heart.

We’ve all been frustrated by Willie this season, but you gotta love a guy who goes 1-9 with 3 turnovers one night, then comes out the next game and attacks like he just dropped 30.

How to utilize it: Start Him. With a lineup that will limit his touches and ball dominance, his aggressiveness won’t hurt us as much. His confidence prevents him from disappearing in games (see, Marco??) We need to keep defenses honest, which means we need his shot-taking (not the same as making) ability at the 2 guard spot.

Part 3: Trevor Ariza’s atheleticism and determination

The tale of 2 Trevors…. Such a tragedy.  We’ve all seen him look disinterested and lost while posting a 2-9 night. We’ve also seen him get that look in his eye and use sheer will to turn a game around. He is a pivotal defensive piece, and we need him to be that player who got a ring with LA for us this year.

How to utilize it: Keep him involved and get him easy looks, through fast breaks and set plays. Limit his iso’s and run a more efficient offense so he isn’t taking bad shots at the end of shot clocks. Make him play every playoff game with that look in his eyes. If he is 100% focused for the playoffs, we can do some damage.

Part 4: David West’s efficient scoring and fire

Have you ever watched a game where D West was trying on defense and got scored on?  The next possession, you could see it in his swag that he was gonna shove a bucket right down that guy’s throat. We all know how important his scoring is to this team…. In fact, it is one of the main reasons why we aren’t completely useless on offense.  I really want to see the guy who was tapping Dirk on the cheek this playoffs. 

How to utilize it: Use him as the cliché’d barometer for the team.  Play physical and let him isolate in the post. Play the rocky theme song  on repeat in his headphones from the moment he wakes up until game time.

Part 5: Emeka Okafor’s Defensive Anchoring and game changing ability

Most unpopular statement of the journal: For the team we have now, I wouldn’t trade the current Okafor for the 07-08 Chandler. Okafor changes gameplans. He renders average centers and one dimensional wings obsolete. He is the best off the ball, and help center in the league. I wouldn’t trade that for 3 inches and some alley-oops (I did love the CCC though),

How to utilize it: Put him in a position to succeed…. he struggles on both ends when he loses confidence, so give him easy dumps and make sure your team defensive rotations are solid. Okafor will do the rest.

Part 6: The bench’s collective chip on their shoulder

Landry was a 2nd round pick who was losing minutes to slammin’ Sammy Dalembert. Jarrett Jack is playing his having his worst season in recent memory on the only contender he ever played with. Belly lost his starting job to Willie Green. Q-pon blew his chance to prove his metal when Ariza was out… then lost minutes to Pavlovic. The rest are considered nothing more than garbage by the rest of the league. They need to play like their careers depended on it (cause they kind of do!)

How to utilize it: I think in the playoffs, efficiency and energy are more important that stardom and depth. Go in there, and make them bring back Durant and Westbrook before we have to bring in Paul and West. That’s what’s really important in the stretch. Let Landry be the barometer for the second unit. Remind Jarrett Jack that there’s an actual scoring option on the 2nd squad now. Limit Belli’s minutes, so he knows he needs to be impactful every time he gets clock. Everyone else needs to be ready, play your heart out, and limit mistakes.

If Monty can transform us by the time playoffs come, we can make some serious noise.


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