New Orleans Hornets 2011-12 Power Rankings, V.3

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Published: January 22, 2012
Jarrett Jack

The third edition of the 2011-12 season’s New Orleans Hornets individual player power rankings.

Jack tops this week's power rankings for a second week in a row.

It’s time for the third edition of the weekly Hornets player power rankings. After a particularly uninspiring week that saw the team go 0-4, with three of those losses coming at home, there are no drastic changes from top to bottom. That being said, there has been some movement, as a couple players have made some positive strides since last Sunday while others have struggled to help the team in any way (looking at you, Marco) apart from helping the team land a better draft pick. Check out the results below, and let us know if you would have ranked anyone differently!

1. Jarrett Jack, PG: 38.0 MPG, 16.0 PPG, 43.7 FG%, 7.3 APG, 4.2 RPG, 17.7 PER

Jack tops the rankings for a second week in a row not only for his play, but also for his leadership. Is he the floor general that Chris Paul was? Not even close. However, this team has needed someone to step up ever since the Gordon injury, and Jack has done his best to do just that. As you have probably noticed, the Hornets frequently struggle to score, which makes Jack’s contributions to the team even more important, even if he has a clanker every now and then. Through the first month of the season, no Hornets player has made a bigger contribution to the team than Jack, a claim that is backed up by his team-leading 1.4 win shares through the team’s first 16 games (despite missing the first one).

2. Emeka Okafor, C: 28.3 MPG, 9.0 PPG, 53.6 FG%, 8.8 RPG, 1.2 BPG, 16.1 PER

Minus the Wednesday game against Memphis in which he never really got into a rhythm, Okafor had one of the best weeks of any Hornets player this season. He averaged 10 points on 7.25 shots per game, making about 57% of them, to go along with 10.75 rebounds per game over the past four. He had arguably his best game of the season last night against Dallas, scoring 16 points and grabbing an impressive 17 rebounds, single-handedly keeping the Hornets within striking distance. As Joe mentioned in his Mavs recap last night, I don’t worry so much when Okafor looks to score the ball in the paint anymore, as he obviously took time over the extended offseason to improve his offensive game. Though Monty is doing his best to rotate five different capable big men into the lineup, it seems more and more unwise to for Mek’s minutes to be reduced in order to make this happen.

3. Carl Landry, PF: 24.4 MPG, 11.7 PPG, 45.0 FG%, 4.6 RPG, 16.9 PER

The player who has seen his minutes decrease the most as of late has definitely been Landry, averaging just under 17 minutes per game last week. He has struggled some, but I don’t really understand playing Carl for a total of 19 minutes over the first two games of the week; Landry is a guy who needs minutes to get into an offensive flow, and with that little playing time, he is much less likely to make a strong impact. He finally bounced back last night, scoring a team-high 19 points on 5-8 shooting thanks to making 9 of his 13 free throws. The real reason that Monty has likely been hesitant to give Landry big minutes recently, however, has to be due to his poor rebounding, which was magnified last night, getting just one more rebound than I did. Regardless, he is still an ideal pairing with Okafor since Mek can help cover for his rebounding deficiencies, and will continue to be relied on to put up points for this lackluster Hornets offense.

4. Gustavo Ayon, C: 9.1 MPG, 3.2 PPG, 68.4 FG%, 2.4 RPG, 21.3 PER

After starting off the week right where he left off with a 8-5-2-2-2 stat line in 20 minutes of action, Ayon received just 19 minutes over the next 3 games combined. As mentioned above in regards to Okafor and Landry, minutes for the Hornets’ big men are tough to distribute, but Ayon has earned more of an opportunity to prove himself than those minutes indicate. On a per-36 minute basis, he is second on the team in  blocks, third in rebounds, fourth in assists and steals, and sixth in points; no other Hornets player even comes close to being in the top six of all five categories. He is a perfect example of the team’s need to unload one of its big men, if for no other reason than to give Ayon more of a chance to produce with additional playing time.

5: Jason Smith, PF: 18.9 MPG, 8.2 PPG, 44.0 FG%, 3.8 RPG, 1.1 BPG, 16.0 PER

Smith had two great games sandwiched between two duds over the course of the week. In losses to Portland and Dallas, he made just 3 of 11 shots for just 6 points to go along with 4 rebounds. In the other two at Houston and at home against Memphis, however, he scored 31 points by making 13 of his 27 attempts, and added 11 rebounds and 5 blocks. In addition to some of the improvements in his game that we have mentioned on this site before, he is averaging almost an entire foul less per 36 minutes than he committed last season, an obvious sign that he has learned to be more disciplined when defending in the paint.

6. Chris Kaman, C: 24.4 MPG, 10.5 PPG, 46.7 FG%, 7.4 RPG, 1.1 BPG, 15.1 PER

Rough week for Mr. Kaman, but not rough enough to drop him in the rankings (which is more indicative of the continued struggles of most of the players below him). Kaman’s production kind of fell off of a cliff this past 4 games, as his PER fell a full point and a half from 15.1 to 13.6. He made just 11 of his 32 shot attempts, scoring a total of 24 points, though that might not even be the worst stat of his week – he committed 11 turnovers in just 79 minutes of playing time, translating to an atrocious turnover rate for a big man like Kaman. With as much depth as the Hornets have in the frontcourt, Chris paid the price for his recent struggles, playing only 7 minutes against Dallas last night (yet still finding a way to turn the ball over twice). He remains the most likely trade candidate in my eyes, but he isn’t doing much to impress potential suitors at the moment.

7. Trevor Ariza, SF: 35.0 MPG, 11.1 PPG, 41.2 FG%, 5.4 RPG, 2.8 APG, 13.3 PER

I never thought I’d be so happy to see Ariza return to the starting lineup. After missing the prior 8 games with a nagging groin injury, Trevor made his return Wednesday night and has promptly averaged 41 minutes a night in the three games he has played since. In those games, he scored 40 points on 37 shots; not exactly hugely inspiring numbers, but at least it’s more than a point per shot, and with the offensive production that we have become used to seeing from this Hornets team, I’ll take it. In his 8 games played this season, he has only failed to get at least 5 rebounds once, but that was the game in which he sustained his groin injury and only played 17 minutes as a result. As long as Trevor continues to work hard on defense (he caused nightmares for Rudy Gay all game on Wednesday and Kevin Martin in the second half on Friday) and is just average on offense, he’s going to be an asset to the team.

8: Greivis Vasquez, PG: 18.8 MPG, 5.6 PPG, 35.1 FG%, 3.3 APG, 12.3 PER

With all of the passion and hustle that Greivis brings to the game, I really want him to be better than he truly is. It is looking more and more that Greivis’ ceiling may not be much higher than his current role with the Hornets – a mediocre backup point guard. Besides his 6’6″ size, he really doesn’t excel in any one area, but he’s good enough to get some minutes backing up Jack. Until he shows me that there is more to his game than his non-stop motor, I just can’t buy into him having the potential to eventually become a starting-caliber player in this league.

9. DaJuan Summers, F: 19.7 MPG, 5.4 PPG, 41.0 FG%, 1.7 RPG, 7.7 PER

With Ariza’s return, Summers has basically fallen off of Monty Williams’ radar. He made sense while Trevor was out because he is currently a better scorer than Aminu, but he doesn’t really fill a needed role in the lineup with Ariza back, and consequently has only seen 5 minutes of action since then. Expect a big drop for Summers in next week’s rankings, as I sincerely doubt he’ll see the floor at all.

10Eric Gordon, SG: 39.0 MPG, 21.0 PPG, 42.5 FG%, 5.0 RPG, 18.1 PER

Come back soon, please?

11: Trey Johnson, G: 5.5 MPG, 1.9 PPG, 57.1 FG%, 12.5 PER

Trey only played 7 minutes over the past week, as he is not a needed piece of the Hornets’ rotation, and will likely see his minutes entirely disappear when either Henry and/or Gordon return. He doesn’t hurt the Hornets when he plays, but he doesn’t really help them either.

12. Squeaky Johnson, PG: 7.1 MPG, 1.7 PPG, 30.0 FG%, 0.8 APG, 5.3 PER

Squeaky did not play at all this week until last night, recording an assist and a steal along with two missed shots in 5 minutes of action. He’s a local product and a fantastic story after spending so much time in the D-League, but he simply is not an NBA-caliber guard.

13. Al-Farouq Aminu, SF: 19.1 MPG, 4.4 PPG, 32.9 FG%, 4.6 RPG, 9.5 PER

Aminu has done next to nothing to move up in these rankings, so he can thank Belinelli for completely stinking it up and allowing him to climb out of the cellar. I had really held out hope that his increased minutes as a result of Ariza’s injury would help him start to figure things out, but it simply did not happen. To his credit, he is 4th on the team in rebound rate, trailing only Okafor, Kaman, and Ayon (the Hornets’ three centers). He still has a lot of work to do in nearly every other aspect of the game, though.

14: Marco Belinelli, SG: 31.5 MPG, 9.6 PPG, 37.2 FG%, 30.0 3P%, 3.4 RPG, 8.3 PER

Where to begin? I guess I’ll congratulate him for his one non-horrific performance of the week, scoring 15 points on 6-12 shooting in Houston on Thursday night. Hooray, Marco! Apart from that game, though… just atrocious play from the Hornets’ starting shooting guard. He made a horrendous 2 out of 17 3-pointers over the past week, including an 0-6 performance last night in a two point Hornets loss; you do the math. Patience among Hornets fans is wearing increasingly thin with every open shot that he misses, and he really hasn’t given us any reason to be optimistic that he’ll turn things around anytime soon.

Incomplete: Xavier Henry, SG

Henry is expected to return to action at some point over the next week or so. Considering how pathetic the play has been from the shooting guard position so far, he can’t play his first game in a Hornets uniform soon enough, regardless of his struggles in his rookie season last year.

Player Power Rankings is a weekly piece that you can find every Sunday only on Hornets247.com. For past rankings, click here.

17 comments
D$
D$

little off subject but when do you think the hornets will ship out a big man? kaman has to be the likely first choice...and i would definitely be sad to see mek go if we do ship him somewhere..

504ever
504ever

Thankfully someone finally sees Greivis Vasquez, who I loved in college, for what he is in the NBA: a career back-up with minutes in the teens (if he is lucky). Greivis is probably not the answer to any Hornet question mark besides 2nd or 3rd string point guard. Does anyone wonder what will happen to his minutes as Henry and Gordon reenter the line-up? Ginsbergable, love your work at Hornet247. Hope your younger bro is well, your dad still enjoys saving little ones, and your mom still cooks like a cajun. Guess who (without using my name)?

jobie cantrelle
jobie cantrelle

I would argue the ariza point. But two arguments proceeded mines. So ill take the al farouq route. He should be over squeaky and trey. If for nothing else, just the excitement he represents. If he ever figures it out even a little, he can dominate his position with defense and athleticism. As a strong bench player im sure. Nonetheless everytime he steps on the floor I find myself rooting for him so succeed. As well as everyone I know that follows the hornets closely. But for the technical part of my argument. Squeaky nor trey impacts the game in anyway whatsoever. Both are simply stopgaps for a bad team to not have to spend needless money on backups that would haven't made a difference. Al farouq may not be a game changer in the truest sense of the word. But teams and players have to account for him and his length and rebounding. Im hoping for the tickets because my wife is the biggest, most die hard, never say die hornets fan. And she got her passion from me. But im knowledgeable enough to know the expectations this year. So there's my case in point

Scott
Scott

I think Ariza needs to be moved up a few spots. I know he just returned but he's already seemed to come back to full form. Like you said he's played lock down D on two of the league's best scorers, and although his scoring numbers aren't good, outside of Jack we virtually have no serious threat on offense, so I'm pretty happy with Ariza's scoring numbers. He's also been pretty good in the rebounding area, and if teams wern't purposely leaving Bellinelli open his numbers would probably be up in just about every category. I think that should atleast earn him the 3 spot behind Jack and Okafor.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

Best argument against one of Mason's ranking gets a pair in the balcony to the Spurs game. If Mason agrees, you can pick choose the Orlando game instead. Deadline is when I wake up Monday. Go!

Trey
Trey

@ Jason ahhh i gotcha!! I hope we extend Gordon! and Monty is deff a great coach who can bring this city a championship for basketball! any news on ownership? i read the last article about it but no names really stuck out but the obvious ones.

Brandon G.
Brandon G.

I don't get why Squeaky should be ranked over Aminu. At least Aminu has shown he can play decent defense on occasion. I know Squeaky gets a lot of praise just from being a New Orlaans native and looking like Lil Wayne playing basketball (thanks to the hair), but he has not shown any reason on the floor why he belongs on an NBA roster.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

For the second week in a row, it's Jack, bigs, littles. As I watch the games, this is exactly what I see, so I'm not picking on you. It's the state of affairs in our backcourt. Luckily, there are two changes coming there. Looking forward to the shake-up, brah! Where y'at, boo?!?!

Mason Ginsberg
Mason Ginsberg

I think 6th grade Mason has a pretty good idea. I appreciate the kind words; always nice to know that friendly faces from my past are enjoying my writing.

bee dat
bee dat

that one is easy. there is no way trevor is ranked so low this week. his value to the team is evidenced by his minutes played this week, the closeness of the games he's participated in, the energy he's brought to the court (he's been by far the most animated and vocal participant on the team this week). unless entry passes flubbed gets him the nod, I cant see any area where kaman has been better than trevor. You said it yourself he has been a nightmare for opponents while kaman is more like a wet dream for the other team

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

I have none; someone else may, but they haven't told me that they do. There are a gears to this sale machine, and we expect to get a couple of details every couple of weeks that may be hard to get elsewhere. Keep in mind: things change. Think of all the things we knew that were true at the time, but that never really mattered. Hmmmm, like CHOUEST IS BUYING THE TEAM!!! Well, I don't feel like being a party to putting things out there that will hurt more than help. There is no quick fix to this, and the ownership candidates have to be vetted in various ways, `realize' their bids, line up partners, and more. It's best that the this sale takes time, right? No quick fix. Look for as many real candidates as possbile, then really dig out the best possible ownership situation. What you'll read here is the best info we can get that we can responsbily give you, and know that when we get any new information that meets that criteria, you'll get it nearly instantaneously. That goes on for on and off the court yammering. Sorry for the longer response, but I'm pretty bored with this work I'm doing. Ugh.

Trey
Trey

What are these shake-ups you speak of???!!! When can we expect them!?

Mason Ginsberg
Mason Ginsberg

If the rankings were merely week-to-week, I would definitely agree. However, the rankings re-evaluate each player's entire season each week, so the fact that Ariza has only played in half of the team's games has to impact his ranking. If he keeps playing the kind of defense that we saw against Rudy Gay and Kevin Martin, he'll undoubtedly climb fairly quickly.

Trey
Trey

Yea it would be better to wait! And you guys do an awsome job of bringing us Hornets news!! The new on here is great! Yall keep up the great work!

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

Nothing big. I am working under the assumption that Eric and Xavier and close to returning, and they fit under the category of `littles' to which I referred. Once the guys figure each other out, and Monty puts out the best lineups (I trust him), then the bigs won't occupy the top non-Jack spots the way they have. You know these dudes take Mason's rankings to heart and this trend is going to set the locker room on fire!