New Orleans Hornets 2011-12 Power Rankings, V.6

Published: February 12, 2012

After passing the power rankings off for a week, Mason re-takes control and tries to bring order to the total chaos that is the Hornets’ 2011-12 season.

Ayon continues to climb the power rankings thanks to increased playing time.

First off, thanks to Jake for providing everyone with a little something different last week; now, it’s back to my own boring, routine power rankings. In this week’s edition, the injury bug bites the Hornets yet again, causing some extra movement at the top of the rankings. See something you don’t like? Let us know with a comment below.

1. Jarrett Jack, PG: 22 GP, 35.7 MPG, 15.2 PPG, 43.6 FG%, 6.7 APG, 3.7 RPG, 17.8 PER

It’s getting increasingly difficult to comfortably rank ANY Hornets player #1 at anything, given the way this team has played. That being said, no one on this Hornets team has played at a higher level more consistently than Jarrett. The gap between Jack and the next best Hornets players is definitely shrinking, but he’s still got the top spot locked up.

2. Emeka Okafor, C: 27 GP, 28.9 MPG, 9.9 PPG, 53.7 FG%, 7.9 RPG, 1.0 BPG, 15.8 PER

I’m not thrilled about Oak pulling down a career low rebound rate of 16.4%, but every other part of his game looks much improved this season so I’m willing to overlook it for now. Since I wrote the column praising him for his improved short-range offensive game, he remains one of just 5 NBA centers averaging at least 25 MPG whose field goal percentage on shots between 3-9 feet is above 50%. Of those 5, only he and Roy Hibbert attempt more than 2 per game, making his work in that area even more impressive. If Okafor can improve his rebound rate to something around his career average of around 18.5-19%, he definitely has a chance to pass Jack and claim the top spot in these rankings.

3. Gustavo Ayon, C: 20 GP, 14.3 MPG, 4.6 PPG, 56.2 FG%, 3.6 RPG, 18.5 PER

With increased meaningful minutes against opposing starting lineups, Ayon’s unsustainable PER in the mid-20s obviously regressed, but he still leads the team in that category along with field goal percentage. Another asset to Ayon’s game is his passing ability in the paint; his 15.6% assist rate is tops on the team among PFs and Cs, and well above the NBA average for both positions around 12%. While Gus isn’t a consistent scoring threat, he helps the Hornets in a lot of different areas and fulfills an important role on the team.

4. Carl Landry, PF: 24 GP, 23.9 MPG, 11.5 PPG, 46.7 FG%, 4.4 RPG, 16.9 PER

The Hornets’ offense took a serious hit when Landry sprained his MCL in Detroit last weekend, and he will be out for another 2-3 weeks. Before then, he posted two solid games in Miami and San Antonio along with two quiet ones at home against Phoenix and then in Detroit. He makes up for a poor 13.2% defensive rebound rate with a 9.0% offensive rebounding rate and a 12.7% turnover rate, both better than NBA averages for his position. Whenever he returns, Landry would really help the Hornets’ offensive woes if he can improve his field goal percentage to something closer to his career average of 53.4%.

5. Greivis Vasquez, PG: 27 GP. 22.5 MPG, 7.7 PPG, 41.1 FG%, 4.4 APG, 15.6 PER

Thanks to Jack’s knee injury, Greivis got a chance to log consistent starter’s minutes, and boy did he take advantage. Compared to last season, his assist and steal average per-36 minutes is up from 6.3 to 7.0 and 0.9 to 1.8 respectively. In the past two weeks in particular, Vasquez has raised his field goal percentage an impressive 5%. I still maintain my opinion that he’ll never be a legitimate NBA starting point guard, but he is doing a fantastic job selling me on his ability to be a very reliable backup.

6. Trevor Ariza, SF: 19 GP, 34.7 MPG, 11.5 PPG, 40.6 FG%, 5.6 RPG, 3.2 APG, 13.3 PER

Trevor has looked like the team’s best player in 2 of his last 4 games, and one of the best in another. In losses to Detroit and Portland, Ariza logged a total of 88 minutes and made 18 of 30 shots from the field, converted 11 of 12 free throw attempts, pulled down 16 rebounds, dished out 9 assists, and collected 5 steals. Seeing that form of Ariza is truly a joy to watch; it’s too bad that version doesn’t come out more often. Here’s to hoping that changes!

7: Jason Smith, PF: 21 GP, 21.5 MPG, 8.2 PPG, 47.3 FG%, 3.9 RPG, 1.1 BPG, 14.1 PER

Sidelined with a concussion since the Pistons game last Saturday, Smith’s all-around game had been falling off a bit even before then. He still gets his points and shoots a decent percentage, but he is entirely incapable of creating his own shot, evidenced by a whopping 82.3% of his field goals coming from assists. In addition, his rebounding rate of 10.7% is lower than Carl Landry’s, which should be inexcusable given his 7 foot height. His miniscule 8.3% turnover rate is nice, but if he can’t improve on his rebounding numbers, he may see his minutes start to slip.

8. Chris Kaman, C: 19 GP, 23.1 MPG, 9.6 PPG, 42.3 FG%, 7.1 RPG, 1.4 BPG, 14.0 PER

In two games since returning to the team, Kaman has taken 29 shots, making just 10 for an abysmal 34.5% from the field. Granted, the Hornets were without Gordon, Landry, and Smith for those two games, as well as Jack for one, so they were relying heavily on Chris for offense. Though I worry consistently about the possibility of him getting injured and making his trade value zero, it looks like the Hornets will continue to give Kaman heavy minutes and lots of scoring opportunities with so many current injury woes.

9: Marco Belinelli, SG: 27 GP, 29.5 MPG, 9.7 PPG, 39.5 FG%, 34.6 3P%, 2.6 RPG, 8.9 PER

Marco has played a fairly decent past three games for his standards, making 15 out of 34 attempts overall, including 5 for 12 from beyond the arc. He even added 9 assists over those three games, a total above and beyond what we’ve come to expect from him. This is about the kind of production Hornets fans likely were expecting before the season began. Keep up the mediocre work, Marco!

10. Al-Farouq Aminu, SF: 27 GP, 19.6 MPG, 5.0 PPG, 38.6 FG%, 4.3 RPG, 9.3 PER

Every time I feel like writing off Aminu’s chances of becoming a valuable asset for the Hornets, he has a game that makes me think that he may be figuring things out. His most recent game was the latest example, making 5 of his 8 shots in the loss against Portland while grabbing 5 rebounds. If he can string together a few games with similar production over the next week (wishful thinking, I know), he could climb a couple spots in the rankings.

11. Lance Thomas, PF: 5 GP, 6.8 MPG, 2.0 PPG, 33.3 FG%, 2.4 RPG, 11.7 PER

The Hornets re-signed Lance Thomas to a 10-day contract to fill in for voids left by DaJuan Summers and Carl Landry. He has played strongly in the minutes that he’s been given, achieving a fantastic rebound rate of just over 21%. If he keeps up that kind of effort on the glass, he’ll earn himself another 10-day contract at the very least.

12. Xavier Henry, SG: 7 GP, 12.4 MPG, 4.0 PPG, 40.7 FG%, 0.7 APG, 6.0 PER

Congratulations are in order to Henry for finally getting his PER out of the red. I’m still very skeptical about his jumper, but he has shown his athleticism and still could develop into a nice role player.

Incomplete: Eric Gordon, SG; Donald Sloan, G

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


  1. Tim

    February 12, 2012 at 4:07 pm


  2. Jo D

    February 12, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    I think it’s funny you rank the guy who seems to make everyone else around him worse as #1…
    Jack gets HIS and leaves everyone else fending for themselves…
    He will take a contested fast break layup himself instead of making the one pass for an infinitely easier shot…
    He plays with heart and pride but he is terrible in his role as point guard…
    I believe marcos down numbers are a direct effect of jacks distribution skills, or lack thereof…
    I don’t think it’s a coincidence Belli starts nailing a few threes when Vazquez started…
    I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that all of the sudden “Marco is better suited as a back up” on this team when he played fairly decent as a starter last season… As a shooter, he is better suited to be paired with a distributor… Not someone who plays 1v1 until the shot clock is under 5 secs then dishes it out…
    I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that J Smith was playing better this year coming off the bench WITH VAZQUEZ… As opposed to last year when he came off the bench WITH JACK… But when he got some starts this year WITH JACK, his numbers started slipping…
    Vazquez isn’t a godsend, he isn’t an all star… He isn’t even a PURE PG… but he has the best POINT GUARD SKILL SET on the team…
    Jack is having a great individual year… But he isn’t helping his team by performing that way…
    Can’t have him #1… Just my opinion…

    • BigEasyBaller

      February 12, 2012 at 7:37 pm

      I agree with you to a certain extent. I don’t think you can use Belinelli as a valid argument because he is so wildly inconsistent. That the next five games he could go ice cold again and make Vazquez look terrible. And I think saying he played fairly decent as a starter last year is also being VERY GENEROUS. The whole team has been too inconsistent to say one player plays better with another. It is hard to judge these two players because they are both so up and down. We need to wait and see how the next few games play out before we can say one player is better than the other.

      In the three wins Jack has played in he is averaging 9 assists, is that not making his teammates better? Why is it that the hornets are playing the exact same kind of basketball with Vazquez at the point instead of Jarret Jack? These are questions that we are faced with.

      Jarret Jack is averaging more assists pre game than all of these starting PG’s Devin harris, Jeff Teague, Raymond Felton, Tyreke Evans, Russle Westbrook, Ty Lawson, Brandon Jennings, Kyrie Irving, Jrue Holliday, Mario Chalmers, Derek Fisher, Kemba Walker, Brandon Knight, Darren Collinson

      And he is scoring more than/= to: Teague, Collinson, Fisher, Walker, Felton, Knight, Chalmers, Holliday, Ty lawson (is ahead by .3)

      Could any of these guys help us more? Not according to these statistics.

      Jack and Vazquez are putting up almost identical statistics. The problem doesn’t lie with Jarret Jack or Vazquez, it lies with the people around them.

      • Mason Ginsberg

        February 12, 2012 at 9:20 pm

        This is an absolutely perfect response.

      • Jo D

        February 13, 2012 at 3:45 am

        Belli is inconsistent… But theres no question he has taking 10 steps back since his career year last year…
        Secondly, I never even said vazquez was better than jack… In fact I’ve said in the past I’ve said that jack was a better basketball player than vazquez… But there is no denying who has a positive effect on their teammates and who has a negative effect… Aside from the mentioned examples every starter is having a down year compared to last year except maybe mek… A direct effect of who their leader is…
        Vazquez gets his assists with court vision and making smart passes… Jack gets his by having his teammates bail him out SOMETIMES, more times than not they don’t, but that too is a direct link to Jack leaving them in bad situations late in the shot clock…
        vazquez is simply a better distributor…
        He brings more energy to an otherwise boring team…
        I’m not even trying to say the team would be much better with vazquez starting… But he certainly does more with less…
        Def not the same kind of ball with both at the point… There is a noticeable increase in energy and ball movement
        It is also unfair and illogical to compare other players from other teams in this situation… Given what you call (and I agree with you) this inconsistent team…
        Stats aren’t everything… If they were players like mike james and bobby simmons would have been all stars when they had career years on terrible teams…
        To say this team wouldn’t be better off with Westbrook, Felton, Collison, or even lawson is a joke…

        But if you rely on stats then you miss the game…

        My argument is simple… Jack is not helping this team in any sense, whether it be winning or developing… Jack is simply getting HIS on a losing team… He can’t be #1. Maybe 3-5… But not #1… He simply isn’t that valuable to the team…
        But one could make the argument that given the teams performance, no one deserves #1…

        Opinion only…

      • Mason Ginsberg

        February 13, 2012 at 8:56 am

        1) “every starter is having a down year compared to last year except maybe mek… A direct effect of who their leader is…”

        When you lose the best PG on the planet, these kinds of things tend to happen.

        2) “vazquez is simply a better distributor…”

        You know what? Maybe that’s true. Maybe Vasquez is a slightly better passer than Jack. Unfortunately, that’s not all being a point guard in the NBA is about. In fact, the numbers do support his passing ability compared to Jack’s this season – his assist rate is about 46%, compared to 39% for Jack.

        However, 5% of that 7% gap between the two is accounted for by the WIDE differential in turnover rate between both guards. Jack’s turnover rate is 13.6%, well below the league average for PGs of 17.7%. Vasquez’s is 18.6%. As a result, Jack’s assist-to-turnover ratio is 2.86, compared to just 2.46 for Vasquez, a pretty significant difference.

        If you gave me the choice between the two and showed me just those assist and turnover numbers, I’m taking Jack in a heartbeat, and that doesn’t even take into account how much of a better scorer Jarrett is than Greivis. If Vasquez would start turning the ball over less, then maybe this discussion becomes one worth entertaining, but at this point, there’s no debate to be made.

      • BigEasyBaller

        February 13, 2012 at 4:47 pm

        In the past few games this team has fallen apart in the fourth quarter because they don’t have someone who can be a go to scorer. Jack has been that guy for us in the past and it shows. Vazquez plays a good three quarters of basket ball but Jack really shines in the fourth.

        Jake Madison proves it in his article:

      • Jo D

        February 13, 2012 at 5:06 pm

        Using CP3 is a cop out… Blatant cop out…

        The team plays more as a team, and everyone gets more touches sure to ball movement when vazquez is on the floor…
        And this discussion isn’t about who is the better passer… It’s about who is the better distributor!!!! Who puts their teammates in a better position to be successful…
        If vazquez was as selfish as jack tends to be, then you would see his scoring ability more… And it’s probably right on par if not better than jacks…
        Problem with that is that he isn’t selfish and he doesn’t get the minutes to showcase like jack does…
        But when vazquez gets to start, he puts up very favorable stats…
        And mind you, when you consider turnovers… This is Vazquezs first year in the system… Jacks second… it’s funny the thingspeople don’t think about…
        The fact that someone dismisses a player, and bases it on his counterpart simply getting more opportunity is laughable and makes me really question his ability to bring the type of coverage of the hornets that a fan like myself can appreciate…
        Stats aren’t everything… I would encourage you to look beyond the boxscore, beyond the stats and WATCH the team with an open mind…

        Anyway, you guys brought this way off base and turned it into a straight up comparison… As I stated MULTIPLE TIMES… I just stated my opinion that jack is not #1…

      • Jo D

        February 13, 2012 at 5:12 pm

        Ha! Jack is our go to scorer in the fourth!? Our finisher!?
        Highly ineffective if you ask me given our 4-23 record…
        I don’t blame him entirely but that is a silly statement…
        The entire TEAMS fourth quarter struggles are no secret…
        How many games have we led going into to the fourth?
        This is a TEAM problem… No one is excused.. Not even the selfish Jack who forgets he has teammates on the floor with him…

      • Jo D

        February 13, 2012 at 5:16 pm


        The fourth quarter has been a problem ALL SEASON… not just the past few games

      • BigEasyBaller

        February 13, 2012 at 7:32 pm

        Did you even click the link and read the article? Because it is broken down pretty clearly.

        And Vazquez takes two less shots per game as a starter than Jack, not sure if that means Jack isn’t as selfish as you are saying he is or if that mean Vazquez is as selfish as Jack.

        Jack is shooting .436% compares to .44% by Vazquez, is Jack being any less effective?

        And Jack has been the most effective scorer in the fourth for OUR team, the hornets. THE NEW ORLEANS HORNETS. If he was on any other team would it be as good, probably not. But with what the Hornets put on the court every night. jack is the best option, Until the Commish comeback

        And using CP3 is not a blatant cop out because you reference him in your post saying how players production is down from last year. WELL NO DUHHH, they played with THE best PG in the NBA.

      • Jo D

        February 14, 2012 at 12:35 pm

        Even then, it goes back to jacks inability to make his teammates better when he is on the court… Which is a point guards primary job…

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  4. Lucas Ottoni

    February 13, 2012 at 8:47 am

    Jarrett Jack leads the ranking? Wow .. I honestly don’t know what some see in this player. He is one dimensional and just have my eyes on the score and not organize the team on the court. The Hornets team is horrible when JJ has the ball in his hands. I hate it when he scores 25 points and the team loses. He doesn’t improve his teammates absolutely nothing. If this guy is the leader of the ranking, so I can understand why they are so bad this season.

    In my opinion, our best player is Trevor Ariza. That’s hard, I know.

    • Jo D

      February 13, 2012 at 5:14 pm

      100% agree… Until the ariza statement…
      I think mek should be #1

  5. Tim

    February 13, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Jo is right on with Jack. When he has the fundamental fast-break, he ignores the trailers and BOTH guys filling each lane, and will go to the hoop himself. Usually doing so missing and getting fouled. (But it sure pads the stats for him!) Look, Jack blows. Be pissed at me and dislike the comment if you like, but the truth of the matter is I like him in the game, because it’s a guaranteed loss, and I’m all about the rebuild. It is a tough position to be in cause I’ve been a fan since Charlotte, and live in Nola. We’ll get two great draft picks, possibly even both big men down low. And sad to say, I love Kaman, but he’ll be our trade shortly, and God hoping for a point guard that knows how to be a point guard. Not a CP3 wannabe with 1/10 his skill. Here’s a great idea, if you can’t shoot for shit, pass! Jack’s using this season to pad his stats selfishly, and I seriously hope it’s worked, and others “think” he’s good. He’s gotta go. I’m good with Vasquez running the point. And FYI, but dudes logic, statistically, Mello, and Stoudamire should be dominating at the Knicks, but us that have played ball in our lives know that it doesn’t always work out that way. Jack is selfish, can’t shoot, and needs to go. End of story.

    • Jo D

      February 14, 2012 at 12:20 pm

      Ah yes! Someone who sees it as I do! And how it really is!

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