Hornets Beat: Gordon’s Knee and Tweets, Gustavo Ayon, and the Chris Paul Deal Revisited

Published: February 14, 2012

The exalted Zach Harper joins us in discussing Eric Gordon’s injury and tweeting habits, Gustavo Ayon starting, the Hornets, and the Chris Paul deal.

I named my Crawfish after the chat that Zach runs for ESPN-- DDL

Our guest today on Hornets Beat has been on my radio show, The Swarm. What? That isn’t good enough? Fine!

He hosts the Daily Dime Live Chat on ESPN, writes front page pieces for ESPN, the Truehoop Network, WolfAmongWolves, and Hardwood Paroxysm, as well as occasionally yelling at people on Hoopspeak. He’s was one of my Summer League drinking buddies two summer ago in Vegas, shot 2-57 against SBNation after a night of said drinking, and one day he hopes to join me for the Mardi Gras (he probably is only realizing this now, though). Ladies and gentlemen, ZACH HARPER!

1. The most recent news that Eric Gordon underwent a cleanup of his knee is _____.

Zach Harper: Disappointing but predictable. Chris Paul was the injury concern in the big trade hoopla but he’s had just the one big injury while Eric suffers from a couple of injuries each season. Gordon seems to be worthy of the “injury prone” label as much as anybody this side of Greg Oden. It’s disappointing that he keeps getting hit by the injury bug. He can be so good and he could help bring this team back to prominence. I just wonder if we can get him to stay on the court.

Mason Ginsberg: Unsurprising. I’m not that upset about it considering a Gordon-less Hornets team should easily net a top-5 pick, but it does make going to games this season more difficult for the entire fan base. As long as he is 100% healthy by the next game he plays for the Hornets, then I don’t really care when he comes back as long as he’s in the lineup for opening night next season.

Ryan Schwan:  Putting me on the edge of saying the Hornets should just sign and trade Gordon this summer.  Of course, I wanted them to do the same thing with David West when he was out 52 games with a bone bruise, and look how stupid that would have been.

Chris Trew: Frustrating, considering that most will continue to think we got pile-drived in the CP3 trade and the casual fans in New Orleans haven’t had a chance to really see what he can do. However, my crystal ball says, “the 2012-2013 Hornets are going to be a lot of fun.”

Joe: Borderline expected. Look, the guy has missed a third of the season with what was deemed a bone bruise. The potential for this being something more was never far from any of our minds.

2. What do you make of Gordon’s tweets about Syracuse and other college basketball programs during Hornets games?

Zach: I guess I don’t see it as a huge deal. Perhaps it’s not the best way to show your dedication to your current team, but it’s possible he can switch between games while nursing his injury. I don’t think he’s obligated to be on the edge of his seat with each ticking second of the Hornets’ game clock. At the same time, if he’s going to pass on watching the Hornets game, at least pick something better than college basketball.

Mason: In a word? Ignorant. Look, I’m sure that some injured NBA players don’t watch every game that their team plays without them, even though we’d like to think so. However, why tell the world that you’re watching college basketball (and not even your alma mater) over your own team? Keep it to yourself, Eric.

Ryan: Honestly?  I don’t care.  The guy is around the rest of the team enough as it is, and it would be hard for me to watch my team playing if I couldn’t help out.  Even if he doesn’t feel that way, it doesn’t bother me much.

Chris: He’s scouting for us, right? Because we’re gonna have so many draft picks this year and he’s signing a long term contract and he’s never getting injured again, ever, right? If this is the case, I’m cool with it.

Joe: It makes him appear simply unaware that there are thousands of fans who are sitting on pins and needles waiting to hear something, anything about him. He’d certainly be doing himself (and the team, who will obviously utilize him to sell tickets) a PR favor if he stuck with Hornets tweets while his teammates are on the floor.

3. Fact or Fiction– If the Hornets and Bobcats combined current rosters, they would make the playoffs in the West.

Zach: Fiction. Even a healthy Eric Gordon doesn’t get them anywhere close to the top 8 teams in the West. Charlotte has very little to offer in terms of helpful talent and the Hornets aren’t exactly busting with production. They could make a push for it, but I doubt they’d really end up anywhere within 5 games of the playoffs in the West.

Mason: Fantastic question, and the answer is absolutely fiction. A healthy Eric Gordon could make the difference, but without him, you’re looking at a roster of DJ/Jack/Vasquez, Henderson/Kemba/Beli, Ariza/Maggette, and the Hornets’ current big men with Mullens thrown into the mix. The only clear starting lineup upgrade would be at SG, and the bench would be one of the best in the NBA, but it’s still not a playoff team in the West.

Ryan: The Hornets would end up with a rotation of average players, which equates, this season, to about 33 wins.  That’s not doing it in the West.   In the east, it’s probably a 7 seed.

Chris: Fiction for sure. The better question is how would geography and relocation dumb-dumbs screw up the name of our team this time. Charlotte Horncats? New Orleans Jazzbobs? Oklahoma City Seattles? My head hurts.

Joe: Fiction. With the injuries both teams have suffered, they wouldn’t even combine to be a .500 team. But Give the Horncats (I like that) a healthy roster, and they’d make the playoffs 9/10 years in either conference. That team can play all sorts of ways.

4. Fact or Fiction– Gustavo Ayon should keep starting when Landry and Okafor return

Zach: Fact. Landry is probably best used as a change of pace big man off the bench. He can bring energy and scoring to a second unit that needs it. Keeping Ayon out there to start games allows you to set the tone with defense and bring some scoring against unsuspecting second units. It’s my favorite strategy with lineups in NBA 2K12 (I’m not convinced Ayon isn’t a My Player from Monty Williams’ PS3).

Mason: Fact. In a rebuilding season such as this one, it should be a no-brainer. Pair Ayon with Oak in the starting lineup, by FAR the Hornets’ best defensive front line, and piece together the second unit’s minutes with the others.

Ryan: Fact.  Ayon needs to play as much as possible to figure out if he’s a backup or a possible starter in this league.  We already know what Landry and Okafor are, and one of them is used to riding pine and has a one-season contract.

Chris: Fact. He’s a joy to watch and he’s gonna be on this team for a long time. Let’s get him as much playing time as possible so we can get his head on a stick or his flag sprinted across the arena after a big score.

Joe: Fact. Ayon is a better defensive partner for Okafor or Kaman than any other big on the team. If Monty is going to win games with defense, he’ll have to utilize Ayon against opposing starters.

5. Which CP3 deal would have been better for the Hornets– the Lakers/Rockets deal, or the Clippers deal?

Zach: Definitely the Clippers deal. I don’t think the Lakers/Rockets deal was bad and it probably helps them compete for a playoff spot if everybody is healthy, but making the playoffs this year is extremely short-sighted. The Clippers deal helps set them up for the future. Even if by some miracle, the Wolves make the playoffs you’re still getting a couple of first round picks in the top-18 in a loaded draft class. You also have Gordon’s free agent rights and leverage.

Mason: The Clippers deal, and nothing will ever make me change my mind. As a small market team in the NBA, you typically have to be terrible before you can be great in order to significantly improve via the draft. This trade just helps to expedite the process along with some younger talent, as opposed to the Lakers/Rockets trade, which would have essentially done the same after a 2-year grace period of first-round playoff exits with older players.

Ryan: It all comes down to the next two drafts.  If the Hornets strike out and nab busts or merely solid players, then the Lakers deal was much better.  If the Hornets grab a superstar in the next two drafts, then the Clippers deal did exactly what was hoped for.

Chris: The Clippers deal for the obvious reasons plus the comedy of us making the Clippers better than the Lakers.

Joe: The Clipper deal, without hesitation. I’ll take even a 10% shot at greatness over being the seven seed every single year.


  1. da ThRONe

    February 14, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    I agree with Ryan on the news about Gordon. It’s not just a classic knee jerk reaction as I (like most people) just assume something wasn’t right. The problem is this is becoming a trend with this guy. We are looking at making him “THE” franchise guy. If he can’t stay healthy consistently we may be rebuilding our rebuilding efforts that really concerns me.

    • Mr.C

      February 15, 2012 at 7:05 am

      Thats exactly what I been saying “da ThRONe” sometimes I feel like you the only one on here that be making sense!!!

    • kempleton

      February 15, 2012 at 8:47 am

      Well, Gordon has already missed his change to grab “The Franchise Player” nametag by not signing a contract extension. That nametag will hopefully be given to a young player on draft night this summer. If that player is to become a superstar, we will start rebuilding around him. I like that idea better than “rebuilding around Gordon” idea.

      • kempleton

        February 15, 2012 at 10:39 am

        I do not want to be misunderstood. I think Eric Gordon is a very good player. I watched him only once on TV and once at the Arena under the Hornets uniform and he looked great in both games. I have not watched him much when he was playing for the Clippers but we know that he was a good scorer for them as well.

        So, I hope that we will sign him at the end of this season and have a great SG for years to come. Some of you might not like the following comparison since it is with our division rivals but what I want is:

        If Gordon is going to be our Ginobili …
        I am looking forward to draft our Duncan this summer!!! 🙂

      • da ThRONe

        February 15, 2012 at 11:19 am

        It’s not too late for Gordon to get paid like the franchise player. Also there’s no Duncan type player in this draft.

      • kempleton

        February 15, 2012 at 12:50 pm

        Who knows? Yes, there is only one Tim Duncan. But, I am talking about a player that may change the fate of a team. I have never watched him but how about Anthony Davis? His freshmen stats at Kentucky are better than Duncan’s freshmen stats at Wake Forest. 🙂

        check it out:



        Yes, Eric Gordon may still be paid well. But I am not sure if he is that “franchise” player that we are looking to build around. That’s why I made a great comparison with the Spurs. Ginobili is a great player and the Spurs had great success just because of him. But that team was built around Duncan. I am hoping that Gordon will turn out to be the Ginobili-kind but we will end up having our Duncan-kind from draft. Now that will make us a powerhouse down the road. We will see… 🙂

      • da ThRONe

        February 15, 2012 at 4:25 pm

        Anthony Davis offense is limited. He looks more in the mold of a more athletic Marcus Camby. I’m not sold on the frachise changer tag he’s getting and think guys like Michael Kidd-Gilchirst, Harrison Barnes, and Thomas Robinson will have better pro careers.

      • macs21

        February 15, 2012 at 5:29 pm

        @da Throne
        Disagree about Anthony Davis being offensivley limited. Sure, he hasn’t displayed a great deal of offensive variety but I think that’s largely because he hasn’t had to. He is however shooting almost 70% from the field and just over 70 from the line. To me that implied that if he wanted to he could have a reasonable outside game. Sort of like Serge Ibaka if he’d been playing basketball for more than 6 years.

        So, I would describe him as more of a mix of Ibaka and Camby. Ibaka can actually shoot and will be HEAPS better next year when theya ctually get a chance to train.

        Anywho, I think davis has the potential to be a 20/10/3 blocks guy in the NBA. I think he’ll start off closer to 10/10/2 but still, out of a rookie that’s pretty damn handy.

        Keep in mind he was a guard until like 18 months ago so he must’ve had half decent shooting mechanics. Hence his 72% from the line or whatever he shoots. That’s very good for a shot blocking big man coming out of college.

      • Big Ben

        February 16, 2012 at 2:49 pm

        I dont think we need a foward, I actually think thats are strong point, and Ayon already looks like a young Duncan… We need a true PG, plain and simple, and if they keep Gordon, and get another first rounder for Kamen then they should have a good chance at aquiring one through the draft!!!

  2. kempleton

    February 15, 2012 at 8:48 am

    BTW, R.I.P. “Tractor” Traylor!

  3. J

    February 15, 2012 at 9:30 am

    I don’t know why people so obsess with Gordon he has a gimpy right knee.Injury prone the Hornets are going to take a huge risk if you going to re sign him i’ll say 5yrs $40 million.If they was a plan B to sign someone in free agency who would it be?

  4. Joe P

    February 15, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    I feel like I’ve been saying it for years, “sell high! sell high!” I like Ok and Az as “core” players, I think with good scorers and a bench around them the Hornets could be really good. That being said, I can’t wait to se what the Hornets can get for Kman, Gordon, and Jack. I like all of those guys. They are all really good, and nice, and all of that. But contenders and wannabe contenders could use Jack and Kman now, and some team will take a flyer on Gordon. He’ll be really good. But arthurscoptic nee surjury? 5 year max deal? Not watching his own teams games? Wanting to go to Indiana or New York or whatever? Eff that dude! Get the best package of young talent and picks, and say see ya! I’d love to see Jack and Vasquez on the floor together, Vz can guard the other teams two, Jack can shoot, but then the bench is Sloan and Belly. I mean Sloan and Belly would KILL at my playground in New Orleans. But I don’t know how well they’d do against other NBA second string backcourts. Even Landry. I hope Dell is seeing what he can get from some team that needs frontcourt depth. Expiring contract and second round pick? Why not? The Hornets aren’t playing for this year, and Landry is on a one year deal any way. Ok, thanks for the venue for a Hornets rant. Thanks for the great work. Cool to read Zach Harper on here.

    • macs21

      February 15, 2012 at 5:31 pm

      Neither Jack nor Vasquez can defend.. They don’t have the lateral quickness for it.

      No way would a coach like Monty ever have them as his starting rotation 1 and 2.

  5. Lucas Ottoni

    February 15, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Eric Gordon was very unhappy. He should write less and work more.

  6. KC NOLA

    February 16, 2012 at 12:49 am

    Seems like Gordon doesn’t want to be here so trade him. I wouldn’t mind seeing a trade with the Pacers (right before the deadline) :
    PACERS get: Gordon, Kaman or Okafor, and Aziza or Jack
    HORNETS get: Granger, George, Collison, and Hansbrough

    Or they add a 3 team but the Hornets have to get Granger and George and a additional player (point guard) for Gordon plus one other

    I think it would work find to have Gordon in Indy were he really wants to be and have Granger come home to be the fan favorite and star for the next 3-4 years while George will be the Future star for the team for the next 10-12 years.

    A lot will have to happen and maybe add a 3-4th team but I think it would be worth it for the future and present plus we would have the 2 1st rounders to still look forward to using them for more depth or frachise players.

    • KC NOLA

      February 16, 2012 at 12:52 am

      It mite be an optimistic trade but I rather have that trade then to have another CP3 type deal with Gordon next year or the year after. If players don’t want to be here let them go and save us all the B.S and Heart break as fans

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