jack needs to be on this team as a vet leader and the 1st guard off the bench. He's great in that role. The only way I trade Gordon is if Boston gives us Rondo. Then you try to get Beal with that second pick somehow, someway, and a big with the first pick. PLEASE. NO. Sullinger!!! Was at the game last night, and he looked lazy, slow, and couldn't get good shots off vs. Withy. During Kansas' game tying run, he was 0-6 and 0-4 in the paint. All his points were on pick and roll gimmes with no one at the rim or garbage man put backs. He's not long, not overly athletic, not in great shape. I could see him falling out of the lottery after a game like that. Robinson, on the other hand, made some fantastic post moves and, although he got some bad bounces early on some bunnies, he was able to create his own shot with a variety of spins, fakes, dribble drives, and pull up J's. T-Rob played much better than his stat line says last night, and Sullinger considerably worse (and it was a pretty pedestrian line at that).
« The Art Of Tanking And Proper NBA Management By The Hornets
Game On: Hornets @ Lakers »
Giving Everything and Losing
After yesterday’s post by Grayson about how the Hornets are doing things right with their roster, Ryan looks at the Hornets and worries what this hard-working squad of players really means for the future. Warning: Contains Eeyore-like content.
The consensus around the league – and something stated by every opposing team’s announcer (no matter how much of a Tommy Heinsohn they are) is that the Hornets play hard and that they never quit or concede anything. These sentiments are supported by many team-based numbers. The Hornets are the only team in the bottom 10 of the league with rebounding numbers in the top 10. The Hornets join Toronto as the only bad teams in the league who hold opponents to a below-average eFG%. Most impressively, despite the large number of losses, the Hornets are rarely on the receiving end of blowout losses. In fact, the Hornets have lost 5 games all season by 16 points or more. There are only 6 teams in the league that better that number:
- 3 Blowout losses (Spurs, Grizzlies)
- 4 Blowout losses (Celtics, Rockets, Pacers, Heat)
- 5 Blowout losses (Hornets, Sixers, Jazz)
- 6 (Magic, Bulls, Hawks)
- 7 (Mavs, Bucks, Clippers, Timberwolves, Blazers, Raptors)
- 8 (Nuggets, Warriors, Thunder, Suns)
- 9 (Kings)
- 10 (Cavs, Knicks)
- 12 (Nets)
- 13 (Lakers!, Wizards)
- 15 (Pistons)
- 18 (Bobcats)
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about that list is that every team keeping company with the Hornets is in the playoffs as of today and have half as many losses overall. The Hornets lose and they lose, but they get crushed as often as teams that win and win. Despite the dearth of talent and health on this team, in almost every game, the Hornets will be right there, all out of proportion to what is expected or should be expected.
I love it. I know most of you love it.
But should we?
What does this really mean for next year and the year after?
My worry is that the Hornets are already maximizing their effort. This team of D-Leaguers, castoff veterans and bench players are already doing everything they possibly can night in and night out. What’s more, the team isn’t even playing significantly worse running with Kaman-Ayon(Smith)-Henry(Aminu)-Belli-Jack than it was when it trotted out Okafor-Landry-Ariza-Belli-Jack. There is almost no difference in results.
To some, that points to extraordinary depth. To some, that points to management gathering a nice, young set of talented role players who could really turn into something.
To me, that’s damn worrisome.
It means to me that the Hornets are probably farther than we think from returning to relevance. What we’ve learned is that no matter the set of players the Hornets retain from this season – that group of players, working their hardest, they are only worth a handful of wins. If you add . . . say . . . Thomas Robinson (yes, this all changes if we get Anthony Davis, but let’s focus okay?) and Perry Jones III and Eric Gordon to any other set of six current contributors from this team, are the Hornets going to be pushed from a bottom-3 record towards the playoffs? Or will they be simply pushed into the hard-to-escape NBA purgatory of the mid-lottery? My guess is the latter.
So if you were Dell Demps, and that is what you were facing, what would you do? You essentially have a team of maxed out role-players, an injured and questionable cornerstone, have capspace in a summer when a dozen other teams have loads of capspace, and a pile of precious, precious lottery balls.
Me? I’d be trying to turn Eric Gordon into another high draft pick this year. (Portland maybe, for the Nets pick? Washington might take Gordon and Ariza for theirs maybe, right? Winning Culture?) I’d also be trying to cash in any value that these hard-working role-players have established and turn them into future assets. Ship Ariza somewhere for a 2013 first rounder. Send Vasquez and Jason Smith somewhere for a 2014 first rounder.
In short, I’d be trying to set the Hornets up to stink again next year. Then surround those developing blue-chip rookies with another set of hard-working hungry cast-offs from the d-league and Europe that will work hard but be terrible. Earn another pile of lottery balls and their attendant blue-chip rookies. Then take that set of blue chippers, an even larger treasure trove of cap space available when fewer teams have space, and make that big push to relevance in 2013-2014. It could work. Right?
What do you think? Am I underestimating our players? How would you attack the problem? More – could you stomach another season of losing big with no guarantees that it’ll turn the Hornets around any faster?
Let us know in the comments.
I like the article and most of the explanations behind it. Yet, I'm a little confused about giving the City of New Orleans another year of losing. With all that is going on with the professional franchises in New Orleans losing makes things even worst. The Hornets came to New Orleans with a legitimate roster ready to complete in the NBA. Over the last 9 years the roster has been up and down. Poor Leadership and the management of players has deplenished a roster the once had Chris Paul, J.R. Smith, Brandon Bass, Baron Davis, Tyson Chandler, and David West. All players capable of helping this team compete. The returns received for those aforementioned players have been little-to-none. Still the fans have been very supportive of the team, as the Hornets were able to confirm over 10,000 season ticket holders for this season. Very few teams accomplished that feat. In addition, the league owns the team and veto a trade that would have made the Hornets a solid team. Of course, we got approval for the second trade with the prize attraction being SG Eric Gordon. Well Gordon has played on 2 games and does not want to play for the Hornets. Thus, we continue to hope he signs an extension. The direction the team is going is for the better. The current team does not strike fear into opposing opponents, but play hard every night. With a New Ownership and the right free-agent signings the Hornets will complete. After the season, the Hornets need to move players such as, C/PF Okafor, Ariza, and Gordon (sign and trade deal). The Hornets fans are true supporters wether it be victory or defeat. To assure that remains, the teams has to win with attractive and marketable players. And, at the moment neither is happening. 2 Lottery picks and 2 significant off season signings, to go with J Smith, Kaman, J. Jack, and Aminu is great upgrade. Also, it helps to have off-season workouts and a full training camp. Not only does this team lack wins, but it also lacks continuity. With a fresh start for the entire New Orleans Hornets franchise, I see nothing but postive things from them as they begin a journey up the ladder, eventually achieving the ultimate goal, hoisting the championship trophy. It's not going to happen overnight, but tanking another will allowing further distance them from their home base of New Orleans and all the fans the follow them.
Its a legitimate concern. But one in which I am not worried at all. As all of you may know, our biggest problem is we can't close games. Most of the time we enter the 4th with a game in hand (+/- 5) and then most of the time the lead vanishes ans we have a close game or the lead gets to double digit and Hornets are left to fight for their life. One player that will solve all those problems is Eric Gordon - one of the games best closer. But as you said, he is injury prone. To which I say - Dwayne Wade. Remember him? Im not saying with Gordon in the lineup, we'll magically transform into a playoff team. No, but we'll be right there in the outside looking in with lots of flexibilty going forward. Thats all you can ask for. Trading our role players for future 1sts would be great, but who would do that? At this point all we need is a little bit of luck. Luck that our two lottery picks will turn into good two way players. At least we have the wheels in foundations in place (closer in Gordon, role players galore). What we need now is luck (which every small market teams need, mind you). We get Davis, we're set. We don't get him, then we hope MKG/TRob/Sully/Drummond become more than they are. What other choice do we have? Sucking every year? How plausible is that? Do you think that will paint our organization as a place teams would want to go to? This is a legitimate concern. But other factors always come into play. You forgot to talk about those - synergy and lack of continuity and lack of true defined role besides Jack and Ariza (who are sure to be starters). This is a great piece, but one I do not concur with. Good job
I agree with you saying that we have pretty much maxed out our efforts. However- you are saying that w Robinson, PJ3, and a healthy Eric Gordon we are going to be stuck in the inescapable mid-teen lottery. Actually I think this will lead too another year of the lottery, by Demps flipping older players for more young assets-still surrounding us with crap. Take OKC- They draft Durant 2nd overall in 07, but still suck enough to get the 4th overall pick in 08- Westbrook, and once again they have a bottom 5 record- and draft Harden. They do this by having Wally Szczerbiak, Damien Wilkens, Kyle Weaver, Nenad Krstic, and Desmond Mason be top 10 in total minutes played- key parts of their tanking and future dynasty.
Lets look at the last 7 #1 picks and yall tell me how successful those teams have become: 2011- Kyrie Irving (CLE) 2010- John Wall (WAS) 2009- Blake Griffin (LAC) 2008- Derrick Rose (CHI) 2007- Greg Oden (POR) 2006- Andrea Bargnani (TOR) 2005- Andrew Bogut (MIL) It's pretty safe to argue that of all those 7 teams, only 1 is a contender CHI. So the idea that getting the #1 pick is the only way to compete for a title is BOGUS. There are so many pieces to the puzzle. Why do we have to get the great draft pick first? Whats wrong with doing that second or third? Sure, we are not close to competing with our current roster but I'd argue that we are on the right track and to blow what we have built up only for the hope of getting a #1 pick in the next 5 years is a complete mistake in my opinion. How bout we just get everyone healthy for the stretch run and see how good (or terrible) we really are fully loaded. Then lets see where the ping pong balls fall, THEN assess what we should do going forward.
So the thesis of this post basically is saying that if the Hornets dont get the #1 pick this year, we should blow it up and hope for a #1 next year and keep doing that every year for the next hundred years till we get #1? Once we eventually get #1 we automatically become contenders? lol. Come on guys, there has to be another way to build a contender right??
I'm not worried, here's why: 1) Dell Demps is our general manager. I'm confident that if he feels we are in NBA purgatory he will make the necessary decisions (much like Portland did this season). 2) We have the three things you want in a rebuilding project: cap flexibility, a high draft pick, and young development projects (Aminu and Henry). Oh, and our coach specializes in that field. 3) Eric Gordon, barring more injuries, has the potential to be a top 3 SG in this league. Granted we draft well, we have the potential to pair him with another Allstar, and still have oodles of cap space and veterans that can be dealt.
If you listen to our podcasts, you know I don't always agree with Ryan- but I think he is pretty dead on here. And he was bashed for being negative when he predicted 18 wins at the beginning of the season. If I had to bet, I guarantee I will see a lot of the same names on that post as this one. Fact is that he does what a good writer should do- he takes off the rose colored glasses and writes his pieces straight down the middle, with no bias. Again, he said 18 wins before the season began. Be honest- what was YOUR prediction?
Don't see how predections are relevant with the numerous Hornet injuries no one could forsee. To me, such a negative prediction forshadows Ryan current negative take on what is at least a mildly positive situation.
Michael, If you want to quantify what "not good enough to even break through" means, I may just take that bet.
THANK YOU! My question is how many wins would Ryan had predicted if he had known Gordon would play 2 games, plus all those other starters would miss so much time. The fact that we are at 13 wins despite the turmoil, and still with a month to go tells me Ryan wasn't accurate by predicting 18, he was well short!
How many injuries have the Bulls had and what is their record? Injuries are part of the prediction process 9or they should be). Those who want to maintain the delusion that Gordon, MKG, and Tyler Zeller plus some "solid moves" will be enough are welcome to do so. The Lakers have 3 of the top 15 players in the entire league and nobody considers them serious contenders. Point is, the Hornets are MILES away from contender status and if they don't get Anthony Davis, they will likely be too good to get a top 3 pick but not good enough to ever break through.
It's not easy to express an unpopular or unpleasant opinion. It totally busted Ryan and Michael's bubbles after the lease announcement. Plus, that is super boring, which adds additional suckage to the experience. No one has to agree. What I love, however, is people taking the time to express their counter-arguments with mature and informed follow-ups. Slow clap, mofos.
Way to bring the happiness down Ryan after my upbeat article haha. It's okay though, this tends to make sense and it is a fear of mine. Like, is this really the BEST these guys can do. Injuries aside there is some talent here, but it's mostly D-League and backup talent. I'm still optimistic about the future, I don't know why, I'm usually pessimistic about it. I guess it's because most people outside of NOLA are pessimistic about this team that has driven me to optimism as a way of saying, "Screw you! You're wrong, watch what happens." I think Dell and Monty are doing the best with what they have. If we do indeed get a pick from 2-5 (which in my view is going to happen, we AREN'T getting the number one pick) then what do we do for next season. I think we need to do what the Blazers did and trade some of a veterans for future first rounders. I still think the best thing we're missing from all this is just how flexible this roster is at the moment. Remember when it wasn't? Exactly. So it's a worrisome time, but an exciting one too. Something I talked about yesterday.
I've read been saying this for weeks. Ask yourself who on this team is a key piece to a championship level team 3 years from now? I can't say anybody other than an injury prone Gordon and a highly offensively inconsistent Ariza.
Didnt like this article at all. You didn't consider the season schedule before commenting on how we're mediocre everywhere. We had no practice time together to start the season. A lot of our pieces were new, and guys were rusty. Players like Landry fit in fine immediately last year cause of a dude named cp3. all I'm saying is our starters looked mediocre because of lack of practice and bein rusty. And without cp3 and dwest, guys roles were different. Took time to go find their groove, but I think it's obvious they've figured it out.
I can't honestly say Seattle wouldn't be more lucrative, but to say the Hornets won't be anything beyond a lottery team is a little extreme. The team was only a game away from the WCF a few years ago, and if the team wouldn't have gone cheap and traded Chandler, CP3 could realistically still be on the team.
Robinson,Lilard with our frist rd picks if we get another Doron Lamb or BJ McCollum. sign Dragic, Steve Novak or Nic Batum,Ryan Anderson and one of the Lopez brothers or Magee Robinson,Anderson,Ayon Free agent center,Kaman,Smith Ariza,Novak,Aminu Gordon,Henry,Lamb Dragic,Liilard Vasguez
One of the Lopez twins? They are too different in skill level to refer to them that way. Kaman is gone, and let's hope we do better than THAT in the draft. I think Jarret Jack needs to stay. But I do agree we need to make a splash in free agency.
batums not going any where with the mess portland is in right now and with the season andersons having he's going want the big bucks come summer time. if it was me id sing both lopez twins and let mcgee stay in denver. mainly because the lopez twins were ballin together at stanford and if they can play the way they played in college u can have a pretty good front line next year just saying
Give Monty Williams his due--the team has has essentially bought in to what he is saying. They just cannot transfer that into wins. Unfortunately, I do not see it getting any better in New Orleans. as long they stay in New Orleans, the Hornets will not be able to attract or keep talent to enable them to be anything more than a lottery team. That's why moving the team to a more enticing site is the better thing to do. I prefer Seatlle because it has shown to have a huge NBA following and it jas a bigger and more lucrative market than the Big Easy.
Loved the article until the last 25% when you explained what you would do. How do you completely justify starting completely over with only the 2 lottery picks from the upcoming summer? Thats taking a huge risk because I'd say the odds of finding cheap yet effective players like we have now is pretty low. Most teams are lucky to have a few, yet we have a full team of these guys. I think right now we have the perfect set up to make a huge step forward. We have a slew of cheap role players already in place that fit our style and system, plus have the experience under their belt from this season to make a bigger impact next year, we have cap space, an amnesty clause in our back pocket, our biggest asset and best player is at a cross road so we could choose to hold on to him or let him go if we feel his injuries are a concern. Going forward we have options and thats key. We can go forward with Gordon by paying him, or we can go in another direction. We can use our cap space this summer or we can save it by going with big 1 year deals like we did with Landry last year. We can keep our draft picks this year or use them in a package to get other already established guys. To me, we have a solid team in place....add a star or 2 to this team and we might make some noise. Gordon may be one star, add a second in the draft or a big trade and then the Hornets are for real again. How for real depends on the type of stars we can add. I'd take this current set up any day than going with the unknown of blowing it all up just to stink for more seasons when that could mean nothing if we don't get the right picks or players in upcoming drafts.
Right now we have 5 lottery picks on our team (Gordon, Aminu, Henry, Okafor, and Kaman). Of those, I would consider trading Okafor, due to his high salary. If he could yield a lottery pick or a top-10 point guard I would jump at it. We have the following players that are better than any pick outside of the top ten is likely to be: Ariza, Jack, Vasquez, Smith, Landry and Ayon. Ayon and Smith are too popular to trade. Ariza is too good of a defender to let go. I would like to keep Jack and/or Vasquez at backup PG/SG. Johnson and Thomas are interesting filler. If they help us work a trade then that's great. We need a quick defensive-minded point guard and an athletic center or power forward. 2012/13 Line-up
Trade Okafor and Jack for a first and future picks but If you incude them two in a draft day trade we can get more picks as currency.This years draft have thw most nba ready talent in the top 20.The Hornets will have to rebulid within the draft and free agency.Any new ownership news?
We can't pay someone to take Okafor off our hands and I don't think Monty and Dell are very high on getting rid of Jack below his market value. Jack is worth way more than a late 20's 1st round pick in my opinion.
Not quite sure why the negativity from this article. Here's a line of stats for you: Games missed 2011-2012 season (out of 51)/Team rank in Player Effiency Rating: Gordon- 49 (3rd) Smith- 25 (5th) Okafor- 24 (6th) Landry- 23 (2nd) Ariza- 13 (T-8th) Kaman- 12 (7th) Ayon- 10 (4th) Jack- 8 (1st) If you haven't figured it out, our TOP 8(!!!) PER leaders on our team have missed at least 8 games. Those figures are appalling. The only way you get rid of Gordon is if you know he can't stay healthy over the course of a full season OR you're getting Anthony Davis. Davis is so good btw I think it would take Gordon and our 3rd-5th pick to pry him from the hands of the #1 pick. Is it worth Gordon and MKG or Gordon and T-Rob? You know what I'm worried about? This team is starting to show way to much competence before the season ends. I'm legitimately worried we run of 3-5 in a row somewhere once EG10/Kaman/Jack get back. We should have won in Portland and probably would have, had we had just one of the aforementioned 3. SA nice little 7-8 finish might take us out of the 3rd spot and put us 4th/5th. Truth be told Ryan, I'm a little disappointed in you. This is the one reliable source for good Hornets coverage and it's season ticket renewal time and you're writing Deshazier type articles that gloss over tons of really important facts as to why stating our ceiling isn't that high is just completely erroneous.
I'm sorry, Ryan, but I loved everything ImSorry wrote (including the dead on Deshazier comment). Ryan, your basic argument is the Hornets are statistically much better than their record (agreed) and that is bad. (What?) The mechanism is that younger players playing better than older players means the all of the younger players (without exception) must have peaked early. (Simplistic, unlikely, and yet to be confirmed.) Most of these younger players weren't even in camp with the Hornets and all of them have endured a compressed season with less time for practice and teaching. This clearly cuts against your argument, as does the general trend of a multi-year learning curve for NBA players. Here is the real news. The Hornets being statistically much better than their record means: - We get a better draft pick than teams who are likely worse than us. - We will be even better when the long term injured players (Gordon, Okafor) return. [Gordon's talent is obvious. Look at the article here about how much better Okafor was playing before his injury.] - Our younger players will take a bigger step forward after going through a summer, camp, and less compressed season with the coaching staff supervision.
Seven Hells, y'all. Ryan has a brain. He uses it. Ergo, he is not Deshazier. To anyone that reads his TP articles, such a comment is a monstrous affront to all that Ryan does. Nor is it Ryan's job to sell season tickets. Now, as I fan, I hate this post. I hate losing. Whenever we watch those wins live I realize how much fun that was when we did it on a regular basis. But, if I put on my GM hat; then, yeah, I might think this strategy is correct.
I'm not saying the Hornets are statistically better than their record. Actually, my point was that these guys are working as hard as they can already - and they are losing games in droves. You can make the argument that some of them will improve, and in the case of Henry and Aminu, I think that's right. However, I just don't think that this roster can or will do much more than it already is. That means that as a bunch of roleplayers as a "foundation", they aren't worth a tremendous amount. I agree whole-heartedly with the idea that if Okafor is equal in production to say . . . Ayon - then you move Okafor and his salary. I just think you might have to move someone with him or take back a bad deal yourself to have that happen.
For the record also regarding the PER situation. We have 9 guys 14.2 or higher in PER and none above 18. To me, it pretty much confirms what we've been thinking all along. We need 1-2 all stars now and we will be in business. Gordon sits at 17.0 but his percentages aren't what they will be over a full season and one of the games he played pretty hurt against at the time a great defense. Gordon will be a 22-23 PER player and those don't grow on trees, like I've been saying all along. You have to take the risk with injury. If we can get a T-Rob type that can come in here and rock out a 18-19 PER next season, with the roleplayers we have, that's a playoff team. In short, we could have a full 10-man rotation next year with not a single player being below average in efficiency. That's pretty damn strong. This is all assuming we have the same exact team + rookies though btw.
I get where you are coming from. Calling me DeShazier is a little uncalled for, though. I think the point I'm trying to get at isn't just that the team is missing a lot of solid games from players - it's just that it doesn't matter if it's Kaman or Okafor out there. Or Ayon, Landry or Smith. They are all interchangeably mediocre. It worries me. It'll take an amazing player or two to take us to contender status quickly, and I hate the relying on "Anthony Davis or Bust." And yes, it also worries me that these hard-working guys are going to take advantage of the tanking teams, quitting teams, and teams that take them lightly - and end up screwing our draft position. In short, I worry about everything.
Hey Monty. I'm not upset with you caling me DeShazier. I found it funny and somewhat apt. I meant that response to be more tongue in cheek than grumpy, I just failed utterly in conveying it. This is an Eeyore post, and I'm not denying it.
To me, what I see is that if the cheap bench guys can give you the same numbers and productivity that the expensive big name guys give, then get rid of the expensive guys and use that savings in other areas that will make a bigger impact for the overall team. Having a guy make $1.5 million that can give you the same production as a $10 million guy is a great thing, not a problem that we should just dump. That would be stupid and going backwards. Especially when its all just in an effort to add more guys via future drafts. Just my opinion.
I didn't call you Deshazier, I said this was a Deshazier-type article. IE- Mostly very negative with no actual basis behind the negativity. I very much enjoy this site and its' writers but I just don't understand why you'd publish something that bashed our talent level so hard without showing us why you think it. Again, I wouldn't even take the time on NOLA.com to tell Deshazier he sucks. But this site is one of the best sports blogs around imo and it should be held to that level of writing. You are right. I probably shouldn't have name dropped and it was more laziness on my part to use Deshazier as an adjective instead of taking the time to type out why I didn't care for it and here I am explaining anyways. Sorry.
I'm pretty sure no one wants another bad team next year. If we trade everyone off when do you expect us to win, 2016? Even if we could acquire all those picks dell and monty wouldn't be able to keep their jobs long enough to see the fruits of their (theoretically insane) patience.