In the NO Podcast Episode 66: Special Guest David Thorpe weighs in on the young guys

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Published: May 12, 2012

Special Guest David Thorpe – NBA trainer, coach, and writer from ESPN.com – joins Michael and I to talk the young players on this team – what they need to do to grow, what they should and can focus on, and talks other young guys in the draft. He also seems to proscribe a trip to France to lose weight and tells us what he’d do with Eric Gordon if he was the Hornets front office.

This one is a good one guys.


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37 comments
504ever
504ever

Would love to hear Thorpe again to get his assessment of more of the Hornets players. - Is Jack a starting PG for a playoff team? If not, and he already says Vasquez isn't, then who is and where do we get him (draft, FA)? - Is Jason Smith a starting PF for a playoff team? Is Ayon, who I know he likes? If one is, do we draft a player at a different postion? If so what postion and who are the options? - Are Kaman and/or Landry worth resigning and, if so, at what price? - Should Okafor be amnestied? If so under what circumstances? Would also like to hear more about Gordon to explore Thorpe's "bad body, injury-wise" so don't resign Gordon.

kempleton
kempleton

Asik and Ilyasova and the Turkish connection! Very interesting thought! :) We will definitely become a very good rebounding team with both of them on the court! Ilyasova became the runner-up in the MIP voting this year. Check it out: Charles Gardner at JSOnline graded each member of the Milwaukee Bucks. Only one A (Ilyasova) and one F (Jackson) were awarded. (http://www.jsonline.com/sports/bucks/report-cards-nf585dh-149761285.html)

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

Ilysova is a must get if the Hornets don't take a PF in the draft. Fits this team perfectly and he actually compliments Aminu very well because of his ability to hit the outside shot. Ersan can play the SF role on offense, while Aminu covers the SF's on defense. Asik will be a little more interesting. Per CBA rules, teams can't offer him more than a 4 yr mid-level and it is 50/50 whether Chicago will match. If they amnesty Boozer, they will definitely match, but if not, it will be hard to justify paying him the 11 mil a year (5.5 plus 5.5 lux tax penalty)

John Doe
John Doe

I couldn't disagree with this guy more on Eric Gordon. His idea that Gordon won't want to wait a couple of year for our 2 rookies in the upcoming draft to develop is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Gordon isn't Kobe Bryant. He isn't some old, tired veteran who just wants a Championship. He is only 23 freaking years old! What a moron!!! And his bright idea is to "quietly" trade Gordon for scraps? You mean Eric Gordon, one of the best young SGs in the league? That same Eric Gordon? This dude.... I liked most of the interview, and I like his talent assessments, but this guy is off his rocker if he thinks we are going to trade Eric Gordon because he won't want to wait 2 freaking years for our rookies to develop. Also, he hasn't had a major injury in his entire career, and he has never re-injured an injury in his whole life. It's not like he keeps tearing the same ACL or anything. We are talking about little injuries that force him to miss 5-10 games, or a game here-and-there.

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

Actually, Gordon has said the exact same thing behind closed doors. I know that objectively we sit back and think the guy is young and he should be patient, but when you have done nothing but lose for your first 4 years in the league, the last thing you wanna hear is, "Just wait 2 or 3 years for these 19 year old rookies to figure the NBA out, then we'll be great!" Gordon wants to win now, just like CP3 wanted to when he was heading into his fifth year. Could you imagine saying that statement I just wrote above to CP3 as he was heading into his fifth season? These guys have no idea how long they have in this league, so they dont see it the same way you and I do from the sidelines. You give Gordon the choice of two rookies who could be great, but could suck or a couple of vets who can help him get to the playoffs right away and he will take the vets every time. As he is with the majority of this podcast, David Thorpe is dead on with his assessment here.

Josh
Josh

I honestly don't think that Aminu is the one who is lost; I think that is David Thorpe. He wrote an article about the Hornets on ESPN.con that can be found on the "Draft" link on the NBA page that said that Tom Benson should bring back "Demps and Scott" instead of Williams. Also, I completely disagree with the fact that the Hornets obviously won't make the playoffs. I'm not a hater, but I don't like the fact that people who don't watch the Hornets talk derogatorily about their players. Aminu looked really good in the last few weeks when Ariza wasn't there. On a side note, this is a website that leaks some information about the Hornets' offseason plans:http://www.tigerdroppings.com/rant/p/33122752/inside-information-on-the-teams-offseason-plans.aspx

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

That site links to hornets report... our forum affiliate. Just so you know who is leaking what to whom.

Josh
Josh

There is actually a link on that link.

sundance
sundance

It's rather extreme at this point to trade Eric based on his history of injuries alone. If he had a history of one part being persistently injured, like Roy's knee or Curry's ankle or Yao's foot then there would be reason for concern. I think the Hornets did the right thing by sitting him at the end of the season because he didn't look to be in the best of condition. I agree he needs to be re-signed. Not simply because he is right now the Hornets' best player, but because he could be one of the top players in the league down the road.

George
George

You have to re-sign Gordon in my opinion if his knee is structurally sound you take the risk. Maybe drafting Rivers at 10 could take some of the pressure off him, and if he says healthy we could have a combo like the Hawks had with Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford coming off the bench. Also, you should do a podcast with Johnathon Givony from Draftexpress and get his thoughts on some prospects

downnout
downnout

Tyson Chandler - Emeka Okafor situation all over again Emeka for 70-80 games VS. Tyson for 50-60 we choose Emeka, how is it working for us now? SO, we should make Aminu a 4? we will be drafting TRob, resigning Landry, and have Ayon, Smith and AMinu at the 4! 5 guys! anyone have any idea how to solve that problem?

da ThRONe
da ThRONe

Nobodies saying it's not a risk either way. However there are some differences for a couple reason. 1. We didn't have to sign Tyson to a max deal. 2. We knew Tyson wanted to be here long term. 3. Here's the numbers Tyson Chandler out of a possible 656 games from 01-02 season to 08-09 season right before we traded him in played in 537 of those games. That's 82%. Eric Gordon out of a possible 312 games since drafted in 08-09 til present he has played in 205 games. That's 66% I think it's safe to say as a "small" Gordon is far more of an injury risk than Chandler who was a "big". When you factor that into the fact it's max dollars, and Gordon as talented as he is still isn't a proven commodity, then there's no way we can take this risk. To keep things in perspective. Many are comparing him to D.Wade. In Wade's 1st 4 season out of 328 games he played in 264. That 80%. To your 2nd point who says we're re-signing Landry? I haven't heard anything. If we do address that position in the draft(like I hope) we have no need to bring Landry back. Williams already question his commitment during this rough season. Also that's the beauty of guys like Aminu in this league. They can play multiple positions.

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

Okay, just to clear this up: The Hornets CAN NOT sign Gordon and then amnesty him later. You can only amnesty a guy who was on a contract with your team prior to the lockout. So, you can't trade for Ben Gordon and amnesty him either. We will be putting up a massive post in the next few weeks breaking down specific points of the CBA and how they will apply to the Hornets this offseason and beyond. But, again to be clear, if the Hornets match a max deal- which will be around 4 years/58 million- then they can not amnesty it down the line if these injuries continue to pile up year after year. And the reason I asked Thorpe the question the way I did was because, more than anyone, Monty let it be known to other people that it was incredibly frustrating to deal with Gordon's injuries this season and he would probably rather have a slightly less talented player who could give him 75-80 games a year than a more talented player who will only give him 50-60. We have seen Monty do more with less, but he actually have to have players suit up to get the most out of them.

Ron
Ron

Does the CBA allow for performance bonuses? If so, then we propose to EG a mid-level contract with a sliding scale of bonuses topping out at $14M/yr if he's on the court for 2,812 minutes (74 games at 38 minutes/game).

Ron
Ron

the market usually sets the ‘price’ at a fully guaranteed contract. Yet *should* his medical history modify the market?

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

The modification you are describing is major. No. I think such a modification is unlikely without more data. One reason is the nature of his injuries have been different. It's not the same thing over and over, which could scare someone. There are not too many players who can make an immediate difference on a team. Healthy EJ is one, and he will be paid well as a result. We have a chance to decide what is worth it risk.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

Contracts that are not fully guaranteed exist, but the market usually sets the 'price' at a fully guaranteed contract.

Chris
Chris

Interesting Podcast. Basically Tom Benson is not going to be an owner likely to sit on 3-4 prospects waiting 3-4yrs to compete while also struggling crowd wise. He wants to get this team competing for the playoffs and filling the arena at same time. And after all the questions this franchise has had to answer while the NBA owned the team, the team really cant be struggling in the bottom half of the Western Conference for the next 3-4yrs while young guys develop if this franchise is going to have the kind of success they want in New Orleans on and off the court. I expect Dell Demps to resign Gordon at whatever cost it takes.

Mike P
Mike P

I understand everyone's concern for Gordon, but I would have a really hard time letting go of him. Watching the playoffs has shown me that you need a guy that can get into the paint with ease. The fact that Memphis has survived this long in the Clippers series is a miracle, because their late game offensive execution has been horrifying. They can't penetrate the clippers defense, so they end up chucking jumpers. Their best offense comes from getting Gasol's distribution from the high post, or isolating Randolph 1 v 1. And right now, that is barely enough. Trading Gordon for picks is not something I want to do, at least if the picks are in this year's draft. I don't see anyone that has the offensive capabilities that he has. I think Gordon is an All-Star already, and also think he could score 25 a game without his percentages suffering much. You can't say that about too many people in this league. He is also a very good defensive player. That said, I am as worried as anyone about his health. So if Benson is on board with this, I would rather save the amnesty that could be placed on Okafor in case we have to use it two-three years from now on EJ (if he continues to get hurt and is untradeable). I used to be all about amnestying Okafor, but we only have two years left on his contract, and in the second year, he will become this year's Chris Kaman, meaning he will be an expiring big that could help a contender. Contrary to Thorpe's opinion, I do think we are a borderline playoff team in the West (if healthy), and one good FA signing away or trade from being in the playoffs. I know we have miles to go before we're contenders. Can we get to a top 3-4 seed in the West in 2 years? Most likely not. So unless we think we can make a splash in FA, I think we need to hold off on using the amnesty. And to trade a guy with the talent of Gordon would probably be a mistake. You need to take chances to have a shot at winning an NBA title.

da ThRONe
da ThRONe

I post this about Gordon at another site "This boils down to business. In business you have to wager risk vs. reward. If we sign Gordon and he stays healthy than what? We are still in a similar situation that we were in with CP3. With less of a player in Gordon. Unless both of our draft picks are home runs(which I'll get into later) where is the rest of the talent going to come from. We couldn't get guys to come play with the best PG in the league, top 5 player, that actually passed the ball willingly. And that's just simply the reward for signing Gordon to a max deal. The risk is we sign him and he continues to sustain injuries like he has every year since high school. To me when you look at it like that as bright as Gordon star is flashing signing and trading him to me is a no brainer. I would trade Gordon to a team that drafts a players we like in the 6-11 range and that teams 2013 unprotected 1st." We have so much more to lose than to gain by retaining Gordon.

Mike P
Mike P

that's a little too much trust in Terrence Jones for my taste. I like his talent/upside, but the guy has a Corey Brewer complex- he acts like he cured cancer every time he dunks. He seems to be about show more than substance sometimes. I'm a little old school and that's just my personal opinion. There are character questions that have been raised, and I don't know whether they're true, but character questions concern me. He reminds me of Terrence Williams, and not in a good way. Players with immaturity issues tend to take a few years in the NBA to get it through their heads. I don't know anything about the other guy you said, so I won't offer my opinion. I am not against trading Gordon if the price is right. I just value him more highly than other people, I suppose. When CP3 came back from his knee injury, you could tell he wasn't fully ready yet. The quickness we had gotten used to wasn't quite there. Gordon's knee didn't seem to bother him after his first game back. And his knee is the thing I worry about the most

da ThRONe
da ThRONe

This isn't about getting equal value for Gordon. It's about getting the best we can and cutting bait while we still can. First I've said this before. I wouldn't be surprised if the best player in the draft comes as late as the 18th-25th pick. I think people forget just how loaded this draft is. Most pro guys stayed because of the lock out. Now you almost have two years in one. So the 6-11 pick this year has a high chance of being special. Then add a potential mid-lotto to mid-1st round pick and I'll call that a huge win. If we can turn this Gordon situation into a Terrence Jones this year(who I think is the most offensively skilled player in the entire draft) and somebody like Trey Burke next year(who I think is a slightly less skilled and IQ version of Chris Paul) it'll be worth one injury prone Gordon. Hopefully for Gordon's sake we could work on trade with the Suns a team that has an awesome medical staff that is less likely to shy away because of his injuries.

Mike P
Mike P

I think I may be wrong about the amnesty option. I believe I just read that it's not available to players not signed prior to 2011-2012. I guess that means we couldn't amnesty Gordon. That changes things a bit

Mike P
Mike P

I just don't believe that we get equal value in our trade for Gordon. His injury risk would be negated by our amnesty option. No one wants to amnesty a max player, but it would be there just in case. I don't know if I'd pull a trigger on that theoretical trade. I went through every draft since 05, and found about 5 players in the 6-11 range that I consider around or above Gordon's level (Roy, Noah, Bynum, Monroe, and of course, EJ himself). I think EJ has more potential than Noah and Monroe, but included them because good bigs are hard to find. I included EJ because I am talking about the chance to get someone like him. So in 7 years, with 6 picks available in that range each year, there were 5 players you could've hit on. I'm not taking that 12% chance. The unprotected pick is nice, but things can change quickly in the NBA. I know the draft research doesn't give the perfect odds, but that ballpark doesn't seem too friendly. And it's even less appealing when you consider Bynum was in high school when he was drafted

Jason
Jason

I'd be careful about trading Gordon. Management needs to really determine if Gordon is on board with the Hornets long term. But lets put it this way, Gordon, when healthy, might be the third or fourth best SG in the league. Kobe and Wade are 1a/1b. His injury risks are real, but so are Wade's, CP3's, Griffin's, etc. Its hard to find players with no injury risk. I think you can build around Gordon with guys like Marshall and Gilchrist. I'd really want a tall PG because Gordon isn't that big. If Gordon doesn't want to resign, then yes, I'd trade him to Indiana and try to get something back. Granger would be a pretty solid get, but he's not a max contract player. You are almost better off trading Gordon for draft picks.

Cris
Cris

If our owner was middled aged I would expect them to go with rebuilding the team through the draft with 3-4 prospects. Tom Benson is 85yrs old and has the resources to put a championship team on the court, he obviously wants to turn the ship around very quickly and have this team competing in the short term future if he can. Gordon is a risk but is the main guy Dell Demps and Monty Williams wanted when they traded Chris Paul so I expect that Gordon will be resigned. A player with the talent Gordon has, you have to take the risk. There's always the amnesty if things dont work out down the line.

da ThRONe
da ThRONe

Couldn't agree more with this guy about pretty much everything. Gordon should be moved ASAP. We can certainly S&T him we don't need to do it before the draft. Trading draft picks is the worst thing we could do. We need to be patient and grow this team instead of rushing things.

bee dat
bee dat

Hell-naw we'll be competitive with gordon next year. hoping for some combo of a davis,kgilchrist, kendall marshall with henson as back up plan to go with whatever the 20+ m of cap space dell has carved out brings us future is bright

da ThRONe
da ThRONe

I don't think anybody is trying to deny Gordon makes us a playoffs contenders. What I am saying is that if he continues to miss huge chunks of the season like he's done every year since his rookie season it will be more debilitating to the franchise after a max deal. As a poker player I've learned that in situation where you aren't given enough time to examine the situation properly if you don't have a huge made hand already it's better to fold and live to fight another day. day.

Everett
Everett

Excellent score getting Thorpe, fellas. Awesome podcast. Don't know if you guys have heard of The Basketball Jones, but they do a really great daily podcast (http://feeds.feedburner.com/thescore/podcasts/thebasketballjones) and a special Friday edition on Grantland (http://www.grantland.com/podcasts), maybe it might be worth trying to get them on a future podcast as guests.

Ryan Schwan
Ryan Schwan

I've listened to the Jones for about four years now. I've exchanged emails with Skeets a bit here and there, but I've never thought of bringing them on, really. Not sure they'd want to, since they do a show every single day. :)

edbballin504
edbballin504

Best case scenario is we get the #1 pick and draft Davis, then all of this talk is for ought. Demps job will be easy. You resign Gordon and have Davis as your starting PF. Figuring out the rest shouldn't be that hard. Worst case is we get pick #5 or 6 then we have to get creative and we'd have some work to do. If anyone is stressed out about all this, just push pause on the Hornets for a few more weeks. Out of sight, out of mind. Enjoy the playoffs and see what happens on May 30th. Thats the date when we can know exactly what cards this team has been dealt. Right now, its just too early to worry in my opinion.

edbballin504
edbballin504

I didnt find it depressing or sad. I think it was realistic. Our best asset (Gordon) is a huge risk, and his history proves that. There's nothing to argue there. Aminu is what was discussed: better prospect at the PF spot, but on a team with already too many PFs. There are some tough decisions that have to made soon, but thats the business. I think there's like a 95% chance we keep Gordon no matter what the cost, the real challenge is finding a way to keep him healthy, most likely by reducing his minutes and just making sure he's the guy to close out games. To do that you need a quality backup SG. Is Belinelli/Jack the answer? A second challenge is flipping some of these quality bigs which we are overloaded with, into some quality guards and wing players. It's easy to fall in love with Kaman, Smith, Okafor, Landry, Ayon, Aminu, but you have to make some changes with this group, especially if you draft a Davis, Robinson, Drummond, Sullinger, Zeller, or Henson. I do believe we have options, "something to work with." And thats enough to give us some hope. Things could be worst, just look at CHA.

Mike Wr
Mike Wr

Great podcast. Learned a lot from your conversation with Thorpe. On Aminu, I think it's important to emphasize how the lockout took away any chance to coach Aminu and improve his game off-season. On Kaman, you don't resign him if you end up with a 4 in the draft or if you believe Aminu's future is at the 4. On Gordon you understate what you could get in return for him in a trade. The Pacers would be more than willing to give Granger back. They're a small market team and must shell out $s to resign Hibbard as an RFA. The Pacers would build around Hibbard, Gordon and George. They would also love getting a young 4 if the Hornets draft a 4, because the Pacers are very thin at both the 4 and 5. West is signed only through next year, more reason for the Hornets to include a 4 in any trade with the Pacers. Collison, Granger and the Pacers #1 for Gordon, a spare 4 and the Hornets 2nd 1st round pick.

Jack
Jack

That kinda made me sad...

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

Yeah, maybe we should have prefaced this podcast by saying Thorpe is extremely realistic and pretty dead on in his comments. If you are wearing your teal colored glasses and hoping to hear "the future is extremely bright in New Orleans", you might want to skip that one. But both on and off the air, he was extremely complementary of Dell and Monty- he just isn't in love with some of our young guys.

edbballin504
edbballin504

Nice!!!!!!!! About to listen to this now!

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