Game On: Hornets vs. Magic in Mexico City

Published: October 7, 2012

The New Orleans Hornets and Orlando Magic open up their pre-seasons in Mexico City at 1:30 CDT. Coverage live on NBATV

What To Expect

Throw last preseason out the window because the league only gave each team two games prior to the start of their shortened season. To get an idea of how Monty is going to distribute the minutes, not only in this game but for the rest of the preseason, let’s take a look back to 2010-11. In the opening preseason game, Monty gave the starters 20-25 minutes each and practically everybody got some run, so expect to see guys who are long shots to make the team (Solomon Alabi and Chris Wright) to get a couple of minutes.

The Hornets ran fairly vanilla offensive sets during that preseason, but on a positive note, they played at a quicker pace than they did during either regular season. They also turned the ball over far more often than they normally do and had more fouls, most likely due to the faster pace and the constant interchanging of players.

What Else To Watch For

Who Starts

Personally, I don’t care who starts, but it might give us some insight into where they feel Davis is at currently and what we are going to see from the team this season. If Lopez starts along side him, it is a sign that they are protecting the rookie from the potential pounding he would take playing the five as a rookie. If Anderson gets the start, then perhaps the Hornets truly do intend to play at a faster pace this year.

If Gordon is out, it will interesting to see who Monty puts out as the starting shooting guard. Xavier Henry has the most experience with the system, Rivers is the most talented, and Roger Mason provides the team with leadership and the ability to space the floor. While Gordon will start and get the majority of minutes at shooting guard upon his return, whomever starts today might be the first guard off the bench when the regular season kicks off.

Getting in the Zone

The Hornets have the potential to throw a devestating zone at teams due to the length of both Al-Farouq Aminu and Anthony Davis. A zone would also help to mask some of the lateral quickness issues the Hornets have at point guard, as both Vasquez and Rivers are below average one-on-one defenders. The preseason is the perfect time to get the kinks out, so be on the lookout for whether or not the Hornets add this new wrinkle to the defensive side of the ball.

Creating Contact

If the Hornets can get to the free throw line this year, they have the potential to be an average to above average offensive team. If they don’t, they may once again be among the worst in the league. Ryan Anderson, Anthony Davis, and Eric Gordon are all great to elite free throw shooters at their position, and Austin Rivers has the ability to get into the lane and create contact. For the Hornets to maximize their talents, they will have to get in the bonus early and put their stars on the line, giving the Hornets a chance to get free, uncontested points. Trips to the free throw line also allow the Hornets to get into their defensive set on the other side of the court, and once the Hornets defense is set, it should be one of the toughest to score against in the league.

Other News and Notes

– Conflicting reports on Gustavo Ayon this week, with one report saying his rights were sold to a Spanish team, and the latest report saying that Ayon will play with the Magic this year before they send him packing. Either way, it looks like the Magic don’t really value the Goose and it makes you wonder whether the Hornets could have thrown another young guy (or cash) into the Ryan Anderson trade and kept the promising big man.

Vegas Zone: I am not even going to waste my time by looking up the line for today’s game. Anybody who gambles on preseason has a sickness and needs help. However, I will give you some Hornets related Futures lines. The Hornets are 150: 1 to win the NBA Championship and between 50:1 and 80:1 to win the Western Conference. While those are sucker bets, the Hornets team wins over/under is at 27, which is up 1.5 wins already. That will likely move up again, so put your bets down NOW. And after opening at 6/5 to win Rookie of the Year, Anthony Davis’s odds are now at 19:10 (Basically two to one). Rivers is 30:1 in case you were curious. And why not put a few bucks down on Eric Gordon (150:1) to win NBA MVP? If he stays healthy…..

NBA 2K13: Okay, so I see some concern on the boards when it comes to Ryan Anderson. Yes, I know he is a 69 overall on 2K13, but if you have played with him, you know he is a fantastic weapon in the game. Even in his All-Star prime, David West was in the low 70’s overall on the game, and it is simply a result of the formula they use to determine their “overall rating.” A player who is decent in multiple areas will have a higher overall rating than a player who is elite in 2-3 areas, but is not a major factor elsewhere. Go ahead and create a player and you will see certain raising certain attributes will cause the “overall rating” to skyrocket, while increasing other attributes will do nothing for his overall. Anderson is easily the best shooting big man on the game and he excels on the offensive boards. His spectacular dunk ratings and his pass ratings, etc. leave a lot to be desired, but that doesn’t matter, because Anderson belongs behind the arc.



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