Hornets Beat: Season Preview Part 2

The gang tackles the second and final portion of our New Orleans Hornets season preview.

If you missed it, check out the first part of our Hornets Season Preview.

6. What do you expect will make you pump your fist in excitement most often this season?

MM: Anthony Davis blocks that land in teammates hands and lead to fast breaks. Okafor blocked the occasional shot and Chandler spiked many a balls out of bounds, but Davis has the ability to turn defense into offense, and I think those plays will get the Hive buzzing this year.

MG: McNamara’s is definitely up there, but I’m going to play the role of Mr. Optimist with mine – Eric Gordon breaking down the defense, getting into the paint, and either finishing tough and-1’s or kicking the ball out to Ryan Anderson for wide open wing or corner 3s.

JM: Upsetting a playoff bound team, or two, at the Hive on a game winning Gordon shot.

JC: Alley-oops. They’re a weakness of mine up there with shrimp and grits.

Joe: Ryan Anderson threes. Few things made the hive explode like when Peja started getting hot from downtown. I expect a lot of that this year from our new oversized sharpshooter.

7. What do you expect will make you shake your head in disappointment most often this season?

MM: Austin Rivers 27-foot three pointers. Look, he definitely has the range and he will make a couple this year, but something good always happens when that kid takes it to the rack. Settling for those shots will make any coach go bald- lucky for Monty, he is already there.

MG: The same thing that made me shake my head last year, except this year I’ll know it’s the beginning of the end – Aminu’s relentless drives into traffic, resulting in either turnovers or wild shots. He is undoubtedly aware that eventually, he’s going to have to show that he can at least be competent offensively; unfortunately, this will likely lead to him trying to force the issue even more than last season.

JM: Offensive ineptitude. The Hornets are not the most talented team in the league, but they need to stop settling for so many long two’s. Unfortunately, I don’t see that changing too much this season.

JC: EJ wearing the latest in fashion from wherever it is people that buy clothes besides at concerts.

Joe: The pace of play. I expect the Hornets to yet again be near the bottom of the league in possessions per 48, and with this roster I just don’t why.

8. What does Austin Rivers have to show you this year to prove he was worth the 10th pick?

MM: This year- nothing but effort. By year three, however, he will be declared either worthy of the pick or a reach. All I want to see this year is a desire to make himself and his teammates better every night and a commitment to playing all out for 48 minutes. I would be shocked if a kid with this work ethic and attitude fails to meet those expectations.

MG: Be coachable on offense, and the Energizer Bunny on defense. His overall work ethic has never been a question, but his defensive intensity has been; if he listens to a great coach like Monty and never lets up on the defensive end, I will be a happy camper.

JM: Simply put: be better at the end of the season than at the start. I’m not looking for him to make a gigantic impact this season. This question become more interesting and in depth for his third season.

JC: I really don’t care how he starts the season, but he’ll avoid flak from me in the offseason if he could be at least the fourth guard on 20 of the 30 NBA teams with room to grow and still be on an upward trajectory.

Joe: He needs to fit into a system and not try to be the star of one. Look, Rivers has been either the best or one of the best players on every team he’s ever played on. That’s not going to be the case this year, and it likely won’t be the case next year. I want to see him accept his duty as a role player and limit playing hero-ball, no matter how much he may want to start chucking.

9. If he stays healthy, how confident (as a %) are you that Anthony Davis wins ROY?

MM: 90%. I think the only other guy with a shot is Lillard due to how many minutes and shots he will get for Portland. But Davis should have a healthy stat line and a better record.

MG: 95%. There’s a reason that Davis was the easiest #1 choice since LeBron. He’s miles ahead of the rest of his class, and will prove it from the start.

JM: 85%. Lillard is going to put up some eye-catching offensive numbers in Portland. That alone might win him the award. But Davis is the frontrunner to start.

JC: 99%. It’s a stupid award. Politics plays a huge role, and that is sad. In the past 6 years, the top pick won the award 2 times. In three of the cases, health of the top pick was a factor: Blake Griffin fell-down-went-boom against the Hornets and missed the season, Greg Oden turned to the left and missed the season, and Andrea Bargnani missed a month due to an appendectomy. In the last case, non-rookie-to-me Blake Griffin won the award the season after he was drafted over John Wall who played only 69 games compared to Blake’s 82 games. In that 7th season, Chris Paul won it over Bogut. I don’t believe there is another eligible player that can outstrip Davis by a Paul-over-Bogut margin.

Joe: 80%. I agree with Jake that Lillard could throw up huge offensive numbers, which seem to be noticed more than blocks and rebounds per game. Still, Davis has the hype so it’s his game to lose.

10. Last year it was Jason Smith who took home MIH (Most Improved Hornet). Who takes home the hardware after this season?

MM: Lance Thomas. I think at some point he will get a shot to play decent minutes and will impress us all with a more consistent stroke from 17 feet, along with a better effort on the glass.

MG: If the answer to this question by season’s end is Aminu, then the playoffs are not entirely out of the question. Unfortunately, I don’t see that being the case, so I’ll go with Greivis Vasquez due to a better assist/turnover ratio and a higher 3-point percentage. Thomas may be the only other reasonable answer to this question, but minutes are just going to be too hard to come by for him in the Hornets’ loaded front court.

JM: I’d have to say Vasquez, too. If he cuts down on his turnovers he can make a significant improvement to his playmaking ability.

JC: Aminu, assuming he sticks around. Part of winning this has to be breaking through low expectations. He’s a lock in the expectation category. Smith improved markedly in his second Montastic year. Aminu is in that year now and played the position Monty did, plus he’s playing for a contract.

Joe: Brian Roberts– Maybe I’m just a sucker for Summer League, but Roberts looked really good out there, and he’s been able to carry that success into the preseason. I expect by year’s end we’ll be looking at an adequate, although likely below average, backup point guard.

At the Buzzer– How many wins do you expect, and do they make the playoffs?

MM: This question is impossible to answer without knowing how many games Eric Gordon plays. If he plays 80, I would say 40-42. If he plays 20, then I would say 17-55. It is that big of a difference. I will stick with my gut, however and say Gordon misses nearly half the season and the Hornets go 25-57. No playoffs, sixth most lottery balls, and another stroke of luck gets us the #3 pick in the 2013 draft.

MG: As McNamara noted, it all depends on Eric Gordon’s health. I’ll say that the Hornets narrowly avoid the 50-loss mark, going 33-49. A full season of Gordon could get them close to playoff contention, but with no evidence of that being a likely scenario, it’s hard to comfortably predict it to be the case.

JM: I’ll go with 35 wins, but it all depends on Gordon.

JC: 20 wins. There will be worse teams in the NBA, but I expect the Hornets to be proportionately worse this year compared to last. They are thin, young, tinkering, and playing with lower effective cap than other teams thanks to Lewis’ buyout. With ownership trimming expenses and paying some off-the-court bills, incremental changes to inch up the win total just is not in the cards. They will be poised for big leap next season when Lewis’ foot gets off their necks. Also, no playoffs.

Joe: For the first time since I started here, I’m not going to predict the Hornets as a playoff team. Gordon will stay on the floor long enough to keep them respectable and within earshot of making the postseason, but it’s just not going to happen. Sigh… 36-46

17 responses to “Hornets Beat: Season Preview Part 2”

  1. If there is anything to be learned from the preseason, it’s that Austin Rivers is willing to play a role. I think he was actually a little too shy taking chances against Miami. The guy has a very tight handle for a rookie and understands how to shift gears, which is more than you can say for most young guards. He has a lot of work to do, especially with shot selection, but I think he’s already shown a willingness to be unselfish on offense

  2. Wow, what a bunch of pessimists masquerading as realists!

    We’re better than houston, dallas, g state, sactown and probly minnesota. One of the previous playoff givens is likely to drop out via injury (anyone remember laclip minus cp3?). Gordon is not sitting out again this year.

    I’m going 43-41and an 8th seed

    • I agree, way too down on the Hornets this year… I think Gordon will be out there for a minimum of 60 games, and we’ll hover around .500 most of the season. How we finish (and how healthy other teams are, as well) will determine who gets in the playoffs. The West, while still stronger, is weakening (I think the Harden deal softened both OKC and Houston for this year), but Golden St, Utah, Minnesota, Dallas, and Memphis will battle with us for the final spots in the playoffs. Each of those teams has significant question marks, just like the Hornets, so it will come down to health and a late push, which I think will benefit the Hornets by season’s end.

      Another important, yet slightly sad side note, is that our fans should be strong at the beginning of the season as well as the end, because the Saints certainly aren’t drawing from the fan base like usual this season and probably won’t be in the playoffs come January, and there is some legit excitement about this Hornets team.

      • from basketball prospectus:

        New Orleans Hornets
        2011-12: 21-45
        2012-13 (projected): 36-46

        The top of the Hornets’ roster is ready to contend for the playoffs now. Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon and particularly Ryan Anderson all rate strongly by the numbers. Just two teams—Denver and Oklahoma City—are projected to have three players all more valuable than New Orleans’ top three next season in terms of WARP. After that, the Hornets’ depth falls off quickly. New Orleans can throw out a competitive lineup with Al-Farouq Aminu or even Anderson at small forward and Greivis Vásquez —a revelation last season who will share minutes with Austin Rivers—at the point. Beyond those five and Robin Lopez, who will likely start at center, the Hornets do not have anyone else who projects as noticeably better than replacement level.

  3. Most improved hornet – lopez you need minutes and opportunity to improve, lopez has the physical tools, his coach’s confidence and garuanteed minutes as the only beef in the stable, he has the best chance (along with greivis) for a leap

  4. I notice favor for Ryan Anderson, Davis, and J Smitty but don’t sleep on the impact Lopez, Gordon, and Roberts can have on this team.

  5. Call council representaive or state rep from the area and parish president. voice your dissatifaction with CHARTER.

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