One Last Look Back at Summer 2012

By:
Published: October 29, 2012

Before we rush headlong into the upcoming season just one week from now, we look back at the summer.

Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.

– Richard III, Act 1, Scene 1

Although it wasn’t quite the offseason yet, on April 13, 2012, the fortunes of the New Orleans Hornets and the fans of the team changed when Tom Benson was announced as the new owner of the team. Although it took a couple of months to iron out the details, he purchased the team and secured a lease through the 2023-2024 season, got a new TV deal with the brand new Fox Sports New Orleans, and improvements to the Arena.

The new leadership had some things to say about the new era, and so did Ryan and Jason.

Almost immediately, rebrand discussions emerged because Tom Benson announced the intention to rebrand even before his purchase was official. This has been a complicated and touchy subject from day one. As summer turned to fall, different rumors emerged. First, it was Angels or Spirit, then Voodoo, then Pelicans. It’s still not determined, but the word is we may know soon and it is likely to take effect this coming offseason.

With the focus of this season clearly being the coming season, Hornets fans, and perhaps the organization, paid tremendous attention to the draft and the draft lottery. Much was made of the idea that the Hornets were losing games to improve their lottery chances (not that this was restricted to the Hornets).

With the focus of this season clearly being the coming season, Hornets fans, and perhaps the organization, paid tremendous attention to the draft and the draft lottery. Much was made of the idea that the Hornets were losing games to improve their lottery chances (not that this was restricted to the Hornets).

Despite not being the most likely outcome, the Hornets nabbed the top pick in the draft, which was a lock to be used on Anthony Davis.

And there was much rejoicing.

And there was some immediate reaction. Considering the state of the team, the idea of tampering was floated, as it always is, and evidence was never produced. The discussion will, for some, taint any success the team has. Also, the realization of such a precious commodity being bestowed on the team was not lost on anyone, and we feared repeating the same mistakes that led to Chris Paul’s departure.

With the top pick certain, the focus fell on the tenth pick, which was eventually used on Austin Rivers, but not after considerable debate among Hornets fans and writers. A second round pick went largely unconsidered, but its use on Darius Miller led for a call for Kentucky to adopt the Hornets as their favorite NBA team.

Following the draft, free agency came a-knockin’. The Hornets made a number of moves throughout the offseason to turn over the roster and improve the cap situation going forward. The biggest move of the offseason was signing Eric Gordon to a maximum salary deal despite concerns over his injuries and the “Cornerstone Affair.”

These big changes are surrounded by smaller ones of various sizes, and more are likely to be made.

Summer League did not give a good look at what this team would like since Aminu and Davis were in the Olympics and Rivers saw only limited action, pushing our first peeks back to the preseason, which is fine. Acquisitions such as Robin Lopez and Ryan Anderson were not going to participate in Summer League anyway, so better to wait.

Going through preseason, we looked for more improvement from the NBA’s Most Improved Player, Ryan Anderson. Not only is Anderson a talent, but he brings a talent the Hornets need sorely.

Jason Smith, our Most Improved Hornet, missed most of preseason with injuries, sadly. He’s got a nonguaranteed year in 2013-2014, so hopefully these are as minor as they seem.

In the backcourt, nothing major has happened (yet), but Austin Rivers has been talked about in terms of being the point guard of the future.

Regardless of the rotations, however, this team is going to be trying to crack the upper echelon of the NBA for some time. This season looks to be pretty bad for a number of reasons, not the least of which are dead money tied up in paying the Heat’s Rashard Lewis and a backcourt in disarray. That’s ok, there are problems that lie outside the scope of any player to fix. It could all work out . . . but the odds are against this.

But, hey, maybe another Louisiana boy will get an NBA ring, adding to the large collection we have. Even more if you look to the WNBA, but that’s another story . . .

So, as we sit waiting for the opening tip, realize how far we’ve come as a fan base and a worldwide community. The sun never sets on the Hornets fan empire, and it never sets on Hornets247. As days stretch on, we grow up, and the site itself made some changes that you’ll see in the coming season.

First, the world-renowned In the NO podcast recently will continue their streak of special guest appearances, such as David Thorpe, Gerry V, Henry Abbott, Bradford Doolittle, and David Wesley.

Second, Hornets247 will add more video chats like our season wrap-up, season preview, and draft chat.

Third, Hornets247 will be dedicated to bring our readers, the best all-around the world, more advanced statistics. This came is complicated, and the right tools for the job of communicating basketball information include these advanced statistics. We’re all up to the challenge. Here’s a three-part primer: 1, 2, 3.

Plus, we’ll be looking across the NBA for the missing piece that Rashard Lewis’ dead money (and more) can be used on next offseason. Pieces will be dedicated to looking at this team and others as the move is made, or not made, that has the potential to bring a title (or more) to New Orleans. It’s not all grave, however. It’ll be fun, like our draft this summer (rounds 1-4, rounds 5-8, rounds 9-12, wrap-up) to try to get a feel for the real market value of players.

Looking forward is less effective when you ignore the past. So, we’ll have pieces like the What to Expect When You Are Expecting series, looking at how highly-touted rookies, like Anthony Davis, performed in the first year. We covered Alonzo Mourning, David Robinson, Chris Paul, Yao Ming, and LeBron James.

There will be more, as the future is not yet written.

Our growing team of contributors will write about it shortly after it happens, however, doing our best job to give you, this team, and this city the coverage that is well-deserved.

And we still have a few surprises waiting for you.

Enjoy the recap and those stories you enjoyed before or may have missed.

Enjoy the season more, no matter what.

Here’s to ya!

2 comments
Craig
Craig

Nice read. Hey, I read/hear a lot about team rebuilding and becoming fringe playoff teams or 8th - 7th seeds and being in a sort of limbo, and getting stuck in mediocrity., out of the lottery, but not attractive enough for quality free agents. Some say it's better to finish in the bottom half of the league until a team is loaded and prepaired to break-into the top 10. Seems to me a quality GM can fix that.. Dell seems like a pretty slick GM, Now I can only imagine the discusions going on between him and Micky Loomis who has gained league wide respect in the NFL for being a master at pringing in talent and making the peices fix in the cap.

Gary Walker
Gary Walker

Wow. Great article. This offseason made for the greatest summer of my life.