It Was the Best of Games, It Was the Worst of Games . . .

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Published: November 11, 2012

This week the New Orleans Hornets showed themselves and fans the road ahead.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way . . . .

— Charles Dickens, opening to A Tale of Two Cities

A 1-1 week is not noteworthy in itself, but this one was given that the games were so different in so many respects. Although the pace for each game was nearly the same (86.9 Wednesday vs. 86.0 Friday), the play was nearly antipodal. Wednesday’s loss was the lowest offensive output in the franchise’s history. Friday’s win, despite the slightly lower pace, was the largest regulation-length-game point total since Chris Paul left, with the closest being a 105 point game against the Kings (a win) with a pace of 92.6.

Certainly there were positive things in the loss to the 76’ers, such as the solid defense (DRtg 88.6), but the game was one of the worst ever played by the Hornets. In the end, the game was brought about due to a combination of three in proportion according to your stance as an observer: “just one of those days,” injuries, and the team just not being that good. With Gordon out in Los Angeles, Davis out with a concussion, and Rivers held out by Monty, the lack of production and depth just bit the team.

Likewise, there were things to pick at in the Bobcats game, such as the fact the Bobcats were within striking distance at multiple points in the closing quarter, but the game was really one of the best from a few different perspectives. The offense was clicking, even if against a horrid, horrid team. This is an improvement over last year when the Hornets couldn’t close them out in the Arena. Also, Davis and Anderson were fantastic. Davis led all players in DRtg (103), while Anderson led all players except Roberts in ORtg (163). Roberts’ 169 was on half the volume of shots but had 8 assists to balance things out in about equal minutes to Anderson.

Roberts’ game was exceptional in a couple of senses. It was both very, very nice, and a literal exception. The former is of no dispute (TS of 0.901, efG% of 93.8% with 8 assists). The latter is the point of discussion. With only 59m total played in his 5 games this year, his aggregate stats look good, but not that-game good. This is a small sample size compared to what he produced prior to the NBA. Clearly, that was good enough to land him a shot with this team, but Hornets fans would be well-advised to see how Roberts reacts to what teams throw at him when he’s scouted properly, as Jason Smith eventually was after his great start in 2010. Smith has proven his worth. Will Roberts? I hope so, and I hope that it’s fun finding out.

Either way, until the team this team will become actually arrives, expect some 76’ers games.

Money

All of the sports stuff is well-and-good to talk about, but basketball is about so many other things, such as this dollar, that dollar, and the other dollar. This week, we can talk attendance and Arena advertising.

Starting with the latter, the video boards on the chamfered edges of highway side of the New Orleans Arena are finally getting installed. The pre-work has been done over the past several weeks, but the boards were actually being installed in small chunks Saturday. These could be fully operational within a week (speculation).

These boards are much larger than a typical video billboard in the area. Eyeballing the one that has some definition to its actual footprint, it’s more than double, less than five times . . . let’s call them three times the size . . . and they are positioned pretty well to catch a large number of views. As such, they should generate some nice cash for the team.

Attendance is a stickier issue. While some Hornets fans felt that local ownership would bring about a new era of appreciation and love for the team by the community at large. The time for this to occur was poorly estimated in their excitement, however. In four home games, the Hornets have had an “attendance” of 55,161, or about 13,790 a game, far below last season’s average of 15,109. By game, the team had

Spurs, Wednesday, 15,358
Jazz, Friday, 14,147
76’ers, Wednesday, 12,988
Bobcats, Friday, 12,668

In a prior article, these last two games were noted as ones of particular interest in terms of predicting the attendance going forward. Overall, the picture is not good, as you can see.

Luckily, attendance does not matter that much this season. It’ll have to be fixed going forward, but the Hornets will have winning and star power on their side when it comes time for that.

Around the Site

In addition to two podcasts this week, some gems came from the weekly pieces. Jake broke down the winning plays from the Jazz game in Friday’s Beneath the Screen. Russ made the claim that Austin Rivers is missing his confidence and that is why his playing so poorly in most games in his young career.

Additionally, Andrew grabbed some great video at Tuesday’s practice.

And from the readers:

I think Aminu is coming into his own consistently. I think he’s realizing that his strength is his defense and that’s where he’s maturing. As long as his defense is good coach will keep him around – hoping that his offense will catch up. We rely so heavily on the comeback of EG becaue of his ability to score (which is lacking on this team). Austin is struggling with his shot and I don’t see him having a breakout this year. He will improve with distributing the ball because I think coach, his staff and his Dad are going to make sure of it. However, I like coach so much better (his demeanor) when he’s just talking about the team and not EG. He always seems so uptight, tentative and guarded when addressing EG. I kind of get the feeling that he wants EG gone. Is is just me???? — LaNative

I’m not ready to extend aminu just yet. He’s looked great but that could be because he’s been told that he’s a 21-22 year old formerly drafted in the top 10 at a position the hornets are weak in and on a rebuilding team, but you’re not good enough to keep around. If this is the case and he’s playing like its his last game every night, he’ll burn out by midseason and we’ll know. If he’s still playing like this 50 games into the season, i’ll jump on board and say extend him. Until then, it’s great to watch him, but no extension yet. If we do resign him, I’d love to see him next offseason develop something resembling a mid-range shot. It’s painful right now to watch him take those. — Ben

I agree with you 100. They cannot slow down and run half court offense sets with Aminu. They really need IMO a PG who can score and is a playmaker like a Brandon Jennings, or someone with similar game. My reason for using Jennings as an example is I think he’s been shopped for trades. — malcolm

Alot of talk about Aminu, and the start of rumblings about Jennings.

Noted.

If only these things will be addressed on upcoming podcasts . . .

Lastly, highlights of Davis’ return game courtesy of takezor at hornetsreport.com.

14 comments
josh
josh

I would personally like to see us trade EG for Eric Bledsoe, we might be able to get a pick or 2 along with Bledsoe for EG. But the best trade for both teams is EG and Vasquez for Bledsoe and Jamal Crawford. We get a big upgrade at the point (even though i like GV he is way to slow) who is also a defense first type pg, and a player who IMHO is one of the most talented offensive players in the NBA. Clips get a cheaper backup pg who can keep the pass first mentality that CP3 has while playing with the second unit, and a guy who alongside with CP3 will make an unbelievable backcourt. I know with salary cap and all this is borderline impossible for the clipps but it is a DREAM scenario afterall

Fred
Fred

I'm not keen on Jennings at all, if he can't make the offensive talent around him at the bucks shine which i think is better than ours at the moment then what make us think he will be the answer to unlocking our offensive woes?

toledotorpedo
toledotorpedo

Not sold on Jennings. Need to sell EG for decent value. Also, if 42 games is half way/midseason, what's the deal with the 50th game? lol. if Aminu makes progress for a SEASON we keep him. If not, off he goes.

LaNative
LaNative

Our biggest issues with trading EG are his contract and his health. This league is filled with prima donn's, of which EG is one, but that isn't a big deal anymore. I'm a Demps fan but I think he got stuck with EG who said the right things to get the deal and now he's shoving it to us big time. He's in LA to rehab is crazy to me; the place he wants to be and with all of the distractions - come on man. I could go on and on about our "franchise player" but that wouldn't help. Jennings, is a score and I think the system and environment determines his effectiveness and whether or not he makes it to the next level. Although I like Aminu, he is what he is and his progression will definitely be too slow for us although he has made tremendous strides defensively.

easyc25
easyc25

Jennings is not a player that will ever be a winner. He is better than Aminu, but not someone that Hornets should pursue in my opinion.

BIGBREED
BIGBREED

Aminu for Jennings trade? Wow... Can we sucker, I mean get The Bucks to do that? That would be nice!

mateor
mateor

gurgle ..gurgle...no...glub/splutter. Jamal Crawford will be available for $5 mil and no assets once he declines his option next summer. Then he can submarine our efficiency stats should we so choose. Let's see if we can maybe trade EG for a starter, ok?

Houp Garou
Houp Garou

That article is total schlock written by someone who needed to conconct some ideas quickly to make a deadline. Trying to connect dots between people overinflating their interpersonal skills with our highly esteemed gm making an excruciating decision to let our best talent walk with possibly no compensation or pay market value for an uber talented yet oft injured player. I hope mcnamara is just insinuating that his readers are dangerously optimistic and not that dell demps does not make decisions including and especially regarding ej without consideration of every piece of available data. This author appears to think that overestimating the knowledge of medical staff was a major factor. Ummm so is dell supposed to not trust the data given to him by the professionals he employs because trusting them is having an optimistic bias. Wigar, please.

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

I just nodded my head the entire time I read that article, because it is exactly what I experience on a day to day basis with people who consider themselves optimists, but don't understand the dangers of being an optimist. Of course we all want things to work out, but assuming they will when the data tells you that they most likely won't just leads to more of a mess.

Blackcoat
Blackcoat

That would be an amazing trade, though Gordon + draft picks/Vasquez for Jennings is a much more realistic scenario, and even then that might be optimistic. For someone so forthcoming about his desire to play elsewhere, Gordon has significantly damaged his own brand, making it far more difficult to move him. If we're getting Jennings, Milwaukee has the upper hand when negotiating compensation for Gordon's bad brand and max contract.

mateor
mateor

Yeah, not the best written article. But I think we have plenty of data on NBA teams overspending (money or picks) on potential over data. The data suggests players dissatisfied with their team play poorly and that ballplayers who are injured often tend to get injured again. Potential says EG is 23 and could be the best SG under 30. There is 60 million bucks on the line...which is it?

Ben
Ben

Gordon would have to approve that trade this year. If he doesn't like New Orleans and the young talented hornets roster, why would he want to go to Milwaukee

Fred
Fred

I know we all dislike EG but that would be gifting the bucks an early christmas present they don't deserve