That Was a Long Short Week

Published: November 18, 2012

Rome wasn’t rebuilt in a day.

It’s a long way to the top
If you wanna rock ‘n’ roll

— AC/DC, It’s a Long Way to the Top


After a long stretch of off-days, the New Orleans Hornets played 3 games in 4 days. After all that build-up, rest, and preparation, the team went 0-3, dropping their record to 3-5, last in the Southwest Division, leading only Phoenix and Sacramento in the Conference, and sitting in the back half of the lottery overall. With 90% of the season left to play, it can all change, of course.

The Rockets game seems winnable looking back, and surely was so, but a team that allows the buffalo to run free is in for some long night . . . likely when said buffalo are running free. Being able to storm back against some pre-baked shepherd’s pie of a team says something about what the Hornets can do. It more strongly points out the (understandable) inconsistency of this team in the formative stages.

The Thunder game saw more buffalo running more freely, and the level of domination was more clearly shown by the score at the half (66-37 with a game pace of 85.4), punctuated with a double-technical a good deal of jawing between players and coaches on all sides.

The Bucks game went back to that winnable feel. The Hornets ended the first and third quarters at least tied only to see leads of at least 8 points for the Bucks partway though the second and the fourth. The team is just so thin, it’s hard to field a team that can stand up to a typical NBA bench. Also, in the advanced box scores, the fact that the Bucks had guys who played limited minutes but remained very effective on defense. Bringing this into the game story, their bench-heavy units just buried ours. The turnover disparity was also key, with the Hornets turning the ball over 8 more times and surrendering 9 more points plus the opportunity cost on the lost possessions. So where are they coming from? Three Hornets players had a TO% decently above average (18.0%, compared to the Bucks 9.6%): Aminu (36.4%), Rivers (30.1%), Roberts (25.4%). Looking at the usage rates (15.9%, 13.5%, 25.2%), however, we see that the most influence comes from Roberts. This is reflected in his team-worst DRtg of 132.


Mahogany row continues to operate at a blast beat compared to the Little Drummer Boy pace of the rest of the NBA. Let’s not get too excited . . . this franchise needs the work. It’s getting done, and that is good, but the days when the moves needed to maintain dominance are well-spaced will be much better.

Three months after Head Coach Monty Williams received a contract extension, Dell Demps received his. This move will keep the duo together up to the point where Davis needs needs to be extended, a good time to take stock.

One less distraction.

Earlier in the week, Hakim Warrick and his effectively expiring $4m salary was traded for Matt Carroll and his expiring $3.5m salary. Carroll has yet to report, and this has not displeased the team. Moreover, speculation of a buyout has been floated and an announcement is pending, per the Hornets.

Demps has made his `move’ as a sequence of moves in the past, and this move could be a part of a larger plan. It could also be a way to save some money by trading a player who will rarely play in the frontcourt for one who may less rarely play in the back court . . . if he elects to play at all. He has played this year, in Charlotte’s loss to Dallas. In 5:51, in logged 1 assist, 1 foul.

Around the Site

In a strong week on In the NO, the guys were joined by NBA Salary Cap Jedi, Larry Coon. Later, Jeremy Schmidt of Bucksketball to talk about Brandon Jennings and more.

Mason’s power rankings contains a couple of surprises.

Also, Jake looks at the other side of the court for the first time this season.

`Voices’ of the People

Durtcizzle is defending the Hornets Federation in South Dakota. Round of applause to the Cizzle, everyone.

I’m giving it all she’s got captain, but I’m surrounded by the Tumblewolf Federation and the Crappy Mcnugget Empire and my only help is a Piston fan. But as Fallout 3′s Three Dog would say, I will keep fighting the good fight! – Durtcizzle

The Dell extension was met with cheers, jeers, and leers.

Probably not yet. But I bet people are watching it closely. The resolution of this Gordon thing, whatever it is, will likely be what defines Dell’s success running the Hornets.

If Gordon eventually becomes a contributing piece, or is somehow spun into assets, then Dell will be considered among the cream of the GMs.

But if the EG thing goes completely south, it will hang over everything else. No one gives Danny Ferry any credit for drafting Lebron, nor should they. Demps will be in the same place with AD.

If Eric Gordon is good after bad and Austin Rivers doesn’t pan out- I bet Demps won’t make it through this extension.

I want him to, but just sayin’. Result business. — mateor

Lastly, if you need perspective after an 0-3 week:

be patient…….i love this team……our time will come — mojart

42 Sense

There’s been a good deal of chatter inspired by the guard play this season, likely because it’s been poor (or just not there in the case of at least player). As to why Anthony Davis is not getting the attention this season-long circumstance is, I chalk it up to a squeaky wheel phenomenon. Fans like to be watch dogs for the team, picking on the bad when talking among themselves, while defending against assaults from the outside. Davis is solid and everyone knows, therefore, there is less reason to discuss him.

Brian Roberts and Austin Rivers seem be the at the center of the discussion of the guards who play enough minutes to discuss. Vasquez seems to be less polarizing. These players have taken different paths to the NBA, and camps are forming to either side of each player.

These topics will occupy us all season or more in all likelihood (barring trade or injury), but there is one particular angle I’d like to pick on: draft results.

Players in sports with drafts are often `bucketed’ with players who were drafted at their same position or nearly. This has some merit, but not much I feel. Even at the top of the draft, roster and salary composition can influence picks as much as talent, if not more, and this ignores the single greatest influence on the draft position: the competence of the GM and his staff.

How a player’s draft position is held up as a standard by which the player is measured rather than that actual stuff by which a GM is weighed is beyond me.

So, when judging Mr. Rivers, Mr. Roberts, or Mr. Magoo, try to divorce the player’s draft slot from the judgment. Rank players on play, General Managers on their general management.


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