Scouting the NBA: Week Four — A Knickerbocker, A Golden Nugget and a CP3

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Published: November 20, 2012

A big week ahead: the New Orleans Hornets face some very tough NBA opponents including the Knicks, Nuggets and Clippers.

Tuesday 20th vs. New York Knicks — Fox Sports New Orleans, 7pm CST

The red hot New York Knicks come into town sporting their superstars and no doubt a number of bandwagon fans. Be prepared to brace yourself for the game because no doubt you will see the odd, “Well, my Dad is from Queens and I went to Times Square once, though I was born and raised in New Orleans,” Knicks fan.

Yes they exist and yes they are as bad as those Celtic and Laker fans in Louisiana. Nobody wants you here.

  • Player of Interest for the Hornets: J.R. Smith

Oh the eternal fire and ice that is J.R. Smith, why would we want him back? I’ll tell you why, because he’s red-hot and looking like the player many predicted he’d be coming out of college.

While he’s probably going to cool off, Smith has transformed the way he prepares for games and is seemingly the consummate professional. He probably isn’t, but he is if you listen to what Knicks fans have to say.

Regardless, JR is on a very nice contract and is a shooting-guard the Hornets so desperately need. It’s not like we spent over $50 million dollars on the position already, why not throw another $50 million at Smith?

Okay maybe not.

  • Best Matchup for the Knicks: Tyson Chandler vs. Anthony Davis

I don’t think Davis will be ready to go in this game as he apparently suffered an ankle injury. If he does play expect Chandler to try and get after the rookie.

I remember in the off-season that Davis’ goals was to win rookie of the year, be defensive player of the year and make the playoffs. It’s looking like only one of those is a plausible possibility.

Duh, the playoffs.

Anyway, Chandler will really go after Anthony and I don’t know whether he can match  it as the Unibrow has been very lackadaisical on defense so far this season. Not exactly what we expected.

  • Best Matchup for the Hornets: Greivis Vasquez vs. Raymond Felton

This is only a maybe. I mean, all the Knicks are playing really well. New Orleans is going to have to construct a perfect gameplan that contains shooters but also controls the pace. The Knicks are playing well on defense.

DEFENSE AND KNICKS DO NOT GO TOGETHER.

But they do this season. So far…

Anyway, Vasquez might be able to exploit Felton defensively and might be able to contain him on the other end. Really, I’m not sure where the Hornets have an advantage.

  • Prediction: Knicks by 13

As much as I want to kick the losing streak it’s not going to be stopped. Monty Williams proved last week that his defensive scheme has a long way from being successfully implemented.

Teams have controlled the tempo and been able to grab offensive rebounds at a ridiculous rate. Until those things are fixed, expect the New Yorkers to win another game.

Wednesday 21st @ Indiana Pacers — Fox Sports New Orleans, 6pm CST

  • Player of Interest for the Hornets: Danny Granger

Michael and Ryan have mentioned it before so I’ll bring it up again. A Granger for Gordon trade, who would do it?

I think maybe now it’s a bit more tenuous as both Granger and Gordon are injured. While Granger may have a lower ceiling would people trust him to play over Gordon? I still haven’t given up on Eric probably because I don’t see ANYONE taking his contract on so we might as well go with him.

If Granger could be acquired for an affordable price I’d take him.

  • Best Matchup for Indiana: Lance Stephenson vs. Austin Rivers

Until the rookie can show he can play defense then I’ll continue to remain sour. I supported him last week prior to the Bucks and Thunder games, but after that I really have lowered all expectations for Rivers — for this year.

Sure we might as well run with him, but that doesn’t mean I can’t slap my desk every time I see Rivers get beat.

  • Best Matchup for New Orleans: Al-Farouq Aminu vs. Paul George

If you were to say heading into this season who would be the better player, ten-out-of-ten times you’d pick George. That might have changed somewhat as Aminu is actually playing a little better than Paul, not by much though. 

The thing is, many Pacer fans thought George would be an All-Star, now he has guys like Aminu looking as good, maybe even better than he.

  • Prediction: Hornets by 4

Must have confidence and at the start of the Hornets first road trip I think they get the win. Yes, on a back-to-back.

Friday 23rd @ Phoenix Suns — Fox Sports New Orleans, 8pm CST

  • Player of Interest for the Hornets: A Sign-and-trade from yesteryear

Self explanatory.

  • Best Matchup for the Suns: Goran Dragic vs. Greivis Vasquez

The talent he displayed late in Houston has not disappeared and the Suns managed to recapture a player getting better with every game. Vasquez once again finds himself out-matched and there’s little we can do about it here at Hornets247.

  • Best Matchup for the Hornets: Al-Farouq Aminu/Anthony Davis vs. Michael Beasley

You can just tell that Beasley is one of those players with untapped potential that’s never going to be fulfilled. Suns fans were super high on Beasley coming into this season, while the rest of us in reality knew better.

  • Prediction: Hornets by 1

A swing game that could go either way I see the Hornets plucking two-from-two on the road trip so far. I think I also have an uncanny face like Homer Simpson.

Sunday 25th @ Denver Nuggets — Fox Sports New Orleans, 7pm CST

  • Player of Interest for the Hornets: Javale McGee

Ugh… I really wanted Javale McGee on this team. It’s probably just me and my sour grapes (awful lot of sourness on today’s post…), but a front-line of Anderson, Davis and McGee.

Wow.

Okay so back to reality, if the Nuggets see themselves rebuilding and don’t wish to pay a guy $10,000,000 a season to come off the bench then Demps should go after Javale.

  • Best Matchup for Nuggets: Ty Lawson/Andre Iguodala vs. Grevis Vasquez/Austin Rivers

They’re fast, they’re strong. No that’s not the Hornets back-court, that’s the Nuggets and if they don’t push the tempo against us George Karl is going to want to move to a team that will. The gameplan should be to attack the Hornets guards as it’s no doubt already in every NBA scouts package.

We have an awful backcourt.

  • Best Matchup for Hornets: Robin Lopez vs. Kosta Koufas

I think that Lopez and Koufas are very similar players. Having said that Lopez has been decent of late and might be able to continue in this one.

  • Prediction: Denver by 12

Monday 26th @ L.A. Clippers — Fox Sports New Orleans, 9.30pm CST

  • Player of Interest for the Hornets: Christopher Emmanuel Paul I

When the Hornets traded away Chris Paul, who thought they’d be in a position to get him back, with a roster beaming with talent and potential. CP3 will probably see it another way because it’s likely he’ll position himself for LeBron to join him or if the Clippers show something in the playoffs this season.

Regardless Demps should have him there as a guy to give a call should Paul decide to enter free-agency. It would be a little ridiculous for him to return, so like Pacer fans we should return to reality.

  • Best Matchup for the Clippers: DeAndre Jordan vs. Robin Lopez

There’s something that might stagger most and that is that DeAndre Jordan is coming into his own in the NBA. This might be influenced by Chris Paul’s ability to raise the talent around him, but regardless Jordon deserves props.

I expect Lopez to contend but likely will be outmatched.

  • Best Matchup for the Hornets: Roger Mason/Brian Roberts vs. Willie Green

In a battle of the old-guard Mason and Green will go head-to-head. I say this because Rivers has been pretty awful recently and Williams has seen more from Mason and Roberts than Doc’s son. Expect these two-guards to get more time than Rivers over the coming weeks.

  • Prediction: Clippers by 9

A shame to end the week like this, but unfortunately I see the Los Angeles Clippers winning this one. While Eric Gordon remains in LA for reasons that are awfully suspicious (we do know he came from LA in the trade right and is now rehabbing there?) I think the Clippers can do it without EJ.

Motif of the Week

mo·tif/mōˈtēf/ Noun: A distinctive feature or dominant idea in an artistic or literary composition.

– Airplanes —

It’s time to fly

The Hornets will have their first major road-trip of the season and will face a barrage of talent. These are the times when we see what teams have for the long-term. The Hornets may come away with some games, though I don’t expect many to be pretty.

Frequent Flyer miles all ’round!

Final Sentence: Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither was Austin Rivers. 

15 comments
andy
andy

Been a long term follower of the site because I followed CP3 from school and was a hornets fan for awhile, but Paul thinks he can win a Championship with the development of DeAndre, Blake and Bledsoe. I can't imagine him leaving a team so close to putting it together for a team with a core that will be getting into championship mode if all goes well when he's past his prime.

James Grayson
James Grayson

Paul also thought that he could win a championship with David West, Tyson Chandler and Peja Stojakovic. Just because they have some decent players doesn't mean they're championship contenders. I guarantee you the second he gets a chance to form a team with Lebron he's going to do it. The Clippers need to show everyone a lot more than what they have last season. While I wish Paul the best I don't think the Clippers are the place to do it.

Nick Malone aka yankeesman77
Nick Malone aka yankeesman77

Being one of the only Hornets fans in the NY/Long Island area, my 2 favorite wins of the year are when they can defeat the Knicks. I hate nothing more (Ok, maybe not as much as Eric Gordn's baby status) , than seeing gleeful Knicks fans when their team really is going through an early season surge and J.R. Smith isn't shooting as hot as he is. If the Hornets can beat the Knicks tonight it'd fill me with so much glee and the way to do that isn't by necessairly trying to double team Smith or Melo but being the muscle down low to match with Chandler. If the Hornets can defend the paint, they have a shot to win this game. Anderson can stretch the floor in ways that the lazy Melo won't want to cover. If you want to beat the Knicks, force them to take garbage shots which they will look for once they are desperate. This team isn't vaunted but the Hornets have to play smart basketball and not have as many turnovers as they did the other night against Milwaukee. The Knicks will let the Hornets stick around in this game. Gotta have faith and hope that Anthony Davis can dominate the paint with Jason Smith picking and popping from the mid range. Let's geaux Hornets!

Chuck
Chuck

Couple questions: 1) Exactly what offensive skill is Tyson Chandler going to use to "go at" Davis? 2) How on Earth is the most favorable matchup for the Clippers NOT CP3 vs. Vasquez?

mateor
mateor

1. Finishing at the rim. With Amare out, Chandler is killing the pick and roll. Seriously, check it out, it is reminiscent of the crescent city connection, except instead of lobs, he is just flat finishing. BIG reason why NY offense is so insane right now. 2. Fair. But a pretty short scouting report article if all it says is "Exploit guards" over and over and over.

Asher504
Asher504

Kevin Durants rookie year...2007-08 team record (20-62). Kevin Durant + Russell Westbrook...2008-09 team record (23-59). 2009-10 team record (50-32). I think we are ahead of the curve. With a healthy Eric Gordon, we have a far more complete team then an early OKC. Things take time, but I feel extremely optimistic about the future of this team. Everyone seams to be hard working and humble. They have adopted a team first attitude. Anderson, Vasquez, and Davis always give their teammates credit for finding them in the right place in post game interviews. Always deferring credit. P.S. If Eric Gordon comes back and contributes to the team (I know a big if), his absence last yr and part of this season in hind sight will be a blessing for the development of the team. More playing time for others, and higher draft picks.

KK
KK

The problem with being "ahead of the curve", is that by being terrible, OKC managed to get 2 top-5 picks AFTER drafting their superstar. Even though the hornets probably will be in the lottery, I see them getting a pick around 10-13 or so, where it's much harder to find anything more than a solid rotation player at. This is the most overlooked part of the OKC model. IT's not just about being able to draft a superstar - it was drafting a superstar who was a terrible player in his first few years, letting them load up on high draft picks, and then bloom later once those other core pieces had been drafted.

asher504
asher504

If Eric Gordon plays in more then 9 games last season...we don't get Anthony Davis. As we see with OKC, you can't retain 3 players drafted in the top 5 after their rookie contracts. The key is mid contract stars like Ryan Anderson. Look at Dallas when they won the championship. A combination of stars and great role players.

Lucas Ottoni
Lucas Ottoni

Unfortunately, I predict four losses in these next five games. It's all in the name of the future, all right?

Lanative
Lanative

Although I know our team is young and inexperienced, I see them as losing games that will only build their character and develop a stronger work ethic to be winners on the professional level. There are some players who settle for losing and there are some that losing just isn't an option and I think Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers are two of the latter. Although Austin will develop slower on the pro level, he is one of those players that when with the right group will excel and become a nice compliment but he is not a superstar by any means. I like Anthony Davis rising to the occassion (tweaked ankle and all). Keep putting it down strong Hornets.

Slap Dog Hoops
Slap Dog Hoops

Sure Rome was not built in a day, but it does not mean that Austin River should be force fed minutes either. It's obvious that, he should not be starting. Monty Williams should give the nod to Roger Mason, or even Xavier Henry, not to a 19 year old who started the season shooting just .090 from the field.

da ThRONe
da ThRONe

1st we drafted J.R. out of HS. Personally I would rather have Smith over Gordon for no other reason than availibility. I've always said if J.R. had the IQ and drive he coul be a more talented version of Kobe. Even though he's almost never going to reach that level he's matured enough since his earlier years that he could help this team. I think he's still young enough and doesn't have a bunch of wear and tear on his body that he could give us high level production over the life of and contract. I think Davis will even out. I don't think he'll be as efficient offensely at the same time he won't be as poor defensely as the season( and his career) progresses. I'm really impressed with Davis' touch around the basket. If I didn't see him make those shots with such accurracy I would say they were lucky shots. I was on DeAndre Jordan for some time now. When he was a RFA I wanted DJ on this team badly. Even though he wasn't a good post scorer I saw his footwork and it was outstanding. He's now displaying that footwork. I wanted a core of Paul/Gay/Jordan wish we could have put that together.

Mike P
Mike P

Our greatest advantage to me is that Melo, though playing extremely well at the 4 offensively, doesn't get out and hedge on pick and rolls, nor does he close out. Combine that with slow guards, and maybe we can keep this game somewhat competitive

Snow
Snow

My favorite part of this article "Player of Interest for the Hornets: A Sign-and-trade from yesteryear" lol!! Honestly I hope we beat the Clippers and Pacers just cause of CP3 and David West haha. Also can't wait to see Jason Smith vs Blake Griffin =P Would a trade like Gordon for Corey Brewer and McGee be possible?

Biasvasospasm
Biasvasospasm

We're no great shakes right now, but IMO this is overly negative in a number of places. Anthony Davis was too great and too smart of a college defender for me to believe he won't eventually figure out when he needs to come over on help defense, and when he does he'll get blocks in bunches. Tentative and lackadaisical look much the same, and I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for right now.

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