Good article. I was also under the impression that the Brow would only be out a couple weeks, but the article I read on ESPn that said 2 weeks or so (early december) appears to have disappeared. Meanwhile, I'd love another top 5 pick. Obviously it would be better to watch the Bees win 40 games this year, but if we can land a top notch swingman - Shabazz, Poythress, Tony Mitchell and porter sping to mind - then that's just another cost effective step in the right direction. I happen to think 2/3 could end up being the strongest position in the upcoming draft. Good timing!
Same Ol’ Situation
Three games end in an all-too familiar way, and more deja vu?
It’s the same ol’, same ol’ situation
It’s the same ol’, same ol’ ball and chain
— Motley Crue, Same Ol’ Situation
The Hornets have gone 0-3 since last Sunday, bringing their record to 3-8 and extending the losing streak to 6 games.
What happened to the 3-2 Hornets that had 4 days off to practice and game-plan? A couple of things. One, nothing. Two, injuries.
Starting with the former, this team just is not set up to win this season. With around $31m of the around $62m in guaranteed money being spent on players who have yet to play a minute for the team this season, winning with regularity is but a dream, if a pleasant one. More than half of that amount will continue to not play a minute, but it’s in the cards that Gordon can contribute to the in some fashion.
Moving to the latter, Austin Rivers has missed a game and injuries have affected Jason Smith even if he hasn’t technically missed a game, but the most significant injuries to active players have been to Anthony Davis. First, he suffered a concussion, and now a stress reaction that has him in a walking boot, a typical tool used in the recovery of these types if injuries.
Back to the games themselves, the common thread here is the lack of perimeter defense. This lack is so great, the Hornets, thought of as having a good defense, have a DRtg of 110.4, which is the worst in the NBA. The lone bright spot is the lack of fouls committed per opponents’ field goal attempt, but this could be a product of not being in the vicinity of perimeter shooters. Even with the second slowest pace in the NBA, the Hornets have allowed the most 3-point attempts per game, over 25 per game, and they allow them at the third highest rate, 38.4%. This is good for the fourth highest eFG% allowed, 50.5%. With a mediocre offense, this just is not the recipe for winning.
Just this week, there were 14 of 36 3-point attempts on a pace of 85.6 by the Knicks, 15 of 27 3-point attempts on a pace of 83.7 by the Pacers, and 11 of 25 3-point attempts on a pace of 86.9 by the Suns.
If defense is where this team is hanging its hat, it either needs to just accept that the perimeter is a lost cause and allow themselves to get beat out there while maintaining good habits in the frontcourt while the shellacking continues or change its ways to try to win some games now, even if that style of play will change with the backcourt gets an upgrade. At this point, however, the hat is not hung in any way whatsoever.
This was already covered in more depth, but Matt Carroll was certainly waived and reported bought out. There has been no word as of yet of him signing with another team.
Since Davis’ presence has the biggest effect on the team’s play of those that have played this season, let’s investigate this latest class of injuries. A stress reaction is like a stress fracture without a fracture (maybe); the most severe stress reactions result in a fracture. The cause of these is repetitive stress, and often follows dramatic increase in stress, such as a change in training regimen. The injury presents as acute localized pain during activity that increases even after the activity has stopped. The treatment is essentially rest, but it can be aided by a walking boot (the cool kids call this a pneumatic walker or cam walker, depending). These boots are clever little gadgets that can aid in a number of ways, starting with the redirection of forces away from the sole of the foot, aiding in healing of stress reactions. Strengthening the affected area can help prevent future injury. 8 weeks seems to a glass-half-full recovery period for typical sort of stress reaction in the ankle, with 16 weeks being the glass-half-empty counterpart. The extent and location of Davis’ injury and how well the treatment takes will determine if he can beat the 8 week `typical’.
The first of the large LED boards is operational, and the second is nearly completely installed. It seems like it will be fully operational in a week or so, less if the Death Star contractors are working on it. The only ad I observed was one for the upcoming Jazz game. As good as the boards are for classing up the Arena and potentially getting people to buy tickets, their main function is to bring in advertising dollars. The lack of inventory is not good.
Around the Site
In the NO continued it’s run of two podcasts per week. The first discussed Austin Rivers and the aforementioned perimeter defense. The second included Michael Schwartz of Valley of the Suns, a look at the Suns and their roster, and some Eric Gordon talk. Mike has a piece up about some high-risk, high-reward players the New Orleans Hornets could target in the coming offseason. Grayson’s scouting report is still good for tonight’s game at the Nuggets and the game at the Clippers.
`Voices’ of the People
1. Henry/Mason on ball defense is atrocious.
2. Lance is a good “spurt” player any playing time longer than 5-10 minutes at a time he becomes a liability.
3. Roberts rarely if ever runs the half court offense, when he’s running point we don’t innate the offense until its under 10sec in the shot clock and its usually a high pick n roll with him shooting a mid range jumper/ can’t win with your backup pg playing that way.
4. Lopez and Aminu should not be on the court when its winning time on the offensive end. Monty needs to go offense/defense bring in any combo of players Rivers/Miller/ or even Roberts has to create mismatches.
— Melvin E
I actually felt sorry for Lopez when his shot went over the backboard in the 4th quarter. The Hornets have no backup point guard. Roberts has a nice mid-range shot but he cannot run an offense. I’m most surprised at how much worst the Hornets defense looks this year compared to last years merry-go-round of players on their roster. Having said all that, at least they competed the last 2 games. I was at the Knicks game and they had no effort at all.
We don’t have any healthy athletic guards. That means, among other things, we have such “poor footspeed” (to quote Ryan) that we can’t close down 3 point shooters. This isn’t changing any time soon. The best thing we can do is try Henry at guard for defense, but we aren’t signing a more athletic guard now. They just don’t exist. So we will likely see more successful three point shooting by opposing teams.
I know it’s tough watching this team lose, but some context may help. Let’s compare this team’s trajectory to that of the Thunder, the latest small-market success story.
Seattle / OKC records:
2006-2007: 31 wins, drafted Durant after
2007-2008: 20 wins, drafted Westbrook, Ibaka after
2008-2009: 23 wins, drafted Harden, Ibaka arrives
2009-2010: 50 wins
Durant’s WS/48 through those seasons: 0.04, 0.13, 0.24 (age 19 at debut)
Westbook’s WS/48 through those seasons: 0.04, 0.11 (nearly age 20 at debut)
Ibaka’s WS/48 through those seasons: 0.13 (age 20 at debut)
Harden’s WS/48 through those seasons: 0.12 (age 20 at debut)
The performance of X does not predict the performance of Y here, but the above shows how a successful team that engaged in these same practices the Hornets are suffered through the poor performance of many 19-year-olds (and how many more not on the list) because they had believed their scouting reports and did what was needed to develop them. They also drafted wisely (in these cases . . . they had some misses, as well).
Time will tell about the Hornets, but they’ve earned some patience from me in terms of letting the team build. The evidence from the Thunder makes the pill go down a little more easily.
I didn't realise AD's ankle was going to keep him out so long. For some reason I thought it was a "miss a few days to a week" kind of injury, not a "lose a major chunk of the season" injury. If Davis is out two months, and Gordon's rehab assignment doesn't prove helpful, I foresee another early lottery pick in our future. Which actually kind of sucks. I was happy to write off last year in the hopes of getting a potential superstar to turbo-charge the drive back into contention (mission accomplished), but I wanted the Hornets to show their potential this year by winning some games. With a fully health team, I think we could have aspired to a late lottery pick. Now? Who knows.