New Orleans Hornets 2012-13 Power Rankings – Week 4

Published: November 28, 2012

The past week featured three more losses, but finished with a gratifying victory in Los Angeles over Chris Paul’s Clippers to break the team’s seven game skid. Let’s take a look at how the most recent week of games have affected the rankings.

All season long, these player power rankings will be presented alongside various “advanced stats” in order to more accurately evaluate each Hornets player’s impact (click here for a glossary of the statistic abbreviations). In addition, we also have created a chart with the goal of standardizing advanced stat categories to distinguish the good numbers from the bad ones. Hopefully, these tools give each of you the means to comprehend the advanced statistical metrics used in these rankings as well as other columns throughout


 Week 4


1) Ryan Anderson, PF – 13 GP, 32.9 MPG, 60.3 eFG%, 19.5% DRR, 6.0% TOR, .162 WS/48, 21.0 PER

Anderson’s play thus far combined with his ability to stay on the court makes him the surest #1 so far this season. Ryan has made an insane 21 of his 33 attempts (63.6%) from long range since the last edition of these rankings came out to go along with 7.5 rebounds per game and only .75 turnovers per game over that stretch. Anderson’s eFG% is 10 times higher than his turnover rate; given how often he touches the ball in this Hornets offense, that is incredibly impressive. If Ryan can keep up this production, he may have an all-star game berth in his future come February.

2) Greivis Vasquez, PG – 13 GP, 33.4 MPG, 50.5 TS%, 12.5% DRR, 46.8% AR,  21.0% TOR, .029 WS/48, 14.9 PER

After Anderson, there are about four players (Vasquez, Smith, Davis, Lopez) who have an argument to be in this #2 spot. For now, I’m going with Greivis. I really hate putting him here because of his 20 turnovers over the past three games, but his turnaround offensively deserves recognition. If it were just about production, he wouldn’t be ranked this high; however, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that without him, the offense would be a total train wreck. He is far and away the best passer on the team, and without those turnovers, two of his three most recent performances would have been not just good, but elite. If he can learn how to keep that aggressiveness offensively without being so reckless with the ball (admittedly not an easy thing to do), the benefit for the Hornets as a team would be gigantic.

3) Anthony Davis, PF – 6 GP, 28.3 MPG, 56.7 TS%, 14.1/19.9/17.1% O/D/TRR, 9.6% TOR, 0.191 WS/48, 26.1 PER

Going from playing in 2/3 of the team’s games to under half of them unfortunately has to knock Davis down a couple spots. His play in those six games was so strong that he is able to remain in the top three, but that may not remain the case for long. Get well soon, AD23!

4) Jason Smith, PF – 13 GP, 16.5 MPG, 57.5 TS%, 8.5% ORR, 11.0% TOR, .130 WS/48, 18.5 PER

With Davis’ extended absence, Smith has received an uptick in minutes and has done pretty well with them; removing his 1 minute of action after getting poked in the eye in Phoenix, he is averaging 17.8 mpg in his other 12 games. His efficiency has taken a hit, but he is still producing fairly strongly, delivering 41 points on 37 shots in his past 3 games of real action. His mere two turnovers in his 75 minutes played over the past week has helped a great deal as well.

5) Robin Lopez, C – 13 GP, 27.7 MPG, 8.8% ORR, 52.4 TS%, 11.4% TOR, .082 WS/48, 17.0 PER

Lopez appears to be generating more negative buzz than positive recently, but I really don’t understand why apart from his struggles on the defensive glass, which haven’t even been that poor. Other than that, he has played pretty well; he has certainly contributed more than most people expected from him. Robin’s turnover rate is 4% lower than the league average for centers so far this year (15.4%). He is doing a pretty decent job of protecting the rim with a team high 6.5% block rate. His offensive rebound rate and true shooting percentage are both less than 1% lower than the average for centers thus far this season. Lopez’s 73.7% free throw percentage doesn’t hurt either, especially when compared to Okafor’s 51.4% mark last season. Add it all up, and we arrive at an above-average PER for Lopez. Obviously, there’s more to evaluating his all-around performance than stats can tell, but apart from his defensive rebound rate, I don’t see a huge reason to complain.

6) Al-Farouq Aminu, SF – 13 GP, 31.9 MPG, 54.0 TS%, 21.5% DRR, 12.1% AR, 21.0% TOR, .050 WS/48, 14.4 PER

With his usage rate up about 2.5% from last season, Aminu’s turnover issues are killing him more than ever before. If he could hold steady at merely a below-average turnover rate as opposed to his current awful one, his production thus far this season would likely be seen as well above-average by most. Instead, the strides that he continues to make on defense and on the boards are being held back by his failure to take care of the ball on offense. Even his true shooting percentage is an outstanding 5% higher than his career average heading into this season. I continue to be baffled by how Aminu cannot reduce his turnover rate to a number that, while still poor, could at least be tolerable. Given the fact that he is still only 22, I still have hope that he can improve in this area, but the clock is ticking.

7) Brian Roberts, PG – 13 GP, 14.6 MPG, 55.3 TS%, 32.5% AR, 12.8% TOR, .084 WS/48, 17.8 PER

I keep waiting for Roberts to come back down to Earth, but he refuses to do so, and that is 100% fine by me. Though he doesn’t look for his teammates as often as you’d like from a point guard, it’s hard to argue with his results so far. His great shooting form has led to a 42.1% average from beyond the arc, paving the way for his 55.3% true shooting percentage, tops among all Hornets guards this season. The real “buzz kill” with Roberts comes in the form of his age; he will turn 27 in a week, leading to the assumption that he does not have much room left to grow.

8) Austin Rivers, SG – 12 GP, 28.8 MPG, 43.0 TS%, 15.5% AR, 16.5% TOR, -.037 WS/48, 7.6 PER

Welcome to the NBA, Austin! Sure, he’s still struggling mightily on defense, but you know what? So is leading rookie of the year candidate Damian Lillard (scroll down to #3 in Zach Lowe’s “10 Things I like and Don’t Like). The most important thing here is that in Monday night’s victory over the Clippers, he showed signs of improvement. As Michael McNamara noted, the Hornets gave Rivers some run at the point when he and Vasquez were both in the game, and the results were pretty solid. Still quite a long way to go for the rook, but it was nice to see some positive strides for a change.

9) Darius Miller, SF – 12 GP, 14.3 MPG, 60.0 TS%, 11.4% AR, 17.7% TOR, .065 WS/48, 8.8 PER

Miller has been fairly tough to grade so far this season, especially recently. It’s not that he has played particularly poorly, which his PER may indicate, but he just hasn’t done much of anything. Given his role at Kentucky, Miller playing more of a complementary role makes a lot of sense, but I didn’t expect this little involvement. In fact, among all qualifying players, Miller is tied for the 5th lowest usage rate in the NBA this season. Again, this is not meant to be a knock on Miller, as he is still getting acclimated to the league; it’s just difficult to evaluate him at this point in time.

10) Lance Thomas, F – 8 GP, 11.3 MPG, 51.4 TS%, 8.2% ORR, 6.0% TOR, .088 WS/48, 11.9 PER

As I mentioned yesterday on Twitter, Lance Thomas has attempted more free throws (23) than field goals (21) this season, giving him a crazy high free throw rate of 109.5%. Reggie Evans led all qualifying players in this stat last year with a 99% FTR (Tyson Chandler was second at 89%), so while his current rate is unsustainable, it is reasonable to hope that he can both remain effective at earning trips to the line (largely through offensive rebound put-backs) and refrain from taking shots outside of his range or comfort zone. Doing so should also keep his turnover rate down around where it is now. Overall, Thomas has done a great job so far this season of making the most of the skills he does have, and not trying to over-extend himself in an attempt to earn more minutes. He knows his role, and is serving it well.

11) Roger Mason Jr., SG – 13 GP, 20.2 MPG, 53.4 TS%, 11.0% DRR, 8.4% AR, 8.6% TOR, .040 WS/48, 8.5 PER

Well, at least Mason knows what he’s on the team for. Over the past week, he shot the ball over twice as many times from beyond the arc (15) than inside the 3-point line (7). He made six of those fifteen 3-pointers and just one of his other seven shots. Marco Belinelli shot 37.7% from long range last year, and Mason is shooting 37.1% from that distance this year. Roger really just doesn’t add anything apart from his slightly above average perimeter shooting, so it’s tough to get overly excited about him whenever he’s in the game.

12) Xavier Henry, SG – 5 GP, 12.0 MPG, 40.0 eFG%, 15.0% DRR, -.064 WS/48, 4.7 PER

I’m finished with talking about Henry until he gives me a reason to do so.

NR) Eric Gordon, SG


  1. Lucas Ottoni

    November 28, 2012 at 8:15 am

    When Davis returns and And Gordon decides to play, the turnovers of Vasquez will decrease significantly. That’s very clear.

  2. ADubs

    November 28, 2012 at 8:21 am

    I had the exact same thought as Lucas… stat gurus, can you dial up what Vasquez’s and Aminu’s turnover rates are when on the floor with The Brow? And from last season with Gordon on the floor? Limited sample sizes of both, I know, but I believe the TO rates of both players are not only a function of sloppy aggression but talent around them on the floor, and when Gordon and Davis return you’ll see those rates improve (hopefully dramatically).

    • Mason Ginsberg

      November 28, 2012 at 8:58 am

      I absolutely agree with this assumption. Part of Vasquez’s turnover issues are likely a product of him putting too much pressure on himself to score, given the lack of other legitimate scoring options on the roster. His tendency to let the shot clock run down a little too much before getting the offense started may also be related, but that is likely more of a coaching/gameplan issue than a Greivis issue.

      All that being said, a turnover rate of around 35% over the past three is a percentage with which I am very uncomfortable, no matter how little help he has on offense.

      • Jason Calmes

        November 28, 2012 at 9:26 am

        I will counter.

        I think better offensive options will help his TO% (worse than Aminu’s) since he won’t have to pass-to-create for Davis, for instance. Davis has shown that he can set himself up pretty well, then he just needs the ball gotten to him. Same for any scoring guard that shows up, as they can create with the ball in their hands.

        The comparison to Aminu is there for context, not to pick. GV can reduce his percentage by not having to force things through lanes. Aminu’s problems are caused by Aminu in many cases, or trying to dribble past Chris Paul. Vasquez does have a floor on his TO%, however, as long as he’s a starter, as he’s too easily trapped, etc.

  3. ADubs

    November 28, 2012 at 8:27 am

    A couple more comments on the positive side…

    Anderson has definitely found his form shooting again, which is very nice considering he is probably the focus of defenses when Gordon and Davis aren’t on the floor, so when they all play together for the first time our offense should be pretty sweet!

    Is Lopez the best bang for the buck Center in the NBA right now? I’m struggling to find someone of better value… hopefully that will quiet the naysayers of that trade this summer. Average to above average production for average to below average salary is something I think we can all agree to appreciate!

  4. Michael McNamara

    November 28, 2012 at 8:40 am

    Again, it is not about Lopez being a bad player as much as Davis, Anderson, and Smith all being fantastic players. If you limit any of their minutes to get him his, it is a net negative even if he is playing “above average”. Taking minutes from good to give to above average is what I am against. As long as Smith, Davis, and Anderson all get satisfactory minutes, I got nothing against playing Lopez in the minutes that are left over.

    Agree fully with this week’s power rankings and I can’t wait until Gordon comes back because that should mean the end of playing time for the bottom two on this list

  5. 504ever

    November 28, 2012 at 8:50 am

    Yeah, finally, someone who sees Lopez realistically. And I agree with the two posts above about Vasquez’s (or anyone’s) turnovers being related to the level of talent around the player.

  6. ballboy458

    November 28, 2012 at 9:35 am

    It’s pretty obvious why Roberts plays the way he does when he comes in, probably because thats what he’s asked to do! and it’s what he does best, that’s his strength..he puts the ball in the hole, and to much chagrin, for some odd reason..

    The kid has poise and doesnt make many mistakes, look at his assist/TO ratio..look at his PER..look at his production in the limited time he gets..I think he’s a sound backup and he proves his worth time and time again..

    Its very difficult to find your niche or get in a groove on this level, especially as a rookie when you get the type of limited minutes Roberts receives..I think he’s done a helluva job..


  7. ballboy458

    November 28, 2012 at 9:55 am

    The official NBA website gives weekly updates of the Top 10 NBA rookies, and then the “next 5”..

    I see 3 Hornets listed: Roberts, Rivers, Davis

  8. steve ciro

    November 28, 2012 at 11:10 am

    These guys are doing a terrific job considering their evolution as players, none of them (but injured EG) was a starter player before. All of them are either rookies or first year starters, and this is the first time playing together. Their learning curve is amazing if you consider that! …I think their mistakes are related more either to mental (concentration over the whole game to make it easy) or emotional (confidence: I¨´ve seen faces with fear and frustration not well managed) issues, than to athleticism (foot speed, etc). It is about taking the game under control in a steady way from the opponent, a frightened or frustrated team can not do that. Coach needs to read the games better/quicker and makes the changes and opportunely, his players have limits.

  9. Chuck

    November 28, 2012 at 11:37 am

    I know it’s sort of an odd thought, but would there be other teams willing to give up something we might find useful for Aminu? I have no idea how thorough scouts are when looking at potential trade targets, but maybe they aren’t as negative about (or haven’t noticed) Aminu’s awful ball handling and instead focus on his ability to get out and finish in transition, rebound, and disrupt plays and lanes with his length. Those 3 are definitely worth something.

    No one in particular comes to mind, since if we trade him we now have a gaping hole at SF, but basically I just want to know if you think other teams are taking notice and will call Dell with offers.

  10. ktrufant

    November 29, 2012 at 1:32 am

    I’m not sure how turnovers are calculated but I cringe whenever I see Lopez’s hands go up for the ball. The problem I have with Lopez are his hands. His rebound rate is below average for a center. By the eye test … He fights to hold rebounds he gets to first if its in traffic and if he’s guarded closely enough he’s likely to lose a pass (when that happens does it count for a turnover for the passer i.e. Vasquez or occasionally Aminu?).

    I like Aminu. I think he’ll be a starter in time. There are limited ball handlers with Gordon out and Rivers is still too weak (he trips on himself half the time it seems). I figure that’s part of the reason Aminu is handling the ball like that before he’s ready. The team as a whole is getting stronger but they aren’t strong enough yet to cover their own or each others’ weaknesses with their strength. (As by the sane token, the offense ideally would not be going through Lopez as much as it does) That’s just my opinion though.

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