Scouting the NBA: Week Six — Lakers and Heat, Oh No…

Published: December 4, 2012
Hugo Laying Cutely on the Court

The New Orleans Hornets will face a slew of tough games this week starting with the reeling Los Angeles Lakers. They will then play Memphis at home, then Miami away. By the end of the week it will be December 11 and talk of Anthony Davis will start to heat up.

Regardless of the outcome of the matches the Hornets need to focus on establishing an identity something which has escaped them with their best players sidelined. Will they be able to matchup with some of these powerhouse teams? Only time will tell.

Wednesday 5th December vs. Los Angeles Lakers — Fox Sports New Orleans, 7pm CST

A team that trades for Dwight Howard is one that supposed to be feared right? Well it appears this is not the case when it concerns the Los Angles Lakers. This team is still a shining testament to the need for a point-guard that is at least capable of knocking down shots, defending the pick and roll and initiating the offense. With Steve Nash out the Lakers do not have a point-guard with these capabilities.

For the Hornets this is excellent news. They can matchup a little better with the Lakers and focus more on other areas. Double teaming in the post (which has become somewhat of a necessity for NOLA) will be prevalent throughout as Dwight continues his Free-Throw woes.

  • Player of Interest for the Hornets: Jodie Meeks

I feel very negatively about Dwight Howard. Outside of his over the top personality (which fits in LaLa Land) his on the court isn’t nearly as impressive as it once was. Kobe Bryant has a massive contract and he’s never leaving the Lakers organisation, because they are one in the same thing.

If we’re talking about a smart get, go after Meeks. While he may not be the defensive wing player we so desperately need, he is another shooter.

  • Best Matchup for the Lakers: Kobe Bryant vs. Roger Mason

It has to be the Bean. New Orleans has struggled to contain opposing guards no matter how competent they are. Austin Rivers, Greivis Vasquez, Roger Mason, Darius Miller and Al-Farouq Aminu have done a terrible job of containing their opposition from dribble penetration. Look for Kobe to excel.

  • Best Matchup for the Hornets: Greivis Vasquez vs. Darius Morris
I expect to see New Orleans run multiple pick and roll sets with Vasquez and Robin Lopez. This will test Morris but also Dwight Howard, pulling the shot-blocker out from the paint. However, if Mike D’Antoni is smart he would put Ron Artest (or Metta World Peace) on him because Vasquez and Ron have virtually similar foot-speed.
  • Prediction: Hornets by 2
The Hornets are going to do something many think they can’t and that’s beating the Lakers. They’ll do it here because Los Angeles has no idea who they are.
Friday 7th December vs. Memphis Grizzlies — Fox Sports New Orleans, 7pm CST
  • Player of Interest: Rudy Gay

I tend to agree with co-writer Ryan Schwan and his assessment that Rudy Gay isn’t a guy worthy of his contract. However, a question for all of you: Would you take Rudy Gay or Eric Gordon right now? I know that if Gordon continues to be as fragile as a kid in a foster home then Rudy would be a better player for this team this season.

  • Best Matchup for the Grizzlies: Mike Conley Jr. vs. Greivis Vasquez

You guys and gals might think I pick on Vasquez too much, but it’s because I want this team built differently than you. I see Vasquez as an excellent back-up point guard, maybe even the 3rd guard in the rotation. He’s going to be outmatched by Conley because he’s having a career season. He has a PER of 21 right now, he’s shooting 46% from three and is posting a .211 WS per 48 (meaning he’s a big reason why Memphis are playing so darn well).

  • Best Matchup for the Hornets: Ryan Anderson vs. Zach Randolph

If the Hornets can contain Randolph on the boards, then I expect to see a heavy dose of Ryan Anderson 3-balls. Hopefully the Hornets can utilize the slow-footed Randolph and get him running on defense, something he’s not accustomed to.

  • Prediction: Grizzlies by 14

I don’t see the Hornets being able to keep pace with the red-hot Grizzlies. In fact, one could argue they’re more of a concern right now than the Heat.

Saturday 8th @ Miami Heat — Fox Sports New Orleans, NBA TV, 6.30pm CST

  • Player of Interest for the Hornets: Lebron James

Because Demps could do it and because Lebron would want to…

Okay maybe not.

  • Best Matchup for the Heat: Lebron James vs. Al-Farouq Aminu and anything Monty Williams throws on the court

For being labelled an “excellent defender” Aminu sure has had a tougher time this season. He’s losing his man consistently helping dribble penetration from guards and his confidence has diminished. If he had more competent back-court team mates, he might be able to do a better job at containing his man.

That trend does not appear to be ending any time soon, so as it continues so too will Aminu’s inability to stop scorers like Lebron James.

  • Best Matchup for the Hornets: Robin Lopez on offense vs. Chris Bosh on defense
If Lopez can continue to hit the boards like he has then I would expect him to put up some nice numbers against Bosh. Don’t expect him to be able to contain Bosh on the other end though.
  • Prediction: Heat by 19

This one will get ugly fast. While the Heat don’t have the shot-blockers like the Thunder I still expect them to run away with this one early and not look back.

Motif of the Week

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

— Submission —

Like the WWE wrestler’s in a fake-submission hold the Hornets are going to have to tap out like the they did against the Thunder and other teams this past week. While it’s inspiring to see their effort the talent just isn’t there and you can only do so much.

It’s easy to be pessimistic, but this is the reality we’re faced with. We have three playoff teams this week and while I predict we’ll be the Lakers if we don’t it’ll be a long week until the Washington Wizards visit.

I think we’re all waiting for Gordon and Davis to return to finally see what this team can do when healthy.

Last Sentence: The bigger they are the harder they fall.


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