Scouting the NBA: Week Seven — Anthony Davis Returns to Hornets Lineup

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Published: December 11, 2012
Scouting the NBA

 

The New Orleans Hornets schedule doesn’t get any easier and despite the return of Anthony Davis they still will be heavily unfavored in many of their match-ups this week.

However that doesn’t mean that this week can’t be successful and that the Hornets can’t win. No, I’m going to say that New Orleans can win a few games this week. With the first of our games against…

Game Twenty: Tuesday 11th vs. Washington Wizards — Fox Sports New Orleans, 7pm CST

After facing the Miami Heat on Saturday, the New Orleans Hornets return home to take on a reeling Wizards squad that only has two wins this season. The Hornets traded a couple of players to Washington in return for an expiring (and massive) contract of Rashard Lewis. The Wizards thought that Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza would propel them to the playoffs, now they’re wondering whether they can cut bait on these two diminished assets.

Kyle Weidie of Truth About It (The Wizards Blog) wrote this about former Hornet Emeka Okafor:

Actually, here’s a fun game: Okafor has played in 17 games this season, how many times has his points plus rebounds exceeded 13.5? The answer is seven. Seven times Emeka Okafor has produced this equation: Points + Rebounds > Annual Salary in Millions … and that is just sad.

Yeesh… Either way, the Wizards and their owners have some soul-searching to do because the roster moves made by the team over the past five years have been less than stellar.

  • Player of Interest for the Hornets: Kevin Seraphin

This one is a stretch. If the Hornets see fit to lose both Jason Smith (why would they?) and also Robin Lopez then Kevin Seraphin would be an ideal fit as a backup big. I looked all over the place and while John Wall would be a nice addition I can hardly see him being a realistic target. Seraphin’s contract expires with Wall’s, however I would expect him to be more involved in trades than the former number one overall pick.

  • Best Matchup for the Wizards: Bradley Beal vs. Roger Mason/Austin Rivers

I discussed over at Truth About It about how we Hornet fans have been disappointed with Austin more so than Wizard fans are about Beal. For those not in the loop the third overall pick has been struggling in his rookie campaign shooting 35 per-cent from the field as well as 32 per-cent from three. That shooting-percentages are similar to Rivers but the reason Beal breaks out is because he’s actually been playing better and can get hot from deep.

That’s not good news for Hornet fans because we are the worst team in the league at defending the three. Mason, Rivers, Vasquez & Roberts all have a difficult time of keeping their man in front of them. That leads to dribble penetration, which then leads to wide open three’s as help defenders have to leave their man to stop the easy layup.

  • Best Matchup for the Hornets: Ryan Anderson vs. Chris Singleton

I have been advocating for weeks now that Ryan Anderson receives All-Star mentions. He’s been shooting a ridiculous 44 per-cent from three and also leads the NBA in made three’s and also leads the league in attempts. Yes, I know I was smart to draft him for my fantasy league so thank you Ryan.

It’s going to be tough for the Wizards to cover Anderson and if they don’t game-plan for him effectively they could be in for a long night. Even the Heat, who seemingly looked to stop Anderson at every opportunity, couldn’t control him. If and when Ryan starts receiving respect from the referees (shout-out to McNamara’s Twitter) the league will be on notice.

  • Prediction: Hornets by 4

Some see this as a trap game, but for a team as bad as New Orleans I don’t think these even exist. If Davis plays I expect us to win, not comfortably, but a win none the less.

Game Twenty-One: Wednesday 12th @ Oklahoma City Thunder — Fox Sports New Orleans, 7pm CST

The Thunder have beaten the Hornets twice already this season, so it’s only fair that we face them again on a back-to-back. If New Orleans wishes to stand a chance in this one their going to need some whistles, some hot-shooting and a low-turnover count. This isn’t mentioning the need to slow-down the two Kevin’s, Russell and I-Block-a.

  • Best Matchup for the Thunder: Kevin Durant vs. Any Small-Forward in his way

At this point in Kevin Durant’s career he is arguably, no he is, the best pure scorer in the game. The thing about Kevin is that at time he’ll choose to let his team-mates control the possession, get them involved. While he could be scoring 40-points a night, he’s not. Rather he’s getting others involved and preserving himself for later in the season.

  • Best Matchup for the Hornets: Robin Lopez vs. Kendrick Perkins

Care to venture what Lopez’s PER is this season?

Any takers? 10, maybe 12?

PER: 19.8 — Yes it is that high. Despite Lopez’s deficiencies he’s played well in certain facets of the game. He’s done an excellent job of finishing round the basket (Career high 73.6%) and he’s done a decent job of hitting his jump-shots (43% on 16-23 foot jumpers). I think that Lopez can best Perkins in this one.

  • Prediction: Thunder by 18

If you were a betting man I’d take a look at the spread, it’ll be large. The Thunder have the day off today so they’ll be fresh for the H’Nets. Also how much worse is Thunder than Pelicans… “Oh hey guys I’m a Thunder! Rawwww!”

Game Twenty-Two: Friday 14th vs. Minnesota Timberwolves — Fox Sports New Orleans, 7pm CST

With Kevin Love back in the lineup the Timberwolves haven’t exactly been on a tear. At the time of publishing the Wolves are 4-5 with Love in the lineup, they are 5-4 without him. Now this doesn’t mean a whole lot because their opponents have something to do with this. The ‘Wolves should be taken seriously. They’re starting to gel (won four of their last six) and with Rubio about to return things look very promising in the Twin City.

  • Player of Interest: Some of their Fortune 500 Companies

Seriously, how many do they have in the city of Minneapolis?

  • Best Matchup for the Timberwolves: Kevin Love/Derrick Williams vs. Ryan Anderson

I really think that on both ends Ryan will struggle in this night. Love is a tough cover in any regard and Williams has serious length as well as decent enough foot speed to stay with the sharpshooter. Fantasy owners beware.

  • Best Matchup for the Hornets: The slow-pace of the game

The Wolves aren’t the slowest team in the league (Hello Hornets!) but they aren’t doing any hail-mary Lebron passes any-time soon (Or this Klay Thompson one). Minnesota ranks 19th in the league in pace and so hopefully this will aid the Hornets in controlling the tempo and forcing the Wolves to stupor to their level.

  • Prediction: Wolves by 4

I don’t see Minnesota blowing this one wide open, probably because I feel like New Orleans can control the game and frustrate Minnesota. But I wouldn’t be shocked if they won it by more, I’m just being optimistic.

Game Twenty-Three: Sunday 16th @ Portland Trail Blazers — Fox Sports New Orleans, 8pm CST

I’ll be honest I’ve had this game circled on my calendar for a while now. Michael and Ryan talked on Podcast 103 about who they expect to win Rookie of the Year between Anthony Davis and Damian Lillard. It’s pretty clear to me on all the Rookie Ladders, the Twitter talk and the general vibe of the NBA fan that Lillard is in the lead.

Though if Davis can be healthy for the rest of the season, put up similar numbers to what he already has, I expect him to win it. It’s a big ask for a young player. Davis has insisted that he’s not interested in the ROY chase:

“Not really, I’m just out here trying to have fun,” Davis said when asked if he’s paying attention to the R.O.Y. race. “Damian Lillard is a great player and there are other rookies out there who great players as well, but I’m just out here having fun. If I win, I win. If I don’t, I don’t. I’m just out here having fun and I’m just happy to be in the league. Most guys don’t get that opportunity and God blessed me with it so I’m just out here trying to have fun and enjoy it.”

  • Player of Interest for the Hornets: Luke Babbitt

As a shooter that’s all Babbitt can do. I expect him to go to a big-name team who says he’s worked on other facets of his game, but really hasn’t, gets overpaid then people wonder why they signed him, only for him to hit 5 three pointers in the second half to move the team into the championship series.

  • Best Matchup for the Blazers: Damian Lillard vs. Greivis Vasquez

Our Venezuelan readers won’t be happy with us as we once again sand-blast their iconic sports hero. It’s not that we don’t like Vasquez ’cause we do. It’s just that he’s not a starting point-guard, yet he has expectations of being one. There’s nothing wrong with that, but we’re just looking into the future and I don’t see Vasquez as the lead ball-handler for a winner.

Lillard can have a big day against Greivis if he plays it right. Damian plays little if any defense (something he never gets called out for) but if he’s smart he’ll trap and get some steals as well as run multiple PnR sets with LaMarcus Aldridge.

  • Best Matchup for the Hornets: Anthony Davis vs. J.J. Hickson

If Davis spends any exorbitant amount of time guarding LaMarcus Aldridge on defense I’ll be surprised. Leave that to Smith and Lopez to deal with. Davis can have a big game against a player who’s fighting for his next NBA contract. It’s going to be a great game either way because it’ll be the two leading ROY candidates going head to head.

  • Prediction: Hornets by 7

Hey there! A Hornets win on the road! Yes, as you watch the Saints season wind down you should know that the Hornets will be beating the Portland Trail Blazers, in the Rose Garden as they’ve done for the last 5 seasons. While most of those involved Chris Paul, this one will be Anthony Davis and his unibrow will crush Damian Lillard’s ROY aspirations once and for all.

Motif of the Week

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

— Facial Hair —

Whether you grow an excellent beard, wicked side-burns, an awesome moustache that puts Magnum P.I. to shame it’s time to celebrate the return of our Unibrow!

Yes, you type it in on Google and his picture is all over the place — he is synonymous with the appendage and with our championship aspirations. We can finally be excited to watch Hornets basketball again! Yippy!

Final Sentence: There is a Method to this Pelican Madness. 

5 comments
Venreader
Venreader

You are right, he is an ambassador and a first year starting pro player, indeed, but I did not make out kind of comments "...If Greivis Vasquez scores 85 points and dishes out 35 assists on 1 turnover on the next game, this blog will still hate on him...." This maybe a stupid suggestion, but since nobody shows any respect towards Vasquez...." Obviuosly, there is hate and disrespect towards him. To me it is to early to see whether he can make it as a starting guard, this is a decisive year for him, but NOLA commentators have already made their mind, and that is neither helping him nor NOLA Hornets. To me it is more a matter of confidence more than athleticism. I have been watching him and some other hornets players miss "to easy to miss" plays--including easy lay outs once he got past his defender, that I think Press Pressure is getting to heavy for these young guys. Let´s see what happens after 15 December. Hopefully NOLA get the PG you want.

Venreader
Venreader

It seems that you do not know Venezuela very well, or your own country sport scene other than basketball. National Iconic Sports heros are Venezuelans Major League Baseball players Miguel Cabrera AL Triple Crown (2012) and AL MVP 2012, Pablo Sandoval 2012 World Series MVP 2012, Marco Scutaro, League Championship Series Most Valuable Player Award 2012 for example... Greivis a a great player but needs to trust himself more. He is first in TO per 48 min, but also 3rd in AST per 48 minutes played in team forwards/centers do no cash all the passes he gives. Monty has been good to him, but not so much the commentators, probably there is another team whose fans like him better,... and NOLA finally can get their dream-on PG to play with EG (in a parallel dimension). Good luck!

Mike P
Mike P

I think he meant iconic basketball hero, not sports hero, and his job is to be objective about players. He even said he likes Vasquez, just in a different role. Mac and Schwan have said before that it's a shame Vasquez is forced to start, because if he was a bench player, he'd be a fan favorite. Vasquez is aggressive, a very good passer, has a nice touch around the basket, and isn't afraid of pressure.. but he'd be slow even if he played the 4, and all of his problems start there. I know that I love having Hornets fans in different countries, and that's why I really liked having both Vasquez and Ayon. I think everyone at the site here feels the same. I was thrilled to have Donovan, Dempsey, and Howard in the English Premier League. It generates a lot of excitement when someone makes it. Vasquez is a sports ambassador for your country and you should be immensely proud.

James Grayson
James Grayson

@Venreader: First of all I know very well that basketball is not Venezuela's national sport, but Vasquez is still an ambassador for your country so it's something to be proud of. Basketball isn't a national sport in my country, Australia, but that doesn't mean we aren't proud of Patty Mills and Andrew Bogut. Secondly, could we stop with this notion that people "hate" Vasquez? No one here hates him, we are just looking at him objectively. He's slow footed, can't get past many 7-footers in the league and has far too much pressure on his shoulders. He's not a starting point guard but is forced to be one. If the Hornets can find their starting point-guard I'd be more than happy to have Vasquez as our backup PG.

Venreader
Venreader

Really! take a look at this... I guess now that he is having a hard time Vasquez haters have proven their point:after games Vasquez went on with 16/9, 18/8, 25/10, 25/14, 24/9 (PPG/ASTPG),he is finally doing what haters wanted to: get grustrated,lose confidence, decreasing his trade value... What a strange crowd! With a crowd like this I rather be in another team, honestly. Good luck!...again ----- Rich November 29, 2012 at 4:54 am If Greivis Vasquez scores 85 points and dishes out 35 assists on 1 turnover on the next game, this blog will still hate on him. On the other hand, if, on the same game, Austin Rivers makes 2 points on 500 possessions, has 27 turnovers and misses all his free throws, he’s still the better point guard and should replace Greivis immediately. NOS-3RD GEN November 29, 2012 at 7:36 pm This maybe a stupid suggestion, but since nobody shows any respect towards Vasquez. Would be better if we trADE HIM for another Passing PG name Ricky Rubio. He value should be low enough to consider trading for. I like Vasquez, but he’s better as a backup, but he still good as a starter. I’m jus saying if things don’t work out good after Rubio once he comes from injury of course.