Change Is

By:
Published: January 27, 2013
TwoPelicans

A-well-a, bird, bird, bird, bird is the word
A-well-a, bird, bird, bird, bird is the word
A-well-a, don’t you know about the bird
Well everybody knows that the bird is the word

— The Ramones, Surfin’ Bird (Originally by The Trashmen)

Sports

In a week marked with deep changes for the New Orleans Hornets, one change is all too familiar: a 1-2 week. The prior 3 groups of 3 games each all had 2-1 records. Still, the team is 8-6 since the mostly-return of Eric Gordon (7-5 with him). This brought them to a 14-27 record at the midway mark of the season and 14-29 entering tonight’s matchup against the Grizzlies.

1-2 is nothing to get terribly upset about on its face, but there are a few disturbing things from this week.

Against the Kings, the Hornets led by 25 at the half, but allowed a 17-0 run in under 4 minutes as the third quarter bled away far too slowly. This happened with Davis and Gordon were not on the floor together against the starters. Davis missed the second half due to an ankle injury, and both players are have minute limitations (clearly) that make this practice more common that most fans would hope. It’s just further evidence of how thin this roster truly is . . . a situation that should be remedied this offseason.

Against the Spurs, the situation was the same but different. The Hornets took a 1 point lead midway through the fourth quarter, then allowed a 16-3 run in just over 4 minutes with the Gordon, Davis, Anderson, Aminu, and Vasquez in the game. At that point, Monty yanked that lineup, and the backups sank some threes to make the game look closer than it was. This is even further evidence of how this team just lacks the talent to compete with the top teams . . . a situation that may be remedied this offseason or next.

Against the Rockets, the team was flat out decimated in the back court on each end of the floor. A side-effect of this was a low-attempt + no-make game from Anderson with respect to three-pointers. The Rockets starting guards outscored their Hornets counterparts 43-22, nearly 100% more output, in just over 30% more time. Brutal. This is even far-er further evidence . . . bah, you get it . . .

News

The Hornets have recalled Darius Miller from the D-League.

The New Orleans Hornets announced today that the team has recalled Darius Miller from the Iowa Energy of the NBA Development League.

Miller, who was assigned to the Iowa Energy on December 31, 2012, has appeared in 11 games with the Energy, starting eight of those contests, averaging 9.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 0.6 steals per game in 27.2 minutes.

The University of Kentucky product appeared in 23 games this season for the New Orleans Hornets, including one start, averaging 2.0 points, 1.7 rebounds and 0.5 steals per game in 13.6 minutes.

Miller will be available for tonight’s game when the Hornets take on the Memphis Grizzlies from FedEx Forum in Memphis, TN.

Additionally, Miller hit his 3’s at 51.2%, much improved over his 33.3% with the Hornets or in college. Competition drop or real? Time will tell.

It’s unclear what all the reasons are from bringing Miller back now as opposed to a few days ago or a few days from now, but having 5 road games then 3 road games with a single home game between the stretches may be a factor.

The much larger piece of news is the official announcement that the team will rebrand to the Pelicans following this season. This has been covered pretty extensively. Trew has tracked and responded to some reactions.

Also, there is a petition to keep the Hornets name. If you feel that way, go here and let it be known.

Around the Site

The guys put out two podcasts this week. In the first, they discuss possible acquisitions and some missing elements from the team’s personality. In the second, they discuss line-ups, more possible acquisitions, and Pelicans.

In the acquisition vein, Mike looks at the likelihood of various possible acquisitions, what their deals will look like, and more in the most recent The Missing Peice. Ryan looked at how our current line-ups perform, both good and bad.

`Voices’ of the People

I love it! really represents our city and our state. I have heard a lot of people that think pelicans aren’t intimidating or that they are lame. But has any athlete or fan ever gone into a game, scared of the opposing team because of the mascot? I just don’t get it. I’d rather it represent the city I grew up in than be some random cool animal. Even though I liked “Krewe” it could be a hell of a lot worse.

wagman0650

The more i look at the logos, the more I’m loving the Pelicans. I’m definitely going to order some Pelicans apparel soon!

Snow

For those of you who do not like the name and want to voice your opinion heres the link to my online petition to sign if you would like.

harleyrider105

42 Sense

Earlier this month, I looked at how well Vasquez was passing (he’s very good) in spite of his lack in other areas of his game. What I did not note was how much he’s improved.

Actually, his AST% has increased each season after his first and TO% has decreased similarly. His TS%, eFG%, 3P%, are all increasing, while is FT% is fluctuating in an acceptable range. His 2P% is dropping slightly, but it’s really just hanging around 46%. Still, his increased volume of threes is driving up the more important TS%, so this is overall improvement. This is reflected in increases in his PER and WS/48, and his increasing usage reflects that these contributions are noted by the coaches.

Additionally, his TRB% is increasing. His STL% and BLK% are stable or dropping and are not impressive in any case.

All totaled, Vasquez is improving.

How about other players? I’m partially interested in the players themselves, but I’m also interested in Monty . . . When the Hornets got him, developing young players was supposed to be a strength of his, and this failure before was one reason that caused the departure of Chris Paul. So, getting this fixed is one that that needs to be going on to help keep Anthony Davis when the time comes as 2020 approaches.

With Aminu, looking at time-normalized numbers, we see his PER up each year, as is WS/48. FG%, eFG%, and TS% are up this year, but was slightly down last year from that before. TRB% has steadily increased, same with AST% and STL%. TOV% has increased each season slightly and FT% has ticked downward from 77% to 74%, so it’s not like he’s just up and up and away, but that is still a fine rate.

With the eyes, he’s making fewer mistakes (but boy are his mistakes shiny when he makes them). He’s clearly using his athleticism more, and his rebounding is not as `quiet’ as it was. Perhaps the best thing is that he has a niche. Creating the turnover and going on the break or doing some slashes where he dunks or only has single dribble before going up. Finding that role is key. Note the huge drop in his three-point attempts since coming here.

Smith has been here for a while, so he might give us some insight into if this is just a fluke for a couple of seasons. His numbers are down some this year, but this is likely due to a nagging shoulder injury. Still, he’s improved markedly from his days in Philadelphia, and the gains are pretty well locked-in, even with the injury present. His WS/48 increased each season here, which was not true there, and the same is true for his PER. His shooting, rebounding, and blocks are all improved.

With the departed Marco Belinelli, he also saw improvement in his defense and turnovers, but not a ton in shooting or rebounding. His WS/48 showed improved play while in New Orleans, as well. Most tellingly, he got a job with the Bulls, something that he had not shot of before his time in New Orleans. Monty himself said Marco was nearly out of the NBA before arriving here.

It’s not all success stories, of course. Xavier Henry has shown not significant improvement for instance.

The data bears out that Monty is above average (at least) at developing young talent. Compared to what was happening in this department before Monty arrived, it’s a massive leap forward.

3 comments
Cajun T
Cajun T

Thanks for the time you took writing that up, I enjoyed it.

Snow
Snow

I'm a voice of the people?! :D lol I love how you do the stats like how you showed how everyone's improved

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

No problem. I think your comment captures the sentiments of a number of people, so bingo-bango. Thanks for the comment. I didn't bring in all the stats since it's laid out well elsewhere, but I did give a little hint as to what to look for I suppose. I just want to give a little something each week to add to the discussion that isn't really a hot topic, and I just tuck it away in here.