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Hornets Beat: Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon, Jeff Bower and the NCAA Tourney
Michael Pellissier joins our regular staff to chat about Eric Gordon, Anthony Davis, the days of Jeff Bower, and the NCAA Tourney.
1. Fact or Fiction: When on the floor, Gordon has been an above average player so far this year.
Michael Pellissier: Fact. This is a league where fans call players like Rudy Gay All-Stars. However, he’s being paid like a star, and his play this year hasn’t measured up to that standard. He needs to become a more aggressive scorer or start contributing in other ways.
Michael McNamara: Fact. By definition, an “above average” player is a top 200 NBA player and Gordon has been that. An above average starter would be a top 70 starter, and an above average starting shooting guard would be a top 13 shooting guard. Those are a little closer for me. But, he has been attacking more lately and if he can stay injury free this summer, I think he can be a top 40 NBA player and a top 6 shooting guard next season.
James Grayson: Fact, but by no means are we happy about it. Gordon has lacked the ball-skills that made him a good player earlier in his career. He also is very inconsistent with his shot. Hopefully with a healthy offseason and training camp he can improve on his play.
Jake Madison: Fact. You could qualify my choice by also adding ‘When he tries.’ Gordon’s had some great moments and more recently has been incredibly aggressive and looking to get to the hole. Even when on the court he’s been frustrating but he has been above average.
Joe: Fact, but barely. His PER (14.6) is slightly below average, but defensively he’s still good enough to come out ahead. IF you’re scoring at home, that does not mean he’s been worth the max contract he signed.
2. Fact or Fiction: Anthony Davis is already a top 30 player
Michael Pellissier: Fiction. He needs to be more consistent before I put him that high. I have no reason to believe that he can’t, but I’m trying to stay objective here, and I believe consistency is necessary. I fully expect him to be an All-Star as early as next year, and I cannot wait to see the things that he’s going to do for this franchise.
MM: Fiction, but only because he hasn’t gotten the minutes to impact the game the way that most Top-30 guys do. If he was playing 35+ minutes per night, I would say yes, but he’s not.
JG: Fact. If he gets 35-minutes a night, as Michael said, he would be. Well I don’t see it that way. A player and his production shouldn’t be drastically determined by the amount of minutes he plays. He’s the best player on this team and will be for a long time.
JM: Fiction. Right now he’s not getting enough minutes. While he’s a special talent on defense, and he’s made leaps and bounds with his play as the season’s gone on, he still struggles with help defense and his rotations at time. He’ll get there soon, potentially next season, but he’s not there yet.
Joe: Fact. His PER is top 30, his defense has been above average, and he’s already proving to be someone the Hornets can count on. It’s truly amazing to see a barely 20 year old big man performing so well in his rookie year.
3. Fact or Fiction: Anthony Davis should win Rookie of the Year
Michael Pellissier: If the minutes per game playing field was even, then yes, but that’s not the case. Lillard has been logging heavy minutes all season, which inflates his stats, but it is also a testament to his conditioning and readiness. Davis is going to be the far superior player in the future, but Lillard has stepped up in a big way for Portland.
MM: Fiction. Again, he doesn’t get the minutes or the touches and Lillard will run away with this award just based on stats. But if the Rookie of the Year award went to the guy who will be the best player in this draft class, Davis would win it in a landslide.
JG: Fiction. Because this award is given to the rookie on the best team who produces the most. Because the Hornets stink Davis won’t get it. Should he? In some ways yes, but this award is a bit of a joke anyway.
JM: Probably. Though they play different positions their per 36 minute numbers stack up pretty well. Davis has made a much greater impact defensively, but ultimately this comes down to minutes and Davis hasn’t gotten enough.
Joe: Fact. Until recently I would have said fiction, but Davis has just played so well lately. It’s hard to ignore the points/assists from Lillard, but looking at the game as a whole, Davis has been the superior player. Given that he’s the number one pick, I tend to think he’ll squeak it out. Had Lillard delivered a playoff spot for Portland, I’d be singing a different tune.
4. The Jeff Bower era is now firmly in the past. How would you grade his time with the Hornets?
Michael Pellissier: C. Disclaimer: I really didn’t become a hardcore fan until Bower was well into his tenure here. I tend to give GMs with unhappy stars a little more slack. He made some desperate moves at the end, but I think that most average GMs would have done the same thing.
MM: B-minus. To me, you can only judge how a poker player performs with the cards he is given, and Bower was given a pretty crappy hand – being tied to Shinn and all. The mom and pop organization Shinn ran turned players off and Shinn’s pocketbook forced Bower to move Chandler a couple of years too early. If Bower was a GM for an owner who ran an organization the right way, I think he would do just fine.
JG: B. He made some bad choices like signing James Posey and not finding Tyson Chandler a backup, but he did do some nice things when given the freedom. He found Marcus Thornton, Darren Collison and Brandon Bass. The fact that he thought he could coach the team (to save money) is hilarious and just goes to show you how bad our situation was money wise.
JM: C+. If your last name is Shinn and you formerly owned a professional basketball team it’s probably an A since you had one special season and kept payroll somewhat low-ish. But as James pointed out he did find some talent in the draft.
Joe: C-plus. Look, the guy might have ruined our chances of keeping CP3, made more than a few moves that kept the team from truly competing, and was less than stellar as a head coach. That said, he gave me the best years of my life as a basketball fan, got the small town Hornets one victory away from the Western Conference Finals, and kept the team just competitive enough throughout his tenure that the NBA and Stern made the decision that the Hornets were viable in New Orleans.
5. Who will win the NCAA Tournament?
Michael Pellissier: I’ll go with Michigan. I believe in Trey Burke’s Wolverines
MM: I will take Syracuse because that zone is tough to deal with if you haven’t played it before. Syracuse was cruising through the regular season until they ran into Big East opponents who were familiar with the defense. But then came the Big East Tournament, and they cranked the defense up a notch. They won that tournament and have just been shutting everyone down in the NCAA Tournament. I think that continues next weekend.
JG: I have Louisville in my bracket winning (I had them winning over Georgetown, whoops). I think I’m going to still run with them. By the time of writing this they could be gone when they play Duke.
JM: Syracuse for the reasons Mike said. It also really helps to have an all-time great coach in Jim Boeheim
Joe: Wichita State. At least one alumni will retire after placing what his friends previously called “the dumbest best in history”.
The Bower love is April fools right? For all the good in his first years by 2007 it seemed clear that someone believed his own press clippings and by the time he had installed himself as coach...? No grading on a curve. C is average and in his final years he was not that.
Interesting article, I felt there was a little too much love for Jeff but I think Joe made some great points (one win away from the Western Conference finals...etc.
Did you guys add Michael Pellissier to the writing staff officially? If so, you are lucky to have him.