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Hornets Beat: Eric Gordon, the Rest of the Season, and Dream Rosters
This week on Hornets Beat we take a look at the rest of the schedule, continue thinking about Eric Gordon, and construct a dream roster.
1. Which of the remaining games are you most excited about?
Michael McNamara: Tuesday night at the Lakers. We all know that I am not exactly rooting for wins, but I would love to take down the Lakers and cost them a playoff birth.
Michael Pellissier: Clippers. Gordon plays really hard against them, and any game versus CP3 raises the stakes. It would also be an ideal time to kidnap Eric Bledsoe and make him a Hornet. Is that frowned upon?
Andrew Smith: Clippers. It’s always fun when CP3 and the Clippers come to town. I love playing them here because I always get flashbacks of the intensity of the crowed the first time they came down after the CP3 trade, Jason Smith’s block on DeAndre Jordan (even if it might have been a goaltend), Jason Smith decking Blake Griffin, and the fact that we won. Since that trade and that game the Clippers are always circled on my calendar.
Mason Ginsberg: The home finale against the Mavericks on Sunday, the last time we’ll ever see our New Orleans NBA team wearing their home Hornets jerseys. It should be a fun game to attend, and it will be interesting to see what extremes the team goes to in order to get rid of all of the Hornets memorabilia and apparel.
Joe Gerrity: I’m thrilled we’re getting one more crack at the Lakers. The implosion of last time still makes me feel a bit ill, and as Mike mentioned, a win might be just what it takes to knock them out of the playoffs. That would truly be a pleasure.
2. Are there any that you are dreading?
MM: April 17th at Dallas, only because it will be the last one. I have really enjoyed watching the Hornets this year, mostly because of Anthony Davis, but after that game we will not have another for more than six months.
MP: Not particularly. Every game brings chances for players to show improvement or things we haven’t seen yet.
AS: Not really. I’m actually really excited for this off season and what Dealer Dell has in store for us, the Lottery, and the Draft.
MG: Wednesday night in Sacramento against the Kings. Out of the Hornets’ five remaining games, this one is by far the most important one, but for all the wrong reasons. Both teams are tied for the NBA’s sixth worst record at 27-50, and the Kings’ final four games after this one are brutal – at San Antonio, at Houston, at Oklahoma City, and then home versus the Clippers. If the Hornets win this game, they will likely lock themselves into no better than the seventh best lottery odds.
Joe: The Kings game. It might be the last time Hornets fans watch an NBA game played in Sacramento…
3. What should the Hornets do with Eric Gordon the rest of the season?
MM: I would limit him to 20-25 minutes a game, but put him in a position to succeed when he is out there. Try to boost his per minutes stats while limiting the injury risk. I would also talk him up heavily the rest of the year. Talk about how he is maturing and looking better every single day in practice. Make it look like I am not desperate to unload him this summer, so I can get the best deal possible, because the reality is that you can’t bring that virus back to this young team next season.
MP: Run a lot of offense through him and try to get him a 30+ scoring game that will stick in the minds of GMs. Boost his value as much as you can entering the summer. I think it is imperative that he’s gone before next season.
AS: I agree with Mike. Put him in positions where he can succeed. If he has an attack mentality he will have plenty of chances, seeing as 4 of the 5 teams we face are in the bottom 10 for defense 3-9 feet from the rim. Plus when Gordon attacks, good things usually happen.
MG: Limit his minutes in the first half, and don’t play through him in crunch time in the second half. Make sure he’s as fresh as possible for the fourth quarter, but almost every time the Hornets try to run their offense through late-game Gordon isolations, the end result is not pretty (unless you’re on board the tank). Let him be your primary playmaker and run plays designed for him, but don’t just give him the ball on the perimeter and let him go and-one style on offense.
Joe: Feed the man. I’d let him jack up 25 shots a game if that’s what it takes to get to 30 a few times. A few good games could be enough for someone to actually offer something of value this summer.
4. Fact or Fiction: You would give Eric Gordon and his contract away for a half-eaten bag of Spicy Cajun Crawtator Zapp’s
MM: I would want a little more than that, but not much. I would go back to Phoenix and take Jared Dudley and one of those future Laker picks. I would take Derrick Williams from Minnesota, Brandon Knight from Detroit; stuff like that. I’m not being greedy, just a young guy who can be a rotation player and I’ll gladly part with Gordon. But if push comes to shove and I can’t get anything of quality, I might still just dump him to get him away from our impressionable young team.
MP: Depends on who ate the other half. At this point, I just think it’s time to move on. I don’t actually hate Gordon, and I wish him the best wherever he ends up. I’m fine with whatever we receive to get him out of here, as long as we aren’t giving up any assets or valuable cap space to do it.
AS: Yes. I’m sick of the drama of not having Gordon 80% of the season and I’m not convinced that he’s going have a healthy season for the remainder of his contract. I’m tired of his constant excuses, and now he’s possibly involved in locker room conflicts. Meanwhile a half-eaten bag of Cajun Crawtators have no downside other than it’s not completely full.
MG: I’ve been among the most patient of the writers on this site when it comes to Gordon, willing to give him a pass this season from a performance perspective as long as there are no other distractions. After the altercation in the third quarter of Friday night’s game in Utah, there is just too much weighing against him for me to keep cutting him slack. I wouldn’t trade him for just an expiring contract, but it wouldn’t take too much more to do it. I don’t love Klay Thompson nearly as much as others appear to, but he would probably be enough for me at this point.
Joe: Yeah. I’d prefer to get something of value, but if that’s not going to happen I’d take the chips.
5. Given the entire NBA as your talent pool, what’s your dream starting five? — @Hornetsdiehard
MM: Fun question. First things first, I gotta have LeBron on my team. Now that I have him, I need two dead-eye shooters. Give me Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. This might sound weird, but I want an elite rebounder and low post defender who doesn’t need the ball offensively to be happy, so give me Omer Asik. For the final spot, I will take Dwyane Wade, but it was very close between him and Paul George because of George’s length and ability to guard positions 1-4. Curry, Wade, Durant, LeBron, and Asik give me every element I need both offensively and defensively without being too talented, where they would step on each other’s toes.
MP: I love offenses who can spread the floor and quick defenses who can pressure, get into passing lanes, and recover. LeBron (PF) and Durant (SF) are easy picks. Next is a dirty work guy for center. I thought about Asik, but I would rather go with Chandler, as he is a super-efficient big in the pick and roll. Asik turns the ball over too often for my taste, and Dwight Howard is too much of a distraction. The last two spots are tough. Curry is the best shooter I’ve ever seen, and I can’t pass that up, even though I could find far better defenders. To help cover for Curry, I’ll take Paul George and play him at SG. That gives me 3 phenomenal athletes (James/George/Durant) to defend on the wing. And give me Robert Sacre on the bench to do whatever it is he’s doing here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxVuySQT-eY)
AS: I want the best guys on the board at every position so for me it’s Chris Paul, best point guard in the game hands down, Durant, a freak of nature scorer with incredible handles for his length, Lebron (do I even have to explain why?). My center is Tim “Fine Wine” Duncan, 3rd in the league in blocks and still as difficult to guard as he’s ever been. My shooting guard situation is a bit more complicted. Do I want another great defender to pair up with Chris or a scorer? I’m going to go with James Harden, who gives me another scoring option with deep range and guy that’s top 10 in steals in the league. Final lineup: Paul-Harden-Durant-James-Duncan
MG: Love this question. Durant and LeBron are automatic choices at the 3 and 4. At center, Al Horford’s knack for turning a rebound into transition points was intriguing, as was Chandler’s paint protection, but give me Joakim Noah as the best all-around fit. He is a great rebounder, defender, and passer; the Bulls have given up nearly 7 points per 100 possessions less with him on the court this season, and he has the best assist ratio of any center in the league. He also won’t hurt you at the free throw line (75% this season) and doesn’t need to score to be happy. At the 2, I’ll take Andre Iguodala’s elite perimeter defense, great passing, and overall ability in transition. Since every player in this lineup is a skilled passer, an elite distributor at point guard won’t be as essential as someone who can spread the floor, so give me Stephen Curry here. On defense, Steph can be hidden on the weaker of the opponents’ two guards thanks to being paired with Iggy. Curry-Iguodala-Durant-James-Noah. Championship.
Joe: I don’t think there’s any real need to get fancy here– Paul’s still the best PG and capable of essentially being a one-man back court., Durant and LeBron are my wings, giving me a size and skill advantage on both ends of the floor, and up top I’m looking at Tim Duncan and… and… Dwight Howard. The last guy on that list might be my undoing, and it might make more sense to throw in Tyson Chandler, but I need to see what CP3 and Dwight can do in a season of work. YouTube might explode. Does a Duncan-Howard front court work? It does if the other three guys are arguably the best three players in the league, all capable of spotting up or exploding to the rim from anywhere on the floor.
I want to see Gordon as a Pelican in 2013/14.. why waste the few years of waiting for him to get healthy and than dump in the second he finally gets healthy. The Guy can play, He can drive, and he cant miss from the line. We should be very very very thankful Gordon has been injured. If he was healthy all last season, we wouldnt have Davis. If he was fully healthy this year, We may not have a shot at getting Smart or company. This has been a god-bless in disguise, Next season, if Gordon can have a good off-season. We enter 2013/2014 season with a starting lineup of Lopez, Davis, Anderson, Gordon, Vasquez/Smart I take the famous words from Matt Damon “how do you like them apples”
I think he is the best center in the league, but if Lebron is creating the offense, Gasol's unique skill is not really needed. But All-NBA 1st team at Center- I vote Gasol
I gave him a long look too, and while he is one of my favorite centers in the NBA, his rebounding numbers just weren't quite strong enough for me to include him on this team. Zach Randolph could be part of the reason for his lackluster rebound rate, but either way, I trust Noah more on the glass.