You can't base the Pelicans stance on him with two decent games of evidence. The game before the Laker/Suns he went 0-5 in 17 minutes. The game before that in which he received double digit minutes he went 1-4 (11 minutes). In march, he averaged 2.8 points on 41% shooting in 10.8 minutes per game (9 games). I've rooted so hard for Xavier. I really have. But when your 6 point, 4 rebound effort in 29 minutes against a bad defensive Lakers team is a case for you to make a roster, you probably don't deserve it. A team is better off giving the minimum to a veteran.
Kobe, Lakers Too Much For Hornets in the 4th Quarter
There’s going to be outcry over the officiating in the Hornets 104-96 loss to the Lakers. I’m not going to talk specifically on that tonight as, frankly, it doesn’t interest me much but I do want to say this: Officiating is, at times, bad in every sport at every level. If calls aren’t going your way you have to adjust; you can’t let it phase you. And the Hornets didn’t tonight. They tried to point out calls they felt were missed, and that’s fine because they still played hard and didn’t use it as an excuse. It would be easy for a young team to get discouraged and roll over. Instead the Hornets focused on what they could control and did their best to try and knock the Lakers out of the playoffs.
Aside from the officiating, there are a lot of Ifs which can drive you crazy from this game. IF the Hornets shot better, there were a number of wide open looks missed and on the night the team shot 44% overall and 25% from 3, they could have won. IF the Hornets could have stopped Kobe in the 4th (23 points), and Xavier Henry certainly tried, they could have won. IF the Hornets don’t have 5 of their 15 turnovers in the final 6 minutes…
Ultimately the young team lost to one fighting for their playoff lives. But big picture you have to be please with what you saw tonight.
-A big change in momentum came when the Lakers switched Earl Clark onto Vasquez. Clark’s height neutralized Vasquez’ main advantage and threw the Hornets offense out of sync.
-I doubt I need to say this but Anthony Davis is going to be so good. His battle with Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard tonight was fantastic to watch. He had moments where he was bullied on the block but he never backed off and kept playing aggressive.
-I’m done with Lopez. Davis grabbed a team high 14 rebounds…and no one else had more than 4. Seriously. If you’re a starting center you need to do better than that. No excuses. Lopez also continually struggles on the pick and roll. In the Lakers comeback a month ago they ran pick and roll after pick and roll at Lopez. Tonight they targeted him as well and it looked like he’s done nothing to improve his defense.
-On the flip side, I really hope Dell Demps resigns Lou Amundson. His rotations are on time, he takes charges and grabs rebounds. I wouldn’t spend a ton of money on him, but he could be a vital cog in the defense of the second unit.
-Henry was given the tough task of being the Kobe-stopper tonight. He got a decent run and was as tenacious as you could ask for, but when Kobe is doing work in the 4th almost no one is going to stop him. Still not enough for Henry to wear a Pelicans uniform next year.
-When Eric Gordon drove to the rim the Hornets defense had no idea what to do. It’s a combination of the Lakers slow, poor defense and the fact that Gordon is just plain good at attacking. While driving it set up his teammates for easy looks and early on he tried to get them the ball. Most importantly it gave him 11 foul shots of which he made 10. That is such a huge boost to the team.
-And because Geddy Lee was at the game…
In 29 minutes, Henry was +7 while guarding Kobe(!), efficient offensively in scoring 6 points on 4 shots, and had 4 rebounds from the guard position. In the road win over Phoenix, he scored 8 points on 6 shots and grabbed 6 rebounds in 18 minutes. His contribution was significant in both our last win (first road win in ages) and our close loss last night. He clearly added value in those games and I would not be surprised to see him back with the Pelicans for Lance Thomas type numbers. He is still an athletic slasher who has upside through greater shooting range.
I hope we can keep him for a very cheap deal as the 3rd string SF/SG. He's got an athletic build, he hustles, he draws fouls and he has been hitting the corner 3 well this year. There's no reason to bring in another Mason type guy for the same money when Henry brings more energy, athleticism and youth. I doubt he'll ever be a significant contributor but we won't be contending for a championship next year, so there's little risk bringing him back if there are no other appealing prospects in his price range.