Building a Contender: PART 3 “Ranking the Hornets Potential Targets”

Published: December 5, 2010


I welcome you all, Hornet fans, to a new edition of “Building a Contender”. I am your fellow blogger, AgentZiko, the annoying kid who’s been spending WAY too much time in and leaving tons of annoying comments on blogs for you all to read. =)


Before I start, I would like to say that I already terribly miss Peja, and can’t stand seeing him in a Raptor uniform. The guy was an absolute class act, and I seriously miss seeing CP drive and kick to Peja in the corner so he can catapult his shot that nearly burns through the net, and watch the little Peja heads run across the bottom of my screen. Ah… I really hope the Raptors buy out his contract and he comes back…


Anyway, there is one thing I want you all to keep in mind now that you’re reading. December 15th is the first day that teams will be allowed to trade players that they recently signed to contracts in the offseason. Meaning that players that we signed can be traded after that point, and players other teams signed can then be attained at that point. In this article, I will step away from my prior style of bringing you potential trade scenarios to improve the roster, and instead will rank and analyze the potential trade targets that we have been hearing so much about since the season started.


It’s been no secret to any NBA fan that New Orleans Hornets General Manager, Dell Demps, has been avidly looking to improve the roster of the team he was chosen to restructure. Demps came into his job with a plan, and has made multiple moves now to help strengthen the roster, bringing in new starters such as the athletic and defensive minded Trevor Ariza, a young and energetic Marco Bellineli, who has become the teams new ace beyond the arc, and key defensive rotation players in Willie Green, Jason Smith, and Jarrett Jack.


This new Hornet roster has serious playoff contender written all over it, and has backed it up with a very surprising 13 and 6 start through their first 19 games. But there is a BIG difference between a “Playoff Contender”, and a “Championship Contender” in the NBA, and though the Hornets have some very nice pieces in place, they are still sorely lacking in a few other areas that seriously need to be addressed if they were to make a serious run at a title this season.


Since we have acquired Jarrett Jack to shore up our back up PG position, we definitely don’t need to look for anymore PG help. Instead, I’m going to focus my attention to finding 2 types of players who will best suit the needs of this squad.




We DESPERATELY need another big. Someone who can play PF or C. Someone who is athletic and defensive minding, and someone who can physically body up with other physical post players in the league. Preferably, someone who is long would be a great find. But we will settle for anyone who will earn more play time than Aaron Gray or DJ MBenga.




We need another wing player. A player who can play G/F the way Trevor can. Someone with good size and length, so nothing under 6’6. Preferably someone who can shoot threes at a decent percentage, but who also has the ability to create his own shot. And they MUST be able to play defense. The last thing we need is another guy who can score the way Marcus Thornton can, and who won’t see any time on the floor because they don’t slide their feet enough on defense.



So… Considering these needs for our squads, I analyzed as many scenarios as I could in regards to teams looking, or who COULD be looking or interested in making a move with the Hornets. And that’s another key thing to consider, and that I analyzed. There ARE teams who probably wont be interested in making deals with the Hornets because A. they are in the same conference and B. they don’t want the Hornets to do well because they want Chris Paul to leave and play for them.


For each need, I have chosen 10 possible players that the Hornets could target, how they would help the team, how they would hurt the team, and why and why not the opposing team might trade the player.







10. DESEGANA DIOP, Charlotte Bobcats


I know this isn’t the sexiest way to start. But something needs to be understood here. If the Hornets tried hard to land Stephen Jackson, Charlotte will PROBABLY try to force the Hornets into taking 1 more bad contract if they are going to take their best player. Diop is honestly terrible. He’s got a great NBA body at 7’2, 275. But is just clueless in how to use it. He is basically a more boring version of Mbenga. But in reality… We MIGHT have to bite the bullet on him if we really wanted Captain Jack.


Diops Skills: Blocking Shots. Using 6 fouls as quickly as possible.


Reason Charlotte does it: To get rid of his contract


Reason they don’t: We aren’t desperate.



9. BRANDON WRIGHT, Golden State Warriors


Can he play both PF and C? Nope. Is he physical? Nope. Is he athletic? Yes. Can He block shots? Yes. 50% ain’t bad, right? No one will doubt that Brandon Wright is talented. The kid has great skills that could greatly be enhanced when playing with a guy like Paul. His problem is that he has other people ahead of him in the rotation right now, and he has trouble staying healthy due to his wirey frame. But the thing about him is that the Warriors have openly made him available, and have recently put a new commitment on 4 players they want to build around (Curry, Ellis, Lee, and Beindrins). So our dreams of landing Beindrins now seem squashed.


Wrights Skills: Long. Athletic. Runs the floor. Blocks shots. Rebounds.


Reason Warriors do it: They’re looking to trade him.


Reason they don’t: Someone else gets him before we do.



8. RYAN HOLLINS, Cleveland Cavaliers


Am I driving you all mad yet? I’m giving you a list of top 10 targets for the Hornets, and I start off with Diop, Wright, and Hollins? You must all think I’m crazy, I know. But I was hoping that you might all see a little bit of a trend. We probably won’t be getting anyone like Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum. And even a guy like Anderson Verajao is an untouchable because he is a fan favorite. The only way we could get a guy like Verajao is if we sent Okafor in return. And as much as I like Andy, I don’t know if I’d do that. Ryan Hollins is a poor mans version of Tyson Chandler. He tries to intimidate the opponent the same way Tyson does. He’s long and athletic. And he actually thrives off of lob dunks, something we all know CP loves throwing.


Hollins Skills: Runs the floor. Blocks shots. Rebounds. TRIES to intimidate opponents. THRIVES off of lob passes.


Reason Cavs do it: What do they have to lose?


Reason they don’t: We don’t make any offers.



7. NAZR MOHAMMAD, Charlotte Bobcats


In a deal where we land Captain Jack, Nazr would be part of the IDEAL package we’d all love to receive. Nazr is a polished veteran big man who plays extremely hard night in and night out, and who would very easily find comfort in playing with this team. He is very tough, and can be an actually threat in the paint. 


Nazr’s Skills: Tenacity. Toughness. Gritty hustle work.


Why Charlotte does it: They look to rebuild after seeing that their season is lost and they won’t make the playoffs.


Why they don’t do it: They don’t want to get stuck with Kwame Brown and Desegana Diop as their only centers.



6. SAMUAL DALEMBERT, Sacramento Kings


The Sacramento Kings had been pursuing Samuel Dalembert for a few years before they finally got him, only to realize that he wasn’t the piece they thought he’d be for their squad. Dalembert is a solid defensive minded Center, but he by no means is a top… Well, he isn’t that good, lets just say. But the guy makes 11 mil a year, and the Kings are HEAVILY loaded upfront. And Okafor and Dalembert would actually be a pretty solid Defensive minded combo at Center for any team.


Dalemberts Skills: Blocking Shots. Rebounding


Why Sacramento Does it: Clear cap space.


Why they don’t: They choose to move one of their other bigs.



5. MARREESE SPEIGHTS, Philadelphia 76ers


Does ANYONE even remember this guy? When he first came into the NBA, people were RAVING about him being the next Amare Stoudamire! What happened? After playing with “shoot first” minded PG’s like Allen Iverson, Lou Williams, and Jrue Holiday for so long, Speights has seen his numbers and PT drop like a dying a fly. But don’t be fooled. The guy can play. And if he were to find his way to a roster like New Orleans, and next to a guy like CP… WATCH OUT. He could have an EXPLOSIVE impact on the team. And since we’ve seen that NOH and Philly aren’t scared to work with each other…. Maybe, just maybe we can convince them to give us Marreese too!


Speights Skills: Uber athletic F/C who LOVES to play physical and mix it up inside.


Reason Philly does it: We give them Marcus Thornton and expiring contracts, and take another of their contracts, like Kapono’s.


Reason they don’t: They find SOMEONE to finally take Brands ridiculous contract and retool the roster.




4. CARL LANDRY, Sacramento Kings


Landry was part of a HUGE trade for the Kings last season when they shipped Kevin Martin to Houston. Houston was so terribly sad to trade him, that they are now looking to trade back for him. The Kings were hoping Landry would turn into an All Star starting PF for them. But Landry seems to be more suited as a back up, and has struggled to fit into Paul Westphal’s supposed “system”.


Landry’s Skills: Rebounding. Scoring around the basket. GREAT footwork. Landry would bring a new dimension to CP’s game because he is so good in the Pick and Roll.


Why Kings do it: They decide to keep Dalembert and Thompson.


Why they don’t: They decide to trade either Dalembert or Thompson.


3. CHRIS ANDERSON, Denver Nuggets


Chris Anderson would be a great pick up for the Hornets if they were able to land him. The guy plays his butt off on defense, is just as, if not more athletic than Tyson Chandler was, he runs the floor, he rebounds, and he blocks shots. He would probably be the closest thing we could find to emulating what CP and Tyson had.


Birdmans Skills: Blocking Shots. Rebounding. Running the floor. Alley oops.


Why Denver does it: They already traded Anthony and are looking to get rid of his contract.


Why they don’t: They keep Anthony and try to make one last title run.


2. JASON THOMPSON, Sacramento Kings


The third King on the list. I’ve seen some mixed reviews on Thompson, but all I need to do is watch him have one GOOD game to know how he can help our team. Thompson is VERY skilled for a big man. I’ve seen him not only play the 4 and 5, but the 3 as well. And he played all of those positions with a multitude of skill. He has polished post moves inside, can hit a jumper, and plays very hard. His problem? His PG’s are shoot first guys, Tyreke Evans and Beno Udrih. Next to Paul, I honestly think Thompson would push Okafor to the bench after 10-15 games.


Thompsons skills: Do it all big YOUNG man.


Why Sac does it: They’re stupid.


Why they don’t: They’re smarter than they look.


1. RONNY TURIAF, New York Knicks


Ah… Ronny. Being a Laker fan as well, I have a VERY special place in my heart for Ronny. Talk about a fan favorite. Ronny is one of the most energetic players in the league. He brings so much energy, passion, and life to the game. Which is why I think he’d fit in so great with our team. He fits everything we’re looking for almost perfectly.


Ronny’s skills: Blocking shots. Rebounding. Hustling. Pumping up the crowd. Pumping up his teammates.


Why New York Does it: We give them Marcus Thornton


Why they don’t: They don’t want to help us because they want CP for








10. RASUAL BUTLER, Los Angeles Clippers


Remember our old buddy Rasual? He’s not finding very much time on the court out in La La land anymore, and I’m sure he’d welcome a trade back to the Hornets with the biggest smile we’ve ever seen so he can be reunited with one of his best friends, CP. Plus, Rasual is actually a solid 3 point shooter, and a tough defender, and would be a solid back up 3 to Ariza.


Rasuals skills: 3 point shooting. Defense.


9. ANDRES NOCIONI, Philadelphia 76ers

Nocioni is a very tough player with great size as a small forward, who can even play some PF if necessary. He’s got GREAT basketball IQ, is a great shooter, and a hard nosed defender. He’d fit very well into Monty’s system.


Nocioni’s skills: High IQ. 3 point shooting. Rebounding. Defense.


Why Philly does it: To land Marcus Thornton.


Why they don’t: They’d rather trade Kapono.



5. RICHARD HAMILTON, Detroit Pistons


I know many of you think he’s old and washed up, but I think Rip has had it up to his neck with Detroit and really just wants out of there. Yes, he has a bad contract, and he’s turning 33 this year, but the guy is still a great defender, and scorer, and would probably be revitalized playing alongside CP3. His leadership and defense could be something critical in the playoffs.


Rips Skills: Mid Range jumpers. Running the floor. Playing defense.


Why Detroit does it: They’d trade him in a heartbeat to get rid of his contract.


Why they don’t: We don’t offer.





I have my own nickname for Mr. Williams. “Bulldog”. This guys an absolute beast. He has GREAT size, and a Ron Artest brute type of a build. He’s EXTREMELY skilled at getting to the basket. His problem is he doesn’t play with a full deck of cards, and the Nets have even sent him to the D League because of his attitude.


             Bulldogs Skills: Attacking the basket. Scoring. Defending. Rebounding.


            Reason Nets do it: To get rid of him


            Reason they don’t: They need him to land Melo.



6. FRANCISCO GARCIA, Sacramento Kings


I’m not a fan of Paul Westphal. I think the guy is ruining what could be a playoff team in Sacramento. It makes no sense to me why Garcia doesn’t play more when he produces so much on both ends of the floor when he gets PT. Why not send him somewhere he’d be appreciated?


Garcia’s Skills: 3 point shooting. Defense.


Why Sac Does it: They’re stupid.


Why they don’t. They’re smarter than they look.



5. WILSON CHANDLER, New York Knicks


At 6’10, 235, Wilson Chandler has great NBA size. He’s bigger than most PF’s, but has the skills to play 2-4. Chandler would be an AMAZING edition to our squad, and would be great as a starter, or off the bench. He reminds me of a young Lamar Odom, who as he gets older will probably turn into a 4 man due to his size, but in his youth, he’ll cause all kinds of match up problems for 2’s and 3’s.


Chandler’s skills: Rebounding. Defense. Attacking the basket. Creating.

Why NY Does it: To find a better SG (Thornton)


Why they don’t: Those bastards really think they’re gonna take CP from us.



4. OJ MAYO, Memphis Grizzlies


I have to say first and foremost, I am not a fan of Mayo’s personality. But as long as we don’t trade Belinelli for him, I think he’d be a GREAT addition to the team as either a starter, or a reserve. OJ has little problem creating his own shot, and though he is a little under sized at 6’5, he is a very tough and physical defender who could thrive next to Paul.


OJ’s Skills: Creating his own shot. Defense.


Reason Memphis does it: To get rid of him


Reason they don’t: Why help a conference rival?


3. HEDO TURKUGLU, Phoenix Suns


I think some of you would be shocked that I have Hedo so high on this list, but I think he’d be an AMAZING player for us to acquire. Hedo is one of the smartest players in the game. He is an EXCELLENT passer, and creator, with AWESOME size at 6’10, who can play the 2-4. He’d also fit seamlessly in our starting unit and would greatly help Emeka Okafor by giving him another passer to find him inside. He’s a tough defender, and a tough match up for the opposition, and his 3 point shooting is nearly as good as Peja’s. He would take a great deal of pressure off of CP with his creating. And he has a contract that is easily attainable. Adding Hedo would make us a serious title contender this season.


Hedo’s skills: EXTREMELY HIGH IQ. GREAT 3 point shooter. Solid defender. Great team player. Great Passer. Great shot creator.


Why Pheonix does it: They realize Hedo can’t help them and they desperately search to rebuild post Steve Nash and Amare.


Why they don’t: They get a better offer.



2. ANDRE IGUODALA, Philadelphia 76ers


Iggy doesn’t have the shooting capabilities that we might want… but MAN would he and Trevor make an amazing defensive duo. Iggy is also an underrated passer, who averages over 5 assists for his career, and is also a very good rebounder. Adding Iggy would make us a serious title contender this year and down the line.


Iggy’s skills: DEFENSE. Rebounding. Creating shots. Attacking the basket.


Why Philly does it: To get rid of his contract.


Why they don’t: They try to build around him.



1. STEPHEN JACKSON, Charlotte Bobcats


For awhile, it was honestly hard for me to put Captain Jack ahead of Iggy. But the more I watch our squad post Peja, the more I get worried that things will get harder for us in the future without having more shooters to spread the floor for CP to attack, and for Emeka to finish his lay ins. Come playoff time, this will become even tougher. And Captain Jack is a guy who plays with a lot of confidence. He is 3rd in three pointers made this season, and shooters 42%. He is also a very tough guy who plays great defense, and has the skills to play 1-3 if necessary. He would fit right into our starting lineup and would slide Bellineli to back up SF. He is turning 32 this year, but with the type of game he has, there wouldn’t be as much worry about him breaking down the way Rip is. If we were to land Captain Jack, and add 1 more big, he could be the difference in getting by the Jazz, Mavs, Spurs, and Lakers in the playoffs this year.


Captain Jack’s skills: 3 point specialist. Creator. Defender. Getting under opponents skins.


Why Charlotte does it: They realize their seasons over and they want to rebuild with Augustine, Wallace, and Tyrus Thomas and think Marcus Thornton could be a great addition.


Why they don’t: NOH don’t take back any other contracts.



Hope you enjoyed this edition of “Building a Contender” Hornet fans. I apologize for the length. =) Til next time, this is your fellow blogger, Agent Ziko, signing OUT!!!


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