What We Need for the Playoffs

Published: March 20, 2011

   As 100% of the Hornets community should know, the NBA playoffs are nearing. This playoff run means more for this franchise than any other franchise in the NBA. These series of games will determine the future of the Hornets, and will inevitably lead to further success in the near future, or doom of the entire orginization, possibly in a worst case scenario, relocation of the team.

   Assuming that we DO make the playoffs, there are keys to our playoff run:

   Christopher Paul play likes CP3- I have no doubt that we will see the best of Chris Paul in these playoff games. He’ll have days of rest in between games which is vital for him as you can see from these stats: GP 7 | MIN 37.2 | FGM-FGA 8.0-14.6 |FG% .548| 3PM-3PA 0.6-2.2| 3P% .273| FTM-FTA 5.4-6.4| FT% .844| OR 0.4| DR 5.2| REB 5.6| AST 10.8| STL 3.4| PF 1.0| TO 2.2| PTS 22.0| Note: On 2 days rest he averages 11.7 assists.

   Compare that with his season averages and there’s a few things below average (FT%, 3P%, and OR). With fresh legs CP3 is nearly unstoppable.

   Jarrett Jack is consistantly solid- This guy may be the most controversial figure on the team after Coach. He’s shown flashes of being among the top backup point guards in the league, and he also shows flashes of being total garbage. Something interesting though, Jack plays much better on the road than at home. He averages 1.7 more points, he shoots .917% from the line (compared to .756% at home), and .333% from 3 away compared to an upsetting .156% at home. Now, we’ll never have home-court advantage, so obviously we’re going to have to be strong on the road. Hopefully Jack can give us the push we need to win a few.

   Big Belly and Willie chip in- Belly has actually looked like a viable starter this month averaging 13.2 points and shooting 49% from the field. Not only that, but his defense has been impressive. It will be big if he can continue to play at such a high level.

   Willie, on the other hand, has been very inconsistant. This month he has only shot .389% from the field, whereas last month he shot .489%. In the playoffs, we’ll need him to give us good shooting and solid defense on people like Jason Terry to give us more solid bench play alongside Jarrett Jack.

   Ariza Plays his Role: Defensive Stopper- I think most of us know the story to this one. Trevor Ariza does not pose much of a threat on offense. It’s his defense that the Hornets will really need, and some offense would be nice too. Trevor has to stay motivated to shut down guys like Durant and Kobe in the playoffs. That’s going to be huge. Hopefully he’ll chip in a little on offense and limit key players to help us get some W’s.

   Mr. West Plays Motivated- Unfortunaetly, David West’s chance to go to another team is looming. Hopefully, that won’t distract him from his scoring duties this postseason. I’m praying that he won’t pull a Lebron and quit if we fall 2-0 in a series. Other than that, I have no worries of West playing any less than what he has played: strong, consistant, and intimidating.

   Get Carl landry involved in the second team offense- When we played the Celtics this weekend, I kept looking for Landry. He was almost invisible to me, and it wasn’t his fault. We weren’t getting him the touches he needs or deserves. When he did get it he was effective. In the playoffs we’re going to need a big lift from him off the bench, and I fully believe he can give us good performances if we get him the ball enough. I mean, he’s really a scoring machine in the low post. Isn’t that what we wanted from our bench, scoring? Why aren’t we using his talent?

   Okafor clogs the paint- It is essential that Mek stops penetration and alters shots, and, honestly, do you think he’ll give us anything short of that? He’s done it all season, he’ll just have to continue his solid job of controlling the paint. Especially if we have to face the Lakers bigs (gulp).

-Now, certainly there are other factors that come in to play to make a run, but if these player and others (Gray, Smith, Pondy) can do these things, then the Hornets future looks bright. If they don’t… Well, that probably deserves another article.



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