Sources: Third Time is a Charm

Published: December 29, 2011

Allow me to be the first one to admit that I drastically underestimated our* ability to win games this year when making my predictions about how we would fare. Originally asked nearly everyone in their arsenal to predict win total for every team in the league. At the time, I was under the impression that Monty would struggle to get everyone on the same page fast enough to get out of the first month of the season alive, which would result in a fire sale as the playoffs fell out of the window of possibility.

Needless to actually say (I will anyway), I chose a low number. I thought we had the potential to be a train wreck on offense for long stretches. In the Hornets247 season preview I had slightly higher hopes for wins (between 25 and 30), but still I was weary, no longer expecting a huge departure of talent around mid-season, but still very skeptical of the playoff possibility some fans had entertained.

For the most part I had witnessed a training camp that involved Monty telling reporters that he was looking at plans F or G, and then later that he was actually in a pre-planning stage. It wasn’t even clear if the Hornets would realistically have a full roster until the eve of their first preseason game.

Greivis Vasquez wasn’t a name I was more than vaguely familiar with until a handful of days ago, and certainly not someone who I thought would replace Quincy Pondexter as my favorite player to watch from the 2010 draft after two games of observing him. My money says that he’s going to be a lot better than the average basketball fan gives him credit for, both this year and into the future.

Chris Kaman is guy that can be worth eight wins this year who I credited for about three. As I said in the recap of the Boston game, he’s the most complete player on the court right now for the Hornets. I overlooked his multi-dimensional offensive game. His defense is much better than I thought it would be, especially when paired with Emeka Okafor. Those two are going to be downright tough to score on most nights. Frankly I blame his being on the Clippers. I just associate them with bad players at this point.

We can talk about Eric Gordon a bunch since he was by far the most discussed player in the Clippers deal, but I’d rather just look at a few choice numbers—

38.4 and 55.6. The first is how many points per 48 minutes of clutch time he scored last year. The latter is his shooting percentage on said shots. The key to beating expectations is winning close games, and I truly wasn’t aware that he we were replacing our ex-clutch stud with a new one. Let’s just say the Phoenix game opened my eyes a bit in that regard.

Anyway, let me get to my point—I want to revise my prediction for wins this year one last time. I know this stinks and that it’s total BS, but cmon! If there was ever a time to allow early in-season changes to win predictions, this is probably the year.

Let me back on the train, baby!

39 wins. 27 losses.


*You or someone you love may have noticed that I often refer to the team in the possessive sense, using words like “we” and “our”. When I first started writing it was sort of unintentional, a mixture of an unrefined style and careless editing. It’s not anymore. It hasn’t been for a while.

In the past 18-plus months, ever since Chouest reportedly finalized a deal to buy the team and then never did, things have been tough down here. Hornets’ fans have constantly dealt with not having a clear owner, which was perfectly illustrated during the failed Lakers deal, or a defined future (Heeeeeeere owner, owner owner….)

We have been left knowing only one real thing—Ensure that lots of tickets get sold or there’s a good chance the team will be gone. The Hornets fate was and is ultimately left in the hands of those like you (I’m looking at Hornets employees, season ticket holders, other media people, occasional attendees, international superfans, the Bee-Zanies, etc) and me.

So please excuse me for thinking of the Hornets as our team. It’s not a habit I plan on breaking.


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