New Orleans Hornets 2011-12 Power Rankings, V.3

Published: January 22, 2012

The third edition of the 2011-12 season’s New Orleans Hornets individual player power rankings.

Jack tops this week's power rankings for a second week in a row.

It’s time for the third edition of the weekly Hornets player power rankings. After a particularly uninspiring week that saw the team go 0-4, with three of those losses coming at home, there are no drastic changes from top to bottom. That being said, there has been some movement, as a couple players have made some positive strides since last Sunday while others have struggled to help the team in any way (looking at you, Marco) apart from helping the team land a better draft pick. Check out the results below, and let us know if you would have ranked anyone differently!

1. Jarrett Jack, PG: 38.0 MPG, 16.0 PPG, 43.7 FG%, 7.3 APG, 4.2 RPG, 17.7 PER

Jack tops the rankings for a second week in a row not only for his play, but also for his leadership. Is he the floor general that Chris Paul was? Not even close. However, this team has needed someone to step up ever since the Gordon injury, and Jack has done his best to do just that. As you have probably noticed, the Hornets frequently struggle to score, which makes Jack’s contributions to the team even more important, even if he has a clanker every now and then. Through the first month of the season, no Hornets player has made a bigger contribution to the team than Jack, a claim that is backed up by his team-leading 1.4 win shares through the team’s first 16 games (despite missing the first one).

2. Emeka Okafor, C: 28.3 MPG, 9.0 PPG, 53.6 FG%, 8.8 RPG, 1.2 BPG, 16.1 PER

Minus the Wednesday game against Memphis in which he never really got into a rhythm, Okafor had one of the best weeks of any Hornets player this season. He averaged 10 points on 7.25 shots per game, making about 57% of them, to go along with 10.75 rebounds per game over the past four. He had arguably his best game of the season last night against Dallas, scoring 16 points and grabbing an impressive 17 rebounds, single-handedly keeping the Hornets within striking distance. As Joe mentioned in his Mavs recap last night, I don’t worry so much when Okafor looks to score the ball in the paint anymore, as he obviously took time over the extended offseason to improve his offensive game. Though Monty is doing his best to rotate five different capable big men into the lineup, it seems more and more unwise to for Mek’s minutes to be reduced in order to make this happen.

3. Carl Landry, PF: 24.4 MPG, 11.7 PPG, 45.0 FG%, 4.6 RPG, 16.9 PER

The player who has seen his minutes decrease the most as of late has definitely been Landry, averaging just under 17 minutes per game last week. He has struggled some, but I don’t really understand playing Carl for a total of 19 minutes over the first two games of the week; Landry is a guy who needs minutes to get into an offensive flow, and with that little playing time, he is much less likely to make a strong impact. He finally bounced back last night, scoring a team-high 19 points on 5-8 shooting thanks to making 9 of his 13 free throws. The real reason that Monty has likely been hesitant to give Landry big minutes recently, however, has to be due to his poor rebounding, which was magnified last night, getting just one more rebound than I did. Regardless, he is still an ideal pairing with Okafor since Mek can help cover for his rebounding deficiencies, and will continue to be relied on to put up points for this lackluster Hornets offense.

4. Gustavo Ayon, C: 9.1 MPG, 3.2 PPG, 68.4 FG%, 2.4 RPG, 21.3 PER

After starting off the week right where he left off with a 8-5-2-2-2 stat line in 20 minutes of action, Ayon received just 19 minutes over the next 3 games combined. As mentioned above in regards to Okafor and Landry, minutes for the Hornets’ big men are tough to distribute, but Ayon has earned more of an opportunity to prove himself than those minutes indicate. On a per-36 minute basis, he is second on the team in  blocks, third in rebounds, fourth in assists and steals, and sixth in points; no other Hornets player even comes close to being in the top six of all five categories. He is a perfect example of the team’s need to unload one of its big men, if for no other reason than to give Ayon more of a chance to produce with additional playing time.

5: Jason Smith, PF: 18.9 MPG, 8.2 PPG, 44.0 FG%, 3.8 RPG, 1.1 BPG, 16.0 PER

Smith had two great games sandwiched between two duds over the course of the week. In losses to Portland and Dallas, he made just 3 of 11 shots for just 6 points to go along with 4 rebounds. In the other two at Houston and at home against Memphis, however, he scored 31 points by making 13 of his 27 attempts, and added 11 rebounds and 5 blocks. In addition to some of the improvements in his game that we have mentioned on this site before, he is averaging almost an entire foul less per 36 minutes than he committed last season, an obvious sign that he has learned to be more disciplined when defending in the paint.

6. Chris Kaman, C: 24.4 MPG, 10.5 PPG, 46.7 FG%, 7.4 RPG, 1.1 BPG, 15.1 PER

Rough week for Mr. Kaman, but not rough enough to drop him in the rankings (which is more indicative of the continued struggles of most of the players below him). Kaman’s production kind of fell off of a cliff this past 4 games, as his PER fell a full point and a half from 15.1 to 13.6. He made just 11 of his 32 shot attempts, scoring a total of 24 points, though that might not even be the worst stat of his week – he committed 11 turnovers in just 79 minutes of playing time, translating to an atrocious turnover rate for a big man like Kaman. With as much depth as the Hornets have in the frontcourt, Chris paid the price for his recent struggles, playing only 7 minutes against Dallas last night (yet still finding a way to turn the ball over twice). He remains the most likely trade candidate in my eyes, but he isn’t doing much to impress potential suitors at the moment.

7. Trevor Ariza, SF: 35.0 MPG, 11.1 PPG, 41.2 FG%, 5.4 RPG, 2.8 APG, 13.3 PER

I never thought I’d be so happy to see Ariza return to the starting lineup. After missing the prior 8 games with a nagging groin injury, Trevor made his return Wednesday night and has promptly averaged 41 minutes a night in the three games he has played since. In those games, he scored 40 points on 37 shots; not exactly hugely inspiring numbers, but at least it’s more than a point per shot, and with the offensive production that we have become used to seeing from this Hornets team, I’ll take it. In his 8 games played this season, he has only failed to get at least 5 rebounds once, but that was the game in which he sustained his groin injury and only played 17 minutes as a result. As long as Trevor continues to work hard on defense (he caused nightmares for Rudy Gay all game on Wednesday and Kevin Martin in the second half on Friday) and is just average on offense, he’s going to be an asset to the team.

8: Greivis Vasquez, PG: 18.8 MPG, 5.6 PPG, 35.1 FG%, 3.3 APG, 12.3 PER

With all of the passion and hustle that Greivis brings to the game, I really want him to be better than he truly is. It is looking more and more that Greivis’ ceiling may not be much higher than his current role with the Hornets – a mediocre backup point guard. Besides his 6’6″ size, he really doesn’t excel in any one area, but he’s good enough to get some minutes backing up Jack. Until he shows me that there is more to his game than his non-stop motor, I just can’t buy into him having the potential to eventually become a starting-caliber player in this league.

9. DaJuan Summers, F: 19.7 MPG, 5.4 PPG, 41.0 FG%, 1.7 RPG, 7.7 PER

With Ariza’s return, Summers has basically fallen off of Monty Williams’ radar. He made sense while Trevor was out because he is currently a better scorer than Aminu, but he doesn’t really fill a needed role in the lineup with Ariza back, and consequently has only seen 5 minutes of action since then. Expect a big drop for Summers in next week’s rankings, as I sincerely doubt he’ll see the floor at all.

10Eric Gordon, SG: 39.0 MPG, 21.0 PPG, 42.5 FG%, 5.0 RPG, 18.1 PER

Come back soon, please?

11: Trey Johnson, G: 5.5 MPG, 1.9 PPG, 57.1 FG%, 12.5 PER

Trey only played 7 minutes over the past week, as he is not a needed piece of the Hornets’ rotation, and will likely see his minutes entirely disappear when either Henry and/or Gordon return. He doesn’t hurt the Hornets when he plays, but he doesn’t really help them either.

12. Squeaky Johnson, PG: 7.1 MPG, 1.7 PPG, 30.0 FG%, 0.8 APG, 5.3 PER

Squeaky did not play at all this week until last night, recording an assist and a steal along with two missed shots in 5 minutes of action. He’s a local product and a fantastic story after spending so much time in the D-League, but he simply is not an NBA-caliber guard.

13. Al-Farouq Aminu, SF: 19.1 MPG, 4.4 PPG, 32.9 FG%, 4.6 RPG, 9.5 PER

Aminu has done next to nothing to move up in these rankings, so he can thank Belinelli for completely stinking it up and allowing him to climb out of the cellar. I had really held out hope that his increased minutes as a result of Ariza’s injury would help him start to figure things out, but it simply did not happen. To his credit, he is 4th on the team in rebound rate, trailing only Okafor, Kaman, and Ayon (the Hornets’ three centers). He still has a lot of work to do in nearly every other aspect of the game, though.

14: Marco Belinelli, SG: 31.5 MPG, 9.6 PPG, 37.2 FG%, 30.0 3P%, 3.4 RPG, 8.3 PER

Where to begin? I guess I’ll congratulate him for his one non-horrific performance of the week, scoring 15 points on 6-12 shooting in Houston on Thursday night. Hooray, Marco! Apart from that game, though… just atrocious play from the Hornets’ starting shooting guard. He made a horrendous 2 out of 17 3-pointers over the past week, including an 0-6 performance last night in a two point Hornets loss; you do the math. Patience among Hornets fans is wearing increasingly thin with every open shot that he misses, and he really hasn’t given us any reason to be optimistic that he’ll turn things around anytime soon.

Incomplete: Xavier Henry, SG

Henry is expected to return to action at some point over the next week or so. Considering how pathetic the play has been from the shooting guard position so far, he can’t play his first game in a Hornets uniform soon enough, regardless of his struggles in his rookie season last year.

Player Power Rankings is a weekly piece that you can find every Sunday only on For past rankings, click here.


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