New Orleans Hornets 2011-12 Power Rankings, V.6

Published: February 12, 2012

After passing the power rankings off for a week, Mason re-takes control and tries to bring order to the total chaos that is the Hornets’ 2011-12 season.

Ayon continues to climb the power rankings thanks to increased playing time.

First off, thanks to Jake for providing everyone with a little something different last week; now, it’s back to my own boring, routine power rankings. In this week’s edition, the injury bug bites the Hornets yet again, causing some extra movement at the top of the rankings. See something you don’t like? Let us know with a comment below.

1. Jarrett Jack, PG: 22 GP, 35.7 MPG, 15.2 PPG, 43.6 FG%, 6.7 APG, 3.7 RPG, 17.8 PER

It’s getting increasingly difficult to comfortably rank ANY Hornets player #1 at anything, given the way this team has played. That being said, no one on this Hornets team has played at a higher level more consistently than Jarrett. The gap between Jack and the next best Hornets players is definitely shrinking, but he’s still got the top spot locked up.

2. Emeka Okafor, C: 27 GP, 28.9 MPG, 9.9 PPG, 53.7 FG%, 7.9 RPG, 1.0 BPG, 15.8 PER

I’m not thrilled about Oak pulling down a career low rebound rate of 16.4%, but every other part of his game looks much improved this season so I’m willing to overlook it for now. Since I wrote the column praising him for his improved short-range offensive game, he remains one of just 5 NBA centers averaging at least 25 MPG whose field goal percentage on shots between 3-9 feet is above 50%. Of those 5, only he and Roy Hibbert attempt more than 2 per game, making his work in that area even more impressive. If Okafor can improve his rebound rate to something around his career average of around 18.5-19%, he definitely has a chance to pass Jack and claim the top spot in these rankings.

3. Gustavo Ayon, C: 20 GP, 14.3 MPG, 4.6 PPG, 56.2 FG%, 3.6 RPG, 18.5 PER

With increased meaningful minutes against opposing starting lineups, Ayon’s unsustainable PER in the mid-20s obviously regressed, but he still leads the team in that category along with field goal percentage. Another asset to Ayon’s game is his passing ability in the paint; his 15.6% assist rate is tops on the team among PFs and Cs, and well above the NBA average for both positions around 12%. While Gus isn’t a consistent scoring threat, he helps the Hornets in a lot of different areas and fulfills an important role on the team.

4. Carl Landry, PF: 24 GP, 23.9 MPG, 11.5 PPG, 46.7 FG%, 4.4 RPG, 16.9 PER

The Hornets’ offense took a serious hit when Landry sprained his MCL in Detroit last weekend, and he will be out for another 2-3 weeks. Before then, he posted two solid games in Miami and San Antonio along with two quiet ones at home against Phoenix and then in Detroit. He makes up for a poor 13.2% defensive rebound rate with a 9.0% offensive rebounding rate and a 12.7% turnover rate, both better than NBA averages for his position. Whenever he returns, Landry would really help the Hornets’ offensive woes if he can improve his field goal percentage to something closer to his career average of 53.4%.

5. Greivis Vasquez, PG: 27 GP. 22.5 MPG, 7.7 PPG, 41.1 FG%, 4.4 APG, 15.6 PER

Thanks to Jack’s knee injury, Greivis got a chance to log consistent starter’s minutes, and boy did he take advantage. Compared to last season, his assist and steal average per-36 minutes is up from 6.3 to 7.0 and 0.9 to 1.8 respectively. In the past two weeks in particular, Vasquez has raised his field goal percentage an impressive 5%. I still maintain my opinion that he’ll never be a legitimate NBA starting point guard, but he is doing a fantastic job selling me on his ability to be a very reliable backup.

6. Trevor Ariza, SF: 19 GP, 34.7 MPG, 11.5 PPG, 40.6 FG%, 5.6 RPG, 3.2 APG, 13.3 PER

Trevor has looked like the team’s best player in 2 of his last 4 games, and one of the best in another. In losses to Detroit and Portland, Ariza logged a total of 88 minutes and made 18 of 30 shots from the field, converted 11 of 12 free throw attempts, pulled down 16 rebounds, dished out 9 assists, and collected 5 steals. Seeing that form of Ariza is truly a joy to watch; it’s too bad that version doesn’t come out more often. Here’s to hoping that changes!

7: Jason Smith, PF: 21 GP, 21.5 MPG, 8.2 PPG, 47.3 FG%, 3.9 RPG, 1.1 BPG, 14.1 PER

Sidelined with a concussion since the Pistons game last Saturday, Smith’s all-around game had been falling off a bit even before then. He still gets his points and shoots a decent percentage, but he is entirely incapable of creating his own shot, evidenced by a whopping 82.3% of his field goals coming from assists. In addition, his rebounding rate of 10.7% is lower than Carl Landry’s, which should be inexcusable given his 7 foot height. His miniscule 8.3% turnover rate is nice, but if he can’t improve on his rebounding numbers, he may see his minutes start to slip.

8. Chris Kaman, C: 19 GP, 23.1 MPG, 9.6 PPG, 42.3 FG%, 7.1 RPG, 1.4 BPG, 14.0 PER

In two games since returning to the team, Kaman has taken 29 shots, making just 10 for an abysmal 34.5% from the field. Granted, the Hornets were without Gordon, Landry, and Smith for those two games, as well as Jack for one, so they were relying heavily on Chris for offense. Though I worry consistently about the possibility of him getting injured and making his trade value zero, it looks like the Hornets will continue to give Kaman heavy minutes and lots of scoring opportunities with so many current injury woes.

9: Marco Belinelli, SG: 27 GP, 29.5 MPG, 9.7 PPG, 39.5 FG%, 34.6 3P%, 2.6 RPG, 8.9 PER

Marco has played a fairly decent past three games for his standards, making 15 out of 34 attempts overall, including 5 for 12 from beyond the arc. He even added 9 assists over those three games, a total above and beyond what we’ve come to expect from him. This is about the kind of production Hornets fans likely were expecting before the season began. Keep up the mediocre work, Marco!

10. Al-Farouq Aminu, SF: 27 GP, 19.6 MPG, 5.0 PPG, 38.6 FG%, 4.3 RPG, 9.3 PER

Every time I feel like writing off Aminu’s chances of becoming a valuable asset for the Hornets, he has a game that makes me think that he may be figuring things out. His most recent game was the latest example, making 5 of his 8 shots in the loss against Portland while grabbing 5 rebounds. If he can string together a few games with similar production over the next week (wishful thinking, I know), he could climb a couple spots in the rankings.

11. Lance Thomas, PF: 5 GP, 6.8 MPG, 2.0 PPG, 33.3 FG%, 2.4 RPG, 11.7 PER

The Hornets re-signed Lance Thomas to a 10-day contract to fill in for voids left by DaJuan Summers and Carl Landry. He has played strongly in the minutes that he’s been given, achieving a fantastic rebound rate of just over 21%. If he keeps up that kind of effort on the glass, he’ll earn himself another 10-day contract at the very least.

12. Xavier Henry, SG: 7 GP, 12.4 MPG, 4.0 PPG, 40.7 FG%, 0.7 APG, 6.0 PER

Congratulations are in order to Henry for finally getting his PER out of the red. I’m still very skeptical about his jumper, but he has shown his athleticism and still could develop into a nice role player.

Incomplete: Eric Gordon, SG; Donald Sloan, G

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


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