Hornets Beat: Rajon Rondo for Our First, Keepers, Okafor Verus Kaman, and Favorites

Published: March 6, 2012

This week our writers discuss trading for Rondo, who will stick around, Emeka vs Kaman, and who our favorite player is. Plus, the excellent Will Hibert from At The Hive joins us.

1. Is Solomon Jones a keeper?

Mason Ginsberg: I didn’t think so at first based on his prior NBA history, but I like what I’ve seen from him in a Hornets uniform enough to support signing him through the end of the season.

Jake Madison: Sure why not. He’ll probably be further down in the rotation next year so there is no harm having him at the league minimum.

Joe: Sure, as long as he’s getting locked down for near the minimum. If his play so far is any indication, he can fill the back end of a rotation quite nicely. Aaron who?

Will Hibert: If Lance Thomas is, then Solomon is. I think it depends on how the Hornets see the trade deadline working out, because there are already a ton of bigs on the roster, but Jones has done enough to earn a spot if a spot is there.

2. Who are the three current players most likely to be Hornets at this time next year?

Mason: Ayon, Gordon, and… just to be different from Joe, let’s go with Xavier Henry.

Jake: Ayon, Smith, and Jack.

Joe: Gustavo Ayon, Jason Smith, and Eric Gordon.

Will: Gustavo Ayon, Xavier Henry, and Greivis Vasquez

3. Who you got as the better overall player– Chris Kaman or Emeka Okafor?

Mason: Okafor. Kaman’s advantage on offense isn’t enough to account for Okafor’s larger edge on defense. If Kaman’s shot selection was a little better, it may make my decision more difficult, but at this point I say Emeka without hesitation.

Jake: With the improvement Okafor has made in his offensive game, I’m picking him. His defense is solid and, as Mason said, Kaman has terrible shot selection.

Joe: Tough call here. Kaman obviously is better on offense, Okafor on defense, and then they split rebounding. I think that Okafor is hindered by size on defense some nights, and can at times be rendered useless (see: games against bigger athletic centers) so I’ll go with Kaman.

Will: Though most will probably see this as Kaman’s offense against Mek’s D, I actually think Kaman has more value on the defensive end simply due to his hulking size. He influences a ton of shots, and blocks about the same amount as Emeka. Also, I think his low efficiency is less of a problem on a more talented team. His usage rate is through the roof this year, mostly due to necessity. I love Mek, but I’m going with Chewbacca.

4. Would you theoretically trade the Hornets unprotected first rounder for Rajon Rondo?

Mason: A conditional yes. I can’t see the Celtics doing this deal before the trade deadline next week; Rondo has the potential to increase the Hornets’ win total too drastically in the final 25 or so games, therefore lowering the value of that draft pick too much for the Celtics to bite. By the time this trade could realistically occur, the Hornets would probably know what pick they have; if it’s #1, you hold onto it, but otherwise, I’d probably pull the trigger (assuming the Celtics are okay with the pick being in the 2-5 range).

Jake: Without a doubt. Other than basketball reasons you do it to create some excitement. A good chunk of the fan base is upset with the performance on the court. Draft picks are fun and all but they don’t get casual fans excited. They get excited by a big name, and Rondo is one. Plus, he’s one of my favorite players to watch.

Joe: Yeah, I would. For one, if the Hornets picked up Rondo this season, he would lead them to enough wins to leave the chances of getting Davis pretty low. Even if it’s after the season, and the pick has a 1/5 chance of being number one and a 99% chance of being top-five, I’d do it. Rondo-Gordon-Ariza would have the potential to be one of, if not the best perimeter defenses in the league. Offensively they wouldn’t be half bad, either.

Will: Ugh. Grudgingly, yes. Personally, I don’t like Rondo at all, and don’t think putting a guy who can’t shoot at all next to Eric Gordon is ideal. Also, this is a guy who mailed in a season because the C’s traded Kendrick freaking Perkins. What’s his attitude going to be after being traded here? However his talent is too much to pass up for a chance on some unproven commodity.

5. We’re more than halfway through the season. Who is your favorite player?

Mason: I won’t allow myself to have a favorite. After this past offseason, I can’t take the pain of giving my heart and soul to someone who might leave me again! If I had to pick one, though, it’d be either Okafor or Ayon.

Jake: Vasquez. I love his energy and passion on the court. I really hope he cuts down on his turnovers and keeps developing because he is very fun to watch.

Joe: Jason Smith. Surprised? Don’t be. Nobody has elevated their game more from last year to this one than Smith. I also appreciate how badly he wants to get back on the court. It’s not his fault the medical staff says “uh-uh”. He’s also a genuinely fun guy to talk to, and I think he’ll be in town a while.

Will: Ayonnnn! Ayon-Ayon-Ayonnnn! Gustavo Ayon has been a joy to watch this year, and enjoying his small successes this year brings me back to watching Darren Collison and Buckets run up and down the court on a struggling Hornets team two years ago. Watching rookies getting shine on a bad team can give people a reason to watch.


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