Hornets Beat: A Few Things About #HornetsRank

Published: September 28, 2012

Our New Orleans Hornets writers tackle five #HornetsRank related questions.

Here’s a link to the final #HornetsRank for reference.
1. If both stay healthy, who do you think finishes the season with more starts– Vasquez or Aminu?

Mason: Tie. Barring any trades, those two are the team’s starting point guard and small forward this season. Rivers is still learning the point guard position and won’t be ready to start this year, and there is simply no suitable replacement for Aminu behind him..

Chris: I’m also going with a tie. They will also both tie for Most Improved. They will also lead us to the playoffs. Would you like to try a slice of the optimism pie? Don’t forget to dip it in his optimism sauce.

Joe: Vasquez. Rivers simply won’t be ready to start at any point this season, and Eric Gordon seems destined to miss at least a few games. I could see Warrick, Henry or Miller stealing starts from Aminu when he inevitably hits a rough patch, or if he proves unable to compete against the top small forwards night in and night out. Is Brian Roberts or Roger Mason Jr. really going to start over Vasquez at any point?  The only way I’d see that happening more than a few times is if the bench winds up being so bad that they need Vasquez on that unit just to keep things respectable.

Ryan Schwan:  Vasquez.  Vasquez gives the same thing every night – and will therefore get consistent minutes starting.  Aminu, unless he makes a leap is inconsistent enough that Monty will try other answers at times at the 3 – including Warrick, Anderson, Davis, Lance Thomas, and maybe even Xavier Henry.

Jake Madison: It’s Vasquez. Both positions are fairly thin, but Vazquez brings a certain type of energy/intensity to the court each night. That alone will warrant more playing time from Monty,

2. Which of the final rankings looks the most foolish at season’s end?

Mason: I know at least one person will say Eric Gordon at #1 thanks to his knack for getting injured, but I’m going to be more optimistic! I’ll say Darius Miller at #13. He is the only true small forward on the roster apart from Aminu, and if Al-Farouq continues to struggle, Miller may see more minutes than expected purely out of necessity; here’s to hoping he makes the most of them!

Chris: Anthony Davis at #3. When we re-do these rankings at the end of the season it will be weird if everyone doesn’t put the Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, All NBA First Team and NBA Finals MVP as #1. Uh-oh, I’ve gotta go. My stomach hurts from too much optimism pie.

Joe: Lance Thomas at #12– I fully expect him to take a jump forward this year. He’ll show that he’s not only deserving of an NBA roster spot, but also of minutes.
Ryan: Rogers Mason, Jr. is the only experienced – and reliable – wing on this team other than Gordon.  Coaches like guys who give them consistent results.  He will play significant minutes and may end up ahead of players like Rivers and Aminu.

Ryan: (Ryan declined to answer this one, so I’m assuming he thinks we’re perfect!- Joe)

Jake: Honestly? I think it’s Thomas. I won’t lie: I’m pretty down on him. He’s definitely an NBA player, but I just don’t think he excels in any area–or is even decent. The most value he brings to the team is he is cheap and knows Monty’s system; not that he is a solid contributor.

3. Of the “We’re three fairly large men, but let’s not call us a Big Three quite yet.”  (Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon, or Ryan Anderson), who has the potential to have the best season?

Mason: If we’re basing this purely off of potential, then it has to be Gordon. He’s the best player right now, and if he’s healthy all year long, he will lead this team in production on the court.

Chris: I want to say Anthony Davis because I’m planning on spending all my lunch money on Anthony Davis paraphernalia and I’m counting on him to make me look good. I want to say Ryan Anderson because my H247 colleagues spend every company dinner drooling over his stat sheet. But I have to go with Eric Gordon – he’s the breakfast of this team’s playoff chances. It all starts with him plus he looks like he just woke up most of the time.

Joe: I guess it depends how I (who wrote these questions) define “best”. Davis can have the most mind-blowing season. Gordon can have the most validating season. Anderson can become (or secure) his place as one of the best shooting big men in the world. I tend to think that Gordon has the most to prove, so if he does it his season will wind up being considered the best.

Ryan: Anthony Davis.  Anderson is already great and will probably not get much better.  Eric Gordon will suffer from injuries.  Anthony Davis is going to make all of you squeal with delight.  That’s right.  Squeal.

Jake: Gordon. He has the most potential out of everyone. If he stays healthy he could be a top player in the league.

4. Who from the “We had something to prove anyway, but especially so after #HornetsRank” group (Henry, Thomas, Miller, Roberts) winds up having the best NBA career?

Mason: Last year at this time, I would have easily gone with Henry; I love his ability to get to the rim and draw contact. However, It has become apparent he just doesn’t do much else at an NBA level (including shooting FTs). Therefore, I’ll go with Miller. Nowhere near sold on him, but Thomas may be too much of a “tweener” between the 3 and the 4, and Roberts is just too much of an unknown.

Chris: Darius Miller! I’m 100% sold on the argument made on that last episode of In the N.O. – Miller will know his role. I’ve had mixed feelings on Henry ever since he claimed he wouldn’t care whether or not the Hornets won the lottery while I was interviewing him at the Manning’s party next to the inflatable pop-a-shot that Jason Smith was taking very seriously.

Joe: Lance Thomas. He’ll be in the league for years to come. I’m not sure you can say that about any of the other guys in this group.

Ryan: Darius Miller.  Lance Thomas will be in the league for years, but I believe Darius Miller has a chance to be a contributor off the bench for years.  Lance will be a practice player.

Jake: Miller. As I said before, I’m very down on Thomas. Who knows about Roberts and Henry looks like a bust. Miller has the fewest red flags to me–which isn’t saying much.

5. Jason Smith and Robin Lopez tied for 5th overall. Who would you bet the farm on if they played one-on-one for keeps?

Mason: Smith. Even if you think the two are close to even in most areas, Jason is simply a much better shooter with way deeper range. Lopez would have to guard him from further out on the floor than he would have to be guarded himself.

Chris: I would take Jason Smith 14 times out of 14. I imagine his one-on-one game is that of the “annoying hustle” variety and I bet he has a lot more tricks up his sleeve than Lopez. Robin seems like the kind of guy who wouldn’t take the ball all the way back to the three point line in a one-on-one contest.

Joe: Trew probably hit the nail on the head characterizing Smith’s one-on-one game. It’s hard to beat a guy who tries way too hard, so I’ll give it to Smith as well.

Ryan: Smith.  Lopez’s specialty is guarding lumbering centers and hitting uncontested shots at the rim.  Jason Smith doesn’t lumber, can hit a variety of shots, can take Lopez off the dribble, and there is no way he’s letting Lopez take an uncontested shot one on one.  Ever.

Jake: Smith has far more range and some okay post moves. Lopez would have a lot of trouble guarding him.


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