Scouting the NBA: Week Two — New Orleans Hornets Have a Winning Record

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Published: November 6, 2012

The New Orleans Hornets are off to a nice start this season, but will it continue? Also, which player should the Hornets be interested in from this weeks’ opponents?

Wednesday 7th vs. Philadelphia 76ers – ESPN, 7pm CST, Nationally Televised

The (1-2) Philadelphia 76ers will take on the New Orleans Hornets in a rare nationally televised game featuring the home club. The Hornets have started the season nicely getting two of their first three.

The ‘6ers, a playoff team from last season, have their prized center Andrew Bynum on the injury report as out indefinitely. Expected to make the playoffs this season, Philadelphia has a nice, well-rounded team from the point, to the big men to the bench.

Yet, for Wednesday’s game maybe that isn’t the case. The Sixers are off to a bit of a sluggish start, and that is compounded by a Jason Richardson injury who will also be out for the game. Philly still has talent, but it’s certainly depleted.

Player of Interest for the Hornets: Dorrell Wright

Michael and Ryan noted in Monday’s podcast that they didn’t want anyone on the ‘6ers roster. I have to disagree. While there’s no one other than Andrew Bynum who could contribute significantly towards a championship, there is a role player which I’d love to have on the team.

Wright is a guy who’s been on three teams in his 8 year NBA career, exploding in Golden State. He’s getting paid $4,000,000 this season, and that contract is expiring. For a guy who’s only 26 and has quite a bit of NBA experience he’s a role player who I’d want on this team.

You can never have enough shooters.

Best Matchup for the 76ers: Jrue Holiday vs. Greivis Vasquez

With the speed and agility of Holiday versus the slow-footed, but much taller, Vasquez, there’s really only one way a matchup will go at the point guard position. While it’s no doubt Greivis is holding his own this season, no one can deny he’s one of the slowest point-guards in the entire league.

When you can’t get around guys like Joakim Noah on a one-on-one matchup and you’re a point guard, you have speed issues.

Holiday can exploit Vasquez both off the dribble and off the ball. If the ‘6ers are smart they’ll run pick-and-rolls that involve both Greivis and Lopez. Doing so can allow Jrue to have dribble penetration opening up shooters. That’s if they play it right.

Best Matchup for the Hornets: Al-Farouq Aminu vs. Evan Turner

I’m going to do it… Wait… Err… Yes! The best matchup for the Hornets on this evening will be Aminu against former top-three pick Evan Turner.

Wow, after three games I’m actually going to give Aminu some props. After showing little last season and even less this preseason, The Chief has put on an outlet driven, fastbreak bonanza. Maybe his dunks are so awesome because we’re so used to seeing them not go in. But one after another they have.

Aminu can shut-down a very sub-par player in Evan Turner. His length will trouble Turner who’s failed to impress in his brief time in the NBA. That’s not to say that Aminu is going to dominate, but he will be allowed to get out on the break and hammer home a few holy dooley’s.

Prediction: Hornets by 3

I’m over confident and I don’t care. Yes, this is probably a rare time to be a homer, but I’m calling it. Anthony Davis will play (hopefully) and the team appears to be playing well (beaten two playoff teams and nearly beating seed número uno from last year). I really would love for them to get a win on national TV so I’m being optimistic, especially with Andrew Bynum out.

Firday 9th vs. Charlotte Bobcats — Fox Sports New Orleans, 7pm CST

When superpowers collide, no the Cold War isn’t still going, but the Bobcats and Hornets still are. A Clash of the Titans if you will, Friday’s game will offer up the first match between former Kentucky team-mates Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

Both franchises are rebuilding and there’s little doubt as to which is at a more advanced stage. The Bobcats made little secret their desire to do whatever it took to get the number one pick in this years draft. Taking two-steps backward didn’t necessarily lead to the GIANT leap they wanted to gain.

Player of Interest for Hornets: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

It’s never going to happen but outside of MKG and Bismack Biyombo there really isn’t anyone on the Bobcats roster worth wanting. Some may want Kemba Walker, but we already have a similar player in Austin Rivers. Ben Gordon, Tyrus Thomas, Reggie Williams and Ramon Sessions will all be cheap veterans on one-year deals in a few years time, they’re just way overpaid right now.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is a work-horse, and despite his rawness of the offensive side of the ball, you know you’re getting a physical player who’s going to put in the time to improve. He’s a guy you can move forward with and I think Bobcat fans should be happy.

Best Matchup for Bobcats: Gerald Henderson Ben Gordon vs. Austin Rivers

The Bobcats would have seen the film and they know they can take advantage of Rivers. No one has really been discussing it, but while Austin finds his way in the NBA, he’s had a tough time on the defensive side of the ball.

Fighting through screens, trying to defend on the low-block, these are things he’s having a tough time of adjusting to. While it’s certainly been prevalent to the shrewd observer that he’s making progress, it’s still minimal.

We’re talking about Friday the 9th of November 2012 not 2014. The Bobcats need to take advantage of this and use Ben Gordon as well. Get after the young rook.

Best Matchup for the Hornets: Anthony Davis/Ryan Anderson vs. Byron Mullens/Tyrus Thomas/Bismack Biyombo

The Hornets have a significantly more superior front-line that the Bobcats and while both are young; New Orleans can claim superiority. Whether trying to chase Ryan Anderson or containing Anthony Davis on the pick-and-roll and offensive glass the Bobcats will need to be on their game.

Monty Williams will look to flash different looks along the front-line, and the most effective for Friday’s game could be Davis and Anderson.

Prediction: Hornets by 8

The Hornets will move to 4-1 on the season giving hope to a team that was the worst in the Western Conference last season. While it’s debatable whether it will last, I can assure you it will be exciting.

I have no idea why I’m so confident, I think it’s because I don’t really mind if we lose. We’re young, we’re energized and we’re going to see what works.

Let’s get these Bobcats.

Motif of the Week

mo·tif/mōˈtēf/ Noun: A distinctive feature or dominant idea in an artistic or literary composition.

— Shooting —

Let the madness begin!

If there’s one thing that’s been troubling this past week it was the dismal shooting of the New Orleans Hornets. Austin Rivers is yet to hit his first three pointer and the team is shooting a combined 28% from beyond the arc. In spot-up shot situations, the Hornets are 25th in the league at 0.75 PPP.

These are not good numbers, and they must be improved upon. While the New Orleans Hornets are doing well in some areas, this hasn’t been one of them. Dribble penetration is a must, which has been lacking with the absent of Eric Gordon.

Even a guy like Ryan Anderson is struggling for him, he’s 1.15 PPP (Kevin Martin is at 1.4 PPP and Ray Allen at 1.52 PPP).

Let’s hope this weeks motif is shooting, of the good kind.

Final Sentence: When life gives you lemons, make Anthony Davis. 

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