The March of Progress

Published: December 9, 2012

When the dust has cleared
And victory denied
A summit too lofty
River a little too wide
If we keep our pride
Though paradise is lost
We will pay the price,
But we will not count the cost
— Rush, Bravado


The New Orleans Hornets had a good week, even if it’s not obvious from the 1-3 record, bringing the aggregate to 5-14.

The week started well enough with a convincing win to even the series with the Bucks. The Hornets won every quarter, decreasing the Bucks’ scoring each quarter, and holding them to under 20 in each of the final two quarters. The Hornets’ big men out played their big men by a much wider margin than their guards outplayed the Hornets guards.

Then the Lakers and Kobe’s 29,987 points came to down. He surpassed the 30,000 mark en route to a solid win that was anchored squarely in the third quarter, where the first six minutes went 16-4 in favor of the Lakers. That’s 12 of the 16 point margin the Lakers won by.

The loss to the Grizzlies is part of the goodness of the week. The Hornets were in this game, and the difference was the rebounding. The Grizzlies had 31.4 ORB%, 87.5% DRB%. The Hornets are worse rebounders than the Grizzles, so this was expected, but the Grizzlies did not bury them under three point shots, taking right around their season average. Aside from the excessive rebounding, the Hornets played a solid game.

The loss to the Heat had a similar theme, except the rebounding didn’t do the Hornets in; turnovers did. That and the Anderson sitting for long minutes in the first half due to foul trouble sank the Hornets irrecoverably by the end of the half. Still, the Hornets weren’t utterly torn apart by the three, and that’s improvement.

On a player level, Henry got his first start of the season while Aminu sat, Miller saw some decent minutes recently. Also, Coach said he may have to make another change in the guard rotation if things don’t pick up defensively.


Off the court, the biggest news this week was that Marc Spears had sources confirm that Pelicans is in fact the name Tom Benson and company have chosen to replace Hornets as the nickname for the franchise. This had been discussed most recently a week before Spears’ report here at Hornets247 and this name was first reported as a strong possibility in October.

Immediate public reactions, while mixed, were largely negative. This fact, however, must be taken in context. Self-reported reactions to uncontrolled, incomplete information are inherently potentially very biased. For instance, those who are ambivalent are far less likely to express this than those with a strong negative reaction. Thus, these responses do not condemn the name on their own.

Also, a sports team brand is more than a name. It consists of logos, uniforms, and more. Even the informal poll that is social media had people warming up to the name in short order, especially when fan-made logs and media defenses of the name started cropping up.

Benson bought this brand twenty years ago, so there is a good deal of thought behind how this brand will be rolled out.

Additionally, David Stern revealed some more helpful information when he was in town. He neither confirmed nor denied the Pelicans name, but he said that ownership has filed for trademark protection for five names. He also gave a strong indication that the rebrand, if asked for, would be fast-tracked, as we’ve been told since the Benson purchase began in April.

So far there is no indication from the NBA or ownership what those five names are, what the locales are, or when this is supposed to take place. Assuming Mrs. Gayle Benson’s comments are accurate and stable, the team’s colors will be red, gold, and navy blue, where the navy blue is a substitute for black, which she indicated they were discouraged from using by the NBA.

Below is a detailed discussion of trademarks. Feel free to skip until the next bold headline. The short of it is that putting a logo into commercial use gives a measure of protection, so a trademark need not be filed immediately. Since it takes a while for filing to be made available, it is difficult to use this mechanism to determine what the team has in mind.

Trademarks take about a little under a year to process at a minimum, so using an existing one is likely the speediest way to get a rebrand done, though it is not clear how much of an advantage this is.

Of the named mentioned Brass has an active trademark. It is held by a former owner of the team and was filed April 13, 2012, the day the news broke that Tom Benson would buy the team. The description was updated to shuffle some words around and add the word basketball to it. It went from

Entertainment services, namely sporting events and exhibitions and the production and distribution of broadcasts of sporting events and exhibitions via radio, television, Internet or other media


Entertainment services, namely organizing sporting exhibitions and events, namely basketball, hockey and other sports competitions, and the production and distribution videos of sporting events and exhibitions for broadcast via radio, television, Internet or other media

This is still actively being worked on.

Pelicans has abandoned marks, one of which was abandoned by Tom Benson. More recently, a company in Texas had the trademark for one of the old logos, but was this was expressly abandoned shortly after filing. Abandoned trademarks can pretty easily be picked up, and laws prevent someone just hoarding trademarks without using them.

The first party to use an abandoned trademark in a commercially meaningful way after its abandonment is entitled to exclusive ownership and use of that trademark and trade dress

So, since there are no other teams using Pelicans, and Benson has whatever it is he had from his time working with the trademark, this is easy for him to use.

There was a Krewe listed for a D-League team in Mobile.

Voodoo is clearly in the system as a live trademark, but this is being used at the moment.

There are other names that have been registered, but none seem like they can be traced to the team, just like none of the above can.


Anthony Davis has increased his physical activity, and Monty indicated that Davis would return in the coming week. This fits with their most pessimistic timeframe given, give or take. He has participated in non-contact drills. Stress reactions are more about sustained repetitive stresses than bursts of activity, so it is possible that this activity is not an indicator of significant progress, but it is certainly an indicator that the pain has largely subsided. If this injury is taken care of for good sooner than the typical time, then hats off to Anthony Davis for reporting this and working it, and same to the medical staff for catching it early and treating it properly.

Eric Gordon is still working in Los Angeles and is not expected to return at the end of the month rather than in the first half of the month.

Around the Site

Since Austin Rivers had a good game on Friday, it’s fitting to take a look at articles about him on the site. Russ looked at his minute allocation while Jake broke down some of his plays.

Also, Mike and Ryan were joined by Gerry V on Monday’s podcast, and they discussed the rebrand and the week’s game on Friday.

Voices of the People

I came away from this game feeling strangely positive. I feel like our Hornets(Pelicans) could be the Heat’s weakness even without Eric Gordon as long as we have Anthony Davis. Our bigmen will be too much for them. Also, my phrase for the Pelicans will be “DEM PELICANS!” and after reading that Deadspin article I’m all in on the name. Besides, Michael is right, the team’s performance makes the name and we should be one of the more dominant teams in a few years. Geaux Hornet… for now. — JayDogon

I’m just a casual fan, I’ll admit, but I would guess that Rivers has a lot better opportunity to excel from his current situation than most other players at his age and ability, just because of who and where he is. He is very fortunate to be with Monty, and have Doc for a father, this gives him support that others might not. What he needs can largely be taught, I would think, if he applies himself to learning. What he has, which is aggressive instincts and speed, can’t be taught. So it’s really up to him whether he will learn what he needs to. I’m in the camp not to bet against him getting there, it would be a huge disappointment for him not to achieve his potential, mostly a disappointment for himself, and when that is the case the chances are he will try to not disappoint. He’s being given a lot of opportunity right now, with Gordon on the bench, and little time yet to really get to where he might be able to, but the factors are all there for him too, so I suspect given enough time he will. How far he will be able to take it is in question, but I suspect he will prove himself valuable with time. — Robert

You could see this result coming at the end of the first half. Oh well. We are missing two of our top players. Guys like Henry, Roberts, and Rivers are being asked to be much bigger contributors than they usually would be. Can’t expect to be able to hang with a team with both Kobe and Dwight, and a very comfortable Antwan Jameson.

All that being said, this game was very winnable and shows that at full strength this team will be very competitive. This is just part of the rebuilding process. Like others have said, going through this will make it so much more gratifying when this team is up there with the top teams in the NBA.

Also, Anderson is easily becoming my favorite player on this team. Don’t know if his output will diminish a bit when Davis and Gordon finally return but he can easily be part of a “big 3″ once we are at full strength. He is like Peja except he is younger and is much better in the paint and under the basket. He also just seems like a very likeable guy. Really looking forward to watching him for years to come. He will be a major part when this team is really contending. — Chris

42 Sense

The Hornets three point woes showed some signs of easing at the end of this week. They still lead the NBA in made threes against them per game (179 in 19 game for ~9.42 per game while the NBA average is closer to 7.2 per game). Adjusting for pace, the margin increases, as the Hornets have the slowest pace in the NBA. On a per-possession basis, then, the Hornets have even more work to do.

In the NBA winning by an average of 6 points a game is considered to be championship level play. Replacing the additional made threes with regular shots will improve the team by over two points per game on average.

It may seem easy to dismiss such paltry numbers of points, but margins are thin in the NBA, and consistent at-least-fair performance in all aspects of the game with exceptional performance at some is the typical formula for success. The three point barrages may not stop until something changes with the available guards on this team, but something has to be tried. Monty is looking at changes. I hope those changes are evaluated in part on how opponents hit the three against us.


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