Slowing Down

Published: February 3, 2013

It’s not how fast you can go
The force goes into the flow
If you pick up the beat
You can forget about the heat
More than just survival
More than just a flash
More than just a dotted line
More than just a dash

Marathon, Rush


The New Orleans Hornets 5-game Super Bowl road trip yielded a less-than-desirable single win, dropping the team’s record to 15-33, 3-7 in the last 10. For those keeping track of the Eric Gordon sub-record. the team’s record was 1-3 with him this week, 4-6 in his last 10, and 8-7 overall. They are now last in the West by a small margin and 5th worst in the NBA. The Hornets will have to win at least 26 of their 34 remaining games (over 75%) to end the season with a 0.500 record or better. The Hornets best winning percentage over 10 games is 70% this season. This should effectively end all but the most irrational discussion of a playoff appearance this season.

In the Hornets lone win this week, they held the Grizzlies shooting down to a worse TS% (43.3%) than their own less than impressive 52.2%. The Grizzlies are the strongest offensive rebounders in the NBA, and that continued in this game. This mitigated their weak shooting to an extent, but it was not enough, especially in the face of Anderson’s 7 of 13 from 3.

The losses started against the Lakers. In this game, the uneven guard play was one of the major stories. Gordon and Vasquez played about 32m each, netting 17 assists, 2 turnovers, and 40 points. Rivers, Gordon, and Mason totaled 1 assist, 1 turnover, and 9 points in a total of about 38 minutes. Additionally, Greivis Vasquez was responsible for 15 of the Hornets 21 assists, with 4 more being attributed to starters. This translates into no Hornets player other than Vasquez (77%) having an AST% over 11%. The Lakers had 3 players with AST% over 40% and 2 more over 19%.

Against the Jazz, the Hornets did just about all the things they were supposed to do to win the game with one major problem. The problem was the Jazz’s 46 free throw attempts. In a five point game, the there were 13 made free throws in the fourth, only 5 of which were in the last minute, an the Hornets scored 5 in that same minute. The Hornets made 5 free throws in the final quarter.

The games against the Nuggets and Timberwolves were just awful. Turnovers were a clear issue in both games. In the Nuggets game, this was the biggest driver, with 21-8 in the turnover department. 13 more turnovers in the 15 point game . . . yeah. Against the Timberwolves, the turnovers killed the offense, though it was not as one-sided as in the Nuggets game. Here, it took a poor shooting performance and horrible defense (TS% of 50.9% compared to 64.1%). This worked with the turnovers to produce just 7 points off of the 18 Minnesota turnovers compared to 29 off of the 23 Hornets turnovers. By the way, it was a 29 point game.


Top draft pick Anthony Davis was selected to play in the Rookie-Sophomore game at the NBA All-Star Weekend.

The NBA announced today that New Orleans Hornets F Anthony Davis has been selected to participate in the 2013 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge in a vote by NBA assistant coaches. The NBA All-Star Weekend event features two nine-man teams comprised of both NBA rookies and sophomores drafted by TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal, who will serve as general managers for their respective teams.

Davis, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2012 NBA Draft, has appeared in 32 games so far this season and is averaging 12.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.8 blocks per game. The University of Kentucky product is averaging more rebounds, blocks, and steals per game than any other rookie so far this season. He also ranks second among all rookies in efficiency (17.2) and double-doubles (7).

The BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, which can be seen live nationally on TNT and listened to live on ESPN Radio, will be played on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 8:00pm CST at the Toyota Center in Houston, TX.

Around the Site

In the podcast this week, Mike and Ryan discuss the first part of the road trip and Greivis Vasquez. Jake took at look at some passing that does not come from Greivis Vasquez. In The Missing Piece, Mike examines the wisdom in waiting until the 2014 offseason to make a major roster change.

`Voices’ of the People

Miller’s passing has been a really pleasant surprise. I want to see more of that. I hope Monty runs a few plays where he is the set up/assist guy. And he can get good space off his fakes. Like what I’m seeing. Rivers looked like a work in progress, but someone who is actually progressing. Nice to see. Bench feels 50/50 on any given night. If they show up, we have a chance. If not, there’s nothing we can do. Gordon just disappeared for most of the night. I know Iggy was on him a lot, but he’s a max player, #1 offensive option, etc etc. He still has to show up.


Dwight Howard had 4 rebounds so…. Rebounding is a team concept so whoever played Howard on defense was doing their job keeping him off the boards even if they themselves didn’t corral the rebound.

NOH Domination

Jason Smith was awesome – energy, toughness, defense on top of that sweet mid-range jumper. The entire bench won this game. Mason, I was wondering if you heard anything about EG’s knee causing him problems again. The last couple of games, he seems to be moving at about 75% of his normal speed. Good to see the Pelicans win one without either starting guard playing very well.


42 Sense

A few weeks ago, I discussed team pace and how it is not tied to winning games in that teams with high paces seem to win at no greater rate than those with low or medium pace.

However, this is not the case when it comes to whether a team wins a particular game or not. So, while examining at team’s overall pace in comparison to another’s can not help predict wins, some team’s pace in a particular game can give some indication of how they perform in that game.

Of course, I’m talking about the Hornets here.

The Hornets are consistently one of the lowest paced teams in the NBA, recording an 88.8 at this point in the season. Monty consistently talks about controlling and managing the game, and with good reason. The Hornets have played 48 games this season, winning 15 of them. The Hornets have played 10 games with a pace of 85 or below, winning 5 of them (50%), 24 games with a pace over 85 but less than 90, winning 9 of them (37.5%), and 14 games with a pace over 90, winning only 1 of them (7.14%). In that single win, the pace was 90.2 and the win was against the Kings.

Overall, the correlation between pace and winning for the Hornets is -0.26, indicating that a lower pace is loosely associated with increased winning. The looseness is a reflection of the large number of mixed results in middle pace range. In the past 10 games, the correlation is a much stronger -0.66, and is -0.50 since the return of Eric Gordon.

As Eric Gordon returns to health, the above could change, and the small set of data with Eric Gordon does show that a slower pace is preferable to an higher one.

For now, the data indicates that if the Hornets want to slow down the slow down, they need to slow down.

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