For those of you biting your nails to bide the time until the start of the season, here's a whole smorgasbord of links to tie you over. We're gonna do some of the TrueHoop style, where I include portions of some of the articles to pique your interest a little more. And we'll keep this format until I hear the pounding of lawyers fists on my front door. Until then, enjoy:
BALL DON'T LIE (preview)
So the team down at Ball Don't Lie seems pretty confident that we'll make the playoffs, but they aren't sold on our (admittedly strange) strategy towards team "depth".
Truth is, everyone who's a Hornets fan knows depth (especially in the frontcourt) to be our biggest weakness. We all handle it a little differently: some convince themselves that Hilton will emerge as useful player, some are convinced JuJu can play the 4 off the bench thus allowing Byron to run a semblance of Nellieball with our scrubs which will confuse the opponent by reversing the pace, or some just sit in corners holding their knees to their chest as they rock and cry. I'm a little of all three columns.
At any rate, check out Kelly Dwyer's Hornets preview. It's got some good (albeit sobering) stuff from one of blogdom's more underrated writers:
And if we’re going to give the Rockets the stick for assumed injuries, or guess that the Lakers will have a tough time playing Andrew Bynum alongside Pau Gasol before March, and imagine that the Spurs will go easy on Manu Ginobili’s minutes even after he returns from the shelf, it’s only fair to expect that the Hornets will have to play guys like Melvin Ely (a championship-level backup power forward? To someone who averages 60 games a year?), Hilton Armstrong, and Julian Wright more than they’d like to.
The Hornet fan is thinking, "yeah, and Armstrong and Wright are young and due for breakout years." And they’re not. Or, they’ll break out, but they won’t be that great. Just OK, rather.
DAVE BERRI ON THE HORNETS
Dave Berri is the fantastic behind behind The Wages of Wins (which exists in print as well as a continuing online journal. Our buddy Rohan of At The Hive was able to score an interview with him in which he cornered Berri on topics exclusively related to the Hornets. Here's an excerpt:
@tH: Staying on the subject of Paul, various statistics suggest that he had one of the greatest offensive seasons by a point guard in history (#1 all time PER, #1 all time Win Shares). In your estimation, where did his last campaign rank historically and what could he have improved?
DB: Since 1991-92, no guard in the NBA has produced more than 25 wins in a single season. So what Chris Paul did in 2007-08 was very impressive. Basically you have to go back to the 1980s – when Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan surpassed the 25 win mark a few times – to find a guard who played better than Paul.
From Berri's online journal, we learn that he believe the Hornets will fare much better in the absence of Jannero Pargo:
If we compare Pargo to an average point guard we still see a player that’s below average with respect to shooting efficiency from the field, rebounds, steals, blocked shots, and personal fouls. He also offers fewer assists than an average point guard.
If we move from the individual stats to Wins Produced, we see that Pargo produced -1.3 wins for the Hornets last year; with a -.043 WP48 [Wins Produced per 48 minutes]. What if the Hornets had been able to replace Pargo with just an average guard? An average NBA player will post a 0.100 WP48, and in Pargo’s 1,497 minutes, would produce 3.1 wins. So moving from Pargo in 2007-08 to an average guard would have increased the Win Produced in New Orleans from 55.1 (the team actually won 56 games) to 59.6. Last year only the Boston Celtics (68.3 Wins Produced), Detroit Pistons (60.4 Wins Produced), and LA Lakers (60.4 Wins Produced) were able to best the 59.6 mark the Hornets would have under the above scenario.
Ryan Schwan of Hornets 24/7 wrote a nice piece about Hornets' GM Jeff Bower:
His easiest virtue to appreciate is his ability to stick to a team concept and build a team that works together. I've said this over and over here on this blog, but Bower has put together a team that is greater than the sum of its parts. He doesn't succumb to numbers and slap together a team like Denver that has brilliant isolation scorers in Anthony, Iverson and JR Smith that can't work together or play defense, or the Bulls, a team of hard-working players who lack Genius. Bower has brought in players that each provide something that improves the effectiveness of the other players on the team, and more, he's brought in players that fit the mold of what Byron Scott wants on the floor. There are no clashes between coach and GM in New Orleans.
The Times Pic is reporting that the Hornets are rolling through preseason:
The Hornets are allowing 83.6 points a game, holding opponents to a shooting percentage of .391, while shooting 45.7 percent on their end of the floor. New Orleans, behind Chris Paul's 10 steals, is averaging 10.1 steals.
They also put up an interesting article about OUR big 3:
Last season the trio combined to average 53.5 points, 24.6 rebounds and 14.9 assists. Those figures compare favorably with the Celtics' big three -- Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen -- which averaged 55.8 points, 18 rebounds and 11 assists, and the Spurs' -- Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker -- which averaged 57.6 points, 19.3 rebounds and 13.3 assists.
Here's an excerpt from TC's latest blog entry:
So, we get to Berlin and when we finally got to the hotel, it was probably about 11:30 in the morning. Everybody was exhausted. And then we have a practice at 2:00. So basically, we're on 48 hours of no sleep with a game and then a practice.
Everybody was dying at practice. It was probably the toughest practice that we've ever had. And Coach Scott ran us, because he said he wanted to get the jet lag out of us. So, it was like a semi-training camp practice on top of 48 hours of no sleep ... and being cramped in the plane for 12 hours.
BALL DON'T LIE (odds and ends)
"10 Man Rotation, starring CP3-to-Chandler 'oop Magic"
Mo Pete at the German KFC practicing for a second career option that may come in handy if his numbers don't improve.
Everyone knows the Hornets attended an Obama event in Indy a few weeks ago, but here's some photos from the event. Check out D.West hanging with B.Rock.
JuJu says "it's time for donuts; it's donut time".
No Hornets make the cut this year for Hollinger's All-Breakout Team, though he did admit considering CP3. Of course, despite expecting another huge year from the Chef, Hollinger thought wiser of including an MVP runner-up on the "Breakout" team. Which is understandable.
TrueHoop previews CP3's 3rd annual bowling tourney. And BDL's got your followup (with video)
Henry asks a whole host of peeps about the biggest stories awaiting the NBA this season. Check out the answers in TrueHoop's Crystal Ball
Ever wonder how the schedule gets made? TrueHoop has the answer
All my friends know I have a man-crush on Kevin Martin (along with Mike Miller and Andris Biedrins. So they shouldn't be surprised to see me posting a link to a BDL video of Martin juking Rudy Fernandez then taking it to the house on the house against the rest of Portland's defense. Sweetness. I mean, the Kings are going to be abysmal this year, but it certainly won't be this guy's fault.