Monday, September 29, 2008

NBA Pre-Hibachi : New Orleans Hornets

Alright, so the season is almost here and we're gonna hit you up with some "pre-hibachis", previews in other words. Around this time everyone and their momma is doing them, so I always get tired of "NBA previews", so I thought we could try something new. For those of you who don't know, a hibachi is basically a hot grill, so I guess we can translate pre-hibachi as "before it gets hot", and this season will definitely be a hot one. (and I do mean for the whole league, not just Rockets' fans). Once we finish every team, we'll each post our predicted standings. So let's get started:

THE OLD: They finished 56-26 last season, reached the western semis before being shown the door by the Spurs. CP3 did it all for the last year and everyone else filled their roles nicely, but their depth was a major problem. Jannero Pargo split overseas and Bonzi Wells may also be out as he has not been re-signed yet.

THE NEW: They have some new unis, some new logos, and new faces. They drafted Darrell Arthur this offseason, but gave him away to Portland for some Benjamins...hey, its not like they needed DEPTH, right? They managed to score James Posey off of free agency, as well as Devin Brown. Rookie Jared Jordan is also on board for now and so is veteran Sean Marks.

THE TRUTH: All of last season I never really saw the Hornets as contenders. Sure they had the 2nd best record in the conference and played the top teams well, but something just wasn't right for me. It still is not. Depth was a problem for them last year and although Posey seems like a very solid pick up, they lost Pargo, who provided them with a nice and immediate scoring punch of the bench. Here's the guys who will get most of the PT:

Paul- James

Peterson - Butler - Brown

Peja - Posey

West- Wright - Bowen - Marks

Tyson - Ely- Amrstrong

That leaves one spot open, possibly for Bonzi, but the last thing they need is another 2/3 guy. This team isn't very different from last year's. Although Posey brings more than Pargo, but there won't be big minutes at the 2/3 spots for Posey, so he'll pretty much bring the same punch (but in a different manner) that Pargo brought. Don't get me wrong, their first 5 are very solid, but in order to get the last team standing you're gonna need some extra help somewhere along the way because its a long road. Beating the Hornets is done by simply stopping CP, which of course isn't easy, but is definitely easier to do than needing to stop 2 or 3 guys. Chandler compliments CP well, but he's got big issues offensively on his own, and still has trouble with guys like TD and Yao, and even Bynum should give him a fit. Wright should continue to improve, but there's still a lack of minutes at the 3/4 spots. James is still somewhat lost. So how is their a lack of depth when I keep saying there's not enough minutes to go around?? Because the first 5 HAVE to play huge minutes. Sure, you could give more minutes to guys that need opportunities to flourish like James and Wright, but you're not going to win in the playoffs if you play an inconsistent, shoot-first point and Wright over West. With defensive minded teams like the Spurs, Piston, Celtics, and Houston, who all also have offensive power to compliment their D, the Hornets won't have the complete and well rounded game to beat them all to the top, but they should still do well in the regular season, make the playoffs, but won't get deep unless they get very favorable matchups.


Eboy said...

I like the preview, although I disagree with the prediction. I really, really think that this team is going to be hell by the time the playoffs roll around and a motivated CP3 is going to outduel another year older Kobe. Remember this come June '09.

RV said...

Eboy, what would be the difference for them this year? CP being a year wiser? The addition of Posey? Not much has changed and I don't think either of those changes are big enough to make them title contenders.

Hursty said...

We're getting started then huh? I'll get on it over the next few days RV. Great start.

Eboy said...

Uhm.......James Posey WAS one of the main reason's the Lakers couldn't get past the Celts so to say a team that was just a game less in the win colum than the Lakers last season and you drop a guy with a winning pedigree in with a hungry team, you have a receipe for great success (no Borat).

RV said...

Eboy, like i mentioned in the preview, Pargo may not have been a main guy, but he provided a key scoring spark all year, he's gone, so although the Posey addition is a really good one, they had already taken a stap back, and with Posey they gained a step and a half, leaving them only half a step ahead from last year. They made no other moves and could possibly lose Bonzi, who won them at least 2 games last year on his own.

Caleb said...

You are underrating them.

There is a depth problem at the 4/5 spots (specifically the 5)... but if Melvin Ely can play decently (and he's shown in the past that he can) and Armstrong can step up his game a bit(3rd year in the league, he's shown confidence problems but they always say it takes time for big men to mature) then the Hornets should be ok. We also signed big man Sean Marks, who won't add a whole lot and won't play a whole lot but he'll have 6 fouls to burn and has a decent jumper.

Losing Pargo is no big deal. Mike James can do everything Pargo did... and in fact may do what he did even better (jack up shots at a higher percentage). If preseason is any indication he will do exactly that. He has been playing well. And we have Devin Brown again who can play solidly at the 1 or the 2. Brown + James is an improvement over Pargo, not a loss.

Posey of course is huge because of his D and his clutch abilities. He will be able to play the 2, the 3 and occasionaly even the 4 and that's great.

We've seen the potential in Julian Wright and that will start to be realized this year. He has a very solid all-around game and can play 1 through 4.

The starting five of Paul/Mo Pete/Peja/West/Chandler is one of the strongest in the league.

The Hornets proved they could beat anyone in the reg. season last year and proved that they had the playoff goods too... they gave the Spurs a real run. That series could have went the other way very easily.

Contenders? Absolutely.

Caleb said...

Oh and we didn't "lose" Bonzi... we just didn't want him back. Now I liked Bonzi, but at this stage in his game Bonzi is just another jump shooting wingman and we already have Peja, Peterson, Posey, and Rasaul Butler.

He played poorly in the playoffs and there just wasn't really a good reason to resign him.

RV said...

Caleb, I didn't write they "lost" Bonzi...if i did i can't find it, i only see "Bonzi Wells may also be out as he has not been re-signed yet". I did write they lost Pargo, maybe that's what you saw?

Caleb said...

RV... I was reffering to your comment above: "They made no other moves and could possibly lose Bonzi"

But that was just an afterthought on my part anyway... you didn't really respond to my comments!

RV said...

Brown + james is only better than Pargo because its 2 talents versus one. If they were joined at the hip, then i'd agree, but individually neither is better than Pargo. James has shown the potential to be, but as shown by his 7 mins per game with the Hornets, its safe to say he didn't show it last year. Like I replied at SLAM, he did the same for Houston last year, playing well early on, then fell off. Julian Wright is definitely talented, but still a second year player, and they're likely to have off nights and therefore can't always be counted on. i did state they're starting 5 is very solid, but the problem is there isn't much behind that. The spurs got ran over by the Lakers, so i'm not sure they are a worthy opponent anymore at their age. They have problems with any team that can run, which includes the Hornets. Its not so much that they aren't good enough, i just think other teams are better and deeper. With the Lakers adding another big guy, that just one more guy Chandler has to worry about. He can't hold his own against Yao or Shaq. I don't see a team problem with them, but a matchup problem.

RV said...

oh ok, sometimes you lose things on purpose LOL...

Caleb said...

If you compare the careers of James and Pargo, James has been the superior player the whole time. Its true he only played 7 minutes a game last year, but that's last year. This year he will be the 2nd PG of the bench and he will most likely provide just as many positive contributions as Pargo, and likely more because he will shoot at a higher percentage (Pargo was ridiculosuly streaky).

If its James vs Pargo, James wins. Go look at the numbers yourself, or go over to and check out their James vs Pargo analysis. Adding Brown in the mix is just a bonus.

As for Wright, well yes he's still developing, and will have off nights - but the defensive combination of Wright and Posey is going to give a lot of teams fits. Our bench struggled offensively this year, but were one of the best defensive benches in the league. I expect to see even better bench defense and a small boost in their offensive production.

The Hornets played well against the Lakers last year... and yeah, they'll have Bynum + Gasol - but I'm not jumping on that hype train until I see it actually produce results. Granted, the Lakers probably will be a huge challenge for the Hornets... but I'm just saying its a challenge they shouldn't be counted out of. Let's remember that the Lakers had big problems defending the Celtics pick and roll, and the Hornets are a pick and roll based team and do it extremely well.

Oh and as for Chandler, he's a great defender and has shown that he *can* slow down some of the league's most talented big men.

Sorry, to be so long-winded.... but there you have it.

RV said...

I dont mean to compare Pargo and James to each other, but more to how they both contribute. James has better career number in large part to two great seasons he had, which means the other weren't too good and is an example of his inconsistency. If he becomes consistent, then hes definitely better, i'm not sure he'll get it back though because he's more of a rythm player. Playing alow number of minutes, which he will behind CP, makes it difficult for him to get in a rythm, part of the reason why he struggled sharing time with Rafer in Houston. Everything else we'll have to wait and see.

Caleb said...

Oh and if do want to look at that short write-up about Pargo and James -

Anyway... I wasn't trying to bash your preview or anything, I just think you got the Pargo thing wrong and overstated the depth problems. I'm not saying the Hornets are definitely going to win it all, I just think that at this point they can be considered contenders.

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