New Orleans Hornets: Good But Not Great

November 20th, 2010 by Jonathan Tjarks Leave a reply »
Widely predicted to miss the playoffs, the New Orleans Hornets are one of the biggest surprises of the young NBA season.

With a 10-1 record (tied for best in the league) and a +7.4 point differential (the sixth best), Hornets fans have every reason to be excited. The Chris Paul sweepstakes have been canceled for the time being.

Leading the league with a 29.06 PER (player efficiency rating, a semi-useful catch-all statistic that tries to encapsulate a player's offensive value in one number), three points higher than his nearest competitor, Paul is a front-runner for the MVP award.  

In the team's starting five, the only other player who can create his own shot is power forward David West. But at only 6'9" and with poor lateral mobility, he can be shut down by longer, athletic forwards. The Nuggets' Kenyon Martin frustrated him into shooting 40% over five games in New Orleans' first-round implosion two years ago.

The other three starters—Marco Belinelli, Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor —all depend on Paul to spoon-feed them open shots, usually off back picks and pick and rolls. Primarily jump-shooters, Belinelli and ...

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