Hornets eighth across the board in polls

Monday, January 5, 2009
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

For the third consecutive Monday, NBA.com, ESPN.com and SI.com were in agreement on where the Hornets stand among the league’s 30 teams. Each website tabbed New Orleans eighth this time. Last week, the Hornets were seventh; two weeks ago, they were ranked fifth by everyone:

NBA.com (8th, down 1 spot): “The Hornets are a better team when Tyson Chandler is on the floor, but he's played just 52 percent of his team's minutes this season thanks to injuries, foul trouble, the birth of his child and a one-game suspension for a forearm to Joel Przybilla this week. Last season, Chandler played 70 percent of his team's minutes.”
Hornets.com says: Close examination of Chandler’s numbers reveals a significant difference in how frequently he is picking up fouls, which has reduced his minutes per game from 35.2 in 2007-08 to 31.3 now. During this regular season, he has been whistled for a foul once every 8.7 minutes. Last season, it was one per every 11.5 minutes of playing time. Unfortunately for Chandler, this problem was one of the main things that prevented him from fulfilling his promise in Chicago, after he was the No. 2 overall pick of the 2001 NBA Draft.

ESPN.com (8th, down 1 spot): “The Hornets have had two cracks at the Lakers at home ... and failed to reach 90 points either time. Chris Paul and Co. get a chance Tuesday at Staples Center to avenge those two setbacks. Or at least score 90 points.”
Hornets.com says: The Lakers have accounted for two of the 10 times this season that the Hornets have failed to reach 90 points in a game. Even more telling, New Orleans has only lost four times on its home floor this season, with two of those coming against the Lakers. The Hornets’ only other home defeats both occurred more than six weeks ago, against Atlanta (Nov. 5) and Sacramento (Nov. 19).

SI.com (8th, down 1 spot): “David West continues to add to his offensive repertoire, but his defense is starting to turn some heads, too. With Brandon Roy sidelined for Portland's game against the Hornets last week, the Blazers tried to use LaMarcus Aldridge to exploit West in the low post. All West did was hold Aldridge to 13 points on 5-of-13 shooting.”
Hornets.com says: Byron Scott said throughout the offseason and preseason that defense was the one area in which West had the ability to show the most improvement. He’ll have another difficult assignment on Tuesday, when he’s matched up against Lakers power forward Pau Gasol. West would’ve also faced Utah’s Carlos Boozer to close the trip, but Boozer is sidelined with a knee injury. Still, replacement Paul Millsap returned to action Sunday from his own injury. Millsap has averaged about 20 points and 12 rebounds in his last seven appearances.