When David West sustained a season-ending injury March 24 at Utah, conventional wisdom dictated that 2010-11 was headed to a forgettable finish for the Hornets. Instead, New Orleans went 5-5 over the final 10 games of the regular season, then put a scare into the two-time NBA champion Lakers in the playoffs. Carl Landry was a significant reason for both occurrences.
In a season that included a large number of surprising developments on the court, the 6-foot-9 power forward's 2010-11 was a microcosm of the entire team. During his two-plus months in NOLA, the four-year NBA veteran quickly became greatly appreciated both on and off the court. Landrys aggressive attacking style of play was so well-received, in fact, that a few fans commented to me that hed already become their favorite player. When I relayed some of those comments to Landry after the season, he seemed genuinely surprised and quickly responded for real?
Every summer when I compile these year-end recaps, I always have far more comments and information than I can squeeze into each article. As a result, in the Big Easy Buzz blog I'm continuing to empty out the notebook and listing some of the additional quotes on Hornets players that didnt find their way into the story. Here are a few Landry-related comments:
On the Hornets team chemistry:
Chris (Paul) is definitely our leader. I look up to guys like Emeka and David West, guys I watched while I was in college. They were older than me in the league. They are really good teammates and Im glad to be a part of it.
On being a go-to guy:
I just try to be aggressive. I try to figure out where I have the advantage against my defender, and use my strength on smaller defenders, or quickness against bigger guys. Dell Demps and the coaching staff welcomed me with open arms and just have a lot of faith and confidence in me.
On whether Landry should be a starter or reserve in the NBA:
I think Carl Landry is a really good player. I dont get caught up in guys starting or coming off the bench. I was in San Antonio for many years, and Manu (Ginobili) came off the bench for the entire time I was there. I thought he played big minutes. Another guy like Jason Terry and Lamar Odom, what are those guys? Theyre really good basketball players who play big minutes. Thats why I put Carl Landry in that category.
On what he learned about Landry after the trade:
We were able to see what we thought Carl was. We had an idea that Carl could score. Now, we didnt know he was going to have to start and score the way he did, but it was a pleasant surprise for sure. The thing I like about Carl is that he was willing to take the criticism that goes with trying to pick up the system. It was hard to pick up a system in 25 games and he did it. Then, when he was called upon to start, he was an anchor for us and helped carry us into the playoffs. I didnt anticipate him being able to shoulder that load, but if there is anything I did learn about him, it was that he was able to take on more responsibility.
On Landrys strengths and one reason he was acquired in February:
He shoots the ball better than people give him credit. Carl can put the ball in the hole. He did that on a number of occasions when he was in Houston and Sacramento. For us, we need that. We havent had a guy come off the bench and score 20 in a long time. The guy who did it (Marcus Thornton) was in Sacramento. Marcus was that guy. We just have a different version of Marcus now
Losing Marcus wasnt easy. Marcus gave us some things that not a lot of guys can give teams. But we thought we had to give up some value to get something we needed. From a fan standpoint, I know its tough on the fans, but in the future I think its something we can build on, having a guy like Carl.
On one factor that led to Landrys acquisition:
When I was in Portland, Carl was in Houston and we had a (2009 first-round) playoff battle against them. Ill never forget (that) the energy and effort he brought basically changed the game for their team. He made it hard on LaMarcus Aldridge to catch the ball and score at all. And he was knocking down shots, dunking the ball, and he had the right kind of energy. When he became available, I looked back at that. That was my reference point with him and thinking about him.