Marks earns return to Hornets in 2009-10, re-signs

Thursday, August 27, 2009
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

Once again throughout the upcoming 2009-10 season, I will be scouring the Internet on a weekly basis to post and discuss impartial NBA power rankings produced by various national websites. Yesterday, NBA.com got an early start by releasing an interesting summer edition, factoring in recent transactions.

Somewhat contradictorily, NBA.com listed New Orleans at No. 11, but also published mostly skeptical comments about whether the Hornets have actually improved this summer. The excellent NBA.com writer John Schumann’s assessment: “Does swapping Tyson Chandler for Emeka Okafor make the Hornets a better team? Not necessarily. And trading Rasual Butler for nothing certainly doesn't. When the Hornets won 56 games two years ago, who knew their window of opportunity would close so quickly?”

Just one man’s opinion, but I thought Dallas (sixth) and Washington (ninth) are listed too high by NBA.com. Sure, the Mavericks may be a bit deeper team now than they were last season, but I am not convinced that the exchange of Shawn Marion for Brandon Bass is the huge upgrade that many are making it out to be. Marion may be more “talented” than Bass, but for a team that badly needs inside scoring and toughness, Bass was an excellent fit off Dallas’ bench.

As for Washington, I understand the excitement about adding Randy Foye and Mike Miller, two excellent pickups. I think the Wizards should return to their previous level of winning about 45 games, if everyone is healthy. And Flip Saunders was a great hire. But in my book we’re getting a little carried away by vaulting them above teams that won 30 or more games than they did in 2008-09. I definitely wouldn’t even put them in front of Atlanta in the Southeast Division.

One team I thought was listed far too low was Miami, at No. 19. I may be guilty of this from time to time as well, but since it’s summer and everyone is talking about transactions, people are putting far too much stock into the Heat standing pat so far. Sure, the Heat have been quiet, but a couple of their most critical players are young and improving (Mario Chalmers, Michael Beasley), not on the decline. NBA.com lists Miami below Philadelphia, a team that won fewer games than the Heat last season AND lost its starting point guard in free agency. I wouldn’t have listed Miami below Philly, or placed the Heat six spots below Toronto (No. 13).

Like I said, just my take on the list. Feel free to provide your opinions and comment on where you think the Hornets should rank, with still more than two months to go until the opener at San Antonio.