As part of Hornets.coms look ahead to the 2009-10 season, we're examining what several of the major publications are writing about the team. The second preview magazine Ive seen this fall, Lindys ($6.99), focused on New Orleans relative lack of firepower last season around Chris Paul and David West. Lindys predicts a third-place finish in the Southwest Division and No. 7 seed in the conference.
Veteran NBA writer Al Iannazzone described the issue this way: The Hornets needed to get Paul and West more help. Later in the article, Iannazzone quoted Jeff Bower as saying, Its difficult to play 5-on-2, and there were stretches toward the end of the year and in the playoffs where it was noticeable where all the attention was going.
Iannazzone wrote, Looking to change that, the Hornets drafted UCLA point guard Darren Collison, traded for LSU shooting guard Marcus Thorntons draft rights, landed Emeka Okafor and two days later signed Ike Diogu. Those moves pale in comparison to the Lakers signing Ron Artest and re-upping Lamar Odom or San Antonio trading for Richard Jefferson, signing Antonio McDyess and drafting Pitt power forward DeJuan Blair. But the Hornets addressed their needs for size, toughness, inside scoring and a capable backup for Paul they hope. Whether it closes the gap between them and some of the elite teams in the West remains to be seen.
A few of the other major topics Lindys addressed in its preview of the 2009-10 Hornets:
On second-round pick Marcus Thornton and the teams uncertain two guard position, the magazine wrote, shooting guard is a weakness for the Hornets. In time, Thornton could change that. Hes a scorer, moves well without the ball and is an underrated passer. He could give the Hornets depth at a position where they need it.
The publication was printed before Darius Songaila was acquired by the Hornets, so there is obviously no mention of what he may do at the 4. But on the teams desire to decrease the minutes and workload of David West, Lindys wrote, The Hornets would like (Wests) production to stay the same, but his minutes to go down a little and hope the signing of Ike Diogu will accomplish that. The player and team hope this is a case of right place, right time
The well-traveled Diogu has been waiting for a chance to play consistently and show hes better than his career averages of 6.1 points and 3.1 rebounds. He should get the chance here.
The magazines final word on the Hornets: For this team, health always is a key. If key players can stay healthy, the Hornets could resemble the 56-win team of two years ago, but probably still dont have enough to get them over the top.