By the numbers: Belinelli at career-best in treys

Thursday, December 9, 2010
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

Roughly one-fourth of the way through the regular season, the 14-7 Hornets have won twice as many games as they’ve lost, though after a recent drop-off in play and the unforeseen off-the-court news, it’s been easy to lose sight of New Orleans’ better-than-expected record.

Wednesday’s 19-point victory over a struggling Detroit team was the kind of game the Hornets need to win to regain the confidence they built during their 8-0 start. It’s imperative that New Orleans continues to prevail in home games, especially against opponents that are below .500. The upcoming schedule includes several of those instances over the next 30 days, with some extremely difficult foes mixed in on the docket. Oklahoma City (15-8) visits the Hive on Friday, with New Orleans attempting to even its season series vs. the Thunder.

Periodically on non-gamedays over the course of the season, we’ll be taking a statistical look at how the Hornets who’ve consistently been in Monty Williams’ rotation are faring. Here is the first edition of “By the numbers” for 2010-11:

STARTERS
Chris Paul: 11.0
The 6-foot point guard’s shot attempts per game, a career-low. His previous low of FGAs per game was 12.1, set in his rookie year of 2005-06. It’s worth noting that his average in this category has been trending downward, at 14.2 last season and 16.1 in 2008-09.

Marco Belinelli: 42.3
The shooting guard’s three-point percentage this season, a career-best. Prior to Wednesday’s quality performance vs. Detroit, he’d gone 2-for-9 in three recent games.

Trevor Ariza: 4
The Hornets’ ranking out of 30 teams in defensive efficiency. Ariza’s offensive stats are below par compared to the rest of his career, but he’s been a huge key to the improvement at the other end of the floor. NOLA was 21st in D last season.

David West: 3.1
Difference in scoring average between West’s 18.8 and No. 2 point producer Paul (15.7). West has led the Hornets in scoring three times, but never by more than 1.0.

Emeka Okafor: 4
Times in 2010-11 the center has blocked four shots or more in a game, something he did six times in all of 2009-10.

RESERVES
Willie Green: 47.2
The guard’s field-goal percentage this season, a career-high. One theory: this may be the best team Green has played on in the NBA. Better teammates often equal easier chances to score. The 2004-05 Philadelphia club that finished 43-39 compiled the best record of any of Green’s teams.

Jason Smith: 18.3
Minutes per game this season, highest of his career. When Smith started in place of an ill West on Dec. 3, it was just the fourth NBA start for Smith.

Quincy Pondexter: 16.0
December minutes per game for the rookie small forward. That’s nearly double his average of 8.2 in November.

Jarrett Jack: 44.8
Career field-goal percentage for the sixth-year pro. For whatever reason, it’s been a struggle to find his shooting touch so far as a Hornet, at just 25.5 percent through nine games.