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BREAKING DOWN THE DEAL
By: Bob Licht, @hortonhomers
December 21, 2011

We all know what Chris Paul meant to this franchise and to the city of New Orleans. From the time he arrived as the fourth overall pick in the 2005 NBA draft as an exciting, dynamic, game changing All Star on the court to his warm-hearted participation in the post-Katrina rebuilding of New Orleans, Paul has always been the consummate professional. We will all cherish the passion he brought to this city and the incredible will to win he provided the Hornets team.

But, following his trade to the LA Clippers on December 14th the Hornets organization turned the page from the CP3 Era.

What DID the Hornets really receive for their superstar point guard? Assets. Plenty of assets.

A dynamic, young scoring guard; a 7-foot center two years removed from an all-star season; a young, athletic small forward with tremendous potential; and a probable high lottery pick in the 2012 NBA draft.

Todays In The Lane column uses original scouting reports on the three new players PLUS a brief overview of their subsequent pro careers to help you better understand how they should impact the Hornets this season and for seasons to come.

ERIC GORDON | 6-3
  • 215
  • 23 YRS OLD
  • INDIANA UNIVERSITY

    Original NBA (College HoopsNet) Scouting Report:
    Overall: An explosive, athletic shooting guard.

    Strengths: An explosive scorer topped 30 points in three of his first four NCAA games. Capable passer with decent court vision. Very quick and athletic. Relentlessly attacks the hoop. Great leaper. Very sweet looking shot. Shoots for a very high percentage from the floor, the foul line and behind the three-point arc. Strong build NBA strength. Poised - used to playing in front of hostile crowds.

    Weaknesses: Undersized for an NBA two-guard some sites have him listed at only 63. Very young and inexperienced will only be 19-years-old when the NBA season tips off. Turnover prone notches more turnovers than assists. Needs to work on point guard skills for the NBA.

    Projected 2008 Draft Range: Top five pick (was selected 7th overall by the LA Clippers).


    NBA CAREER: Averaged a career-high 22.3 PPG last season (56 games). Enters his 4th season with a career PPG average of 18.1. Excellent FT shooter (.810 career). Has increased his assists/game in each of his first three NBA seasons (4.4 last season).

    IN THE LANE COMMENT: Will be Hornets #1 scoring option. Assist numbers indicate he is a much better distributor than most have given him credit for. Teammates call him an underrated defender with a very high ceiling on both ends of the floor.



    AL-FAROUQ AMINU | 6-9
  • 215
  • 21 YEARS OLD
  • WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY

    Original Scouting Report from Washington Times/Sports Bank:
    Overall: Aminu is a well-rounded small forward who has yet to come close in reaching his full potential as a basketball player. For a player his with his size and strength, his all-around skill set is outstanding. Many people were surprised he chose to return to school after his freshman year as he almost certainly would have been a lottery pick which he will certainly be this year.

    Strengths: Exceptional athlete who thrives in the open floor...Terrific off the bounce when attacking the basket...Great ball-handler...Dangerous along the baseline...Leaping ability...Improved free throw shooter which will be at important at the next level due to his slashing ability...Very active on the glass...Length makes him an effective defender...Good strength ready for the next level

    Weaknesses: Poor outside shooter...Plays a little out of control at times especially in one-on-one situations...Can be a much stronger finisher at the rim rather trying to make the fancy acrobatic-like shot...Needs to sharpen up his defensive skills...Too often finds himself in foul trouble

    Projected Draft Range: Lottery in 2009 (was selected 8th overall in 2010 by the LA Clippers).


    IN THE LANE COMMENT: Very raw at just 21 years of age, he displayed his explosiveness in New Orleans during his rookie season with a career high 20 point effort. Should be a great compliment to Trevor Ariza at small forward and could play some power forward. Length and athleticism will serve the Hornets well in Monty Williams system, which emphasizes defense.



    CHRIS KAMAN | 7-0
  • 265
  • 29 YEARS OLD
  • CENTRAL MICHIGAN

    Original Scouting Report from www.thedraftreview.com (2003):
    Strengths: Solid athlete who runs of the court well and is an above average leaper... Post footwork is superb for a player his age and could be the best in college among NBA center prospects ... Has a nice assortment of low post moves when his back is to the basket... Uncommon for most big men Kaman is capable of finishing around the basket with either hand ... Tough kid who enjoys physical contact in the lane ... For his position he is a very good free throw shooter... Shows soft touch on his turnaround jumper... Understands how to utilize the glass on his hook shot in the lane ... Extremely aggressive when it comes to getting position on the blocks ... Does a good job of keeping the ball high after receiving it... Because of his aggressive play he draws a good number of fouls from his defender... Decent shot blocker who uses his above average leaping ability and long arms ... Not a bad post passer out to the perimeter even when being constantly double teamed ... Solid rebounder due to his level of athleticism and hustle ... Offensively he shows great shot selection as he doesn't try to stray from his strengths ...

    Weakness: Needs to add more upper body strength to aid him in the post... Defensively he will have to work on playing better positional post defense as he relies on shot blocking ability a little too much ... Level of competition will be a question mark but to his credit he has shown that he can play with the big boys ... Could stand to expand his shooting range out to 15-16 feet from the basket... Doesn't always get his body wide enough when establishing himself in the lane ... This can at times effect the guards from getting him the ball effectively ... Double teams can trouble him when he fails to recognize them quickly ... Can at times be a little overaggressive and pick up cheap fouls ... Will need to work on his rebounding fundamentals such as boxing out... Needs to improve on rebounding out of position more effectively ... Although he shows great timing on his blocks, he tends to bite on pump fakes from time to time ... Will need to improve his stamina with added conditioning ... Could stand to gain 15-20 pounds of muscle to his body ...

    Projected Draft Range: High Lottery (LA Clippers selected him 6th overall in 2003).


    IN THE LANE COMMENT: Career averages of 11.8 PPG, 8.3 RPG, and 1.4 BPG indicate he has lived up to his potential. Is in the prime of his career and will be extremely motivated this season in the final year of his contract and to erase memories of an injury-plagued 2010-11 season (32 games played). He could return to 2009-2010 All Star form (18.5 PPG/9.3 RPG) as the Hornets main low post option this season.

    The other piece to the puzzle in this trade for the Hornets is the unprotected lottery pick from the Minnesota Timberwolves. Actually, the Bees receive the better of the T-Wolves or Clippers #1 pick in 2012. LA actually acquired this draft choice back in 2005 in the Sam Cassell trade.


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