HORNETS VS. BUCKS
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
October 26, 2010
With a wide array of new faces on the coaching staff and in uniform, the New Orleans Hornets open the 2010-11 regular season by hosting the Milwaukee Bucks. Wednesdays interconference matchup marks the official Hornets debut of first-year head coach Monty Williams, as well as numerous key players. Headlined by past NBA All-Stars Chris Paul and David West, only six Hornets players returned from last seasons squad.
The head-to-head encounter vs. Milwaukee begins a challenging opening schedule for New Orleans. Among the Hornets first 11 games of 2010-11, only two are against opponents that did not qualify for the playoffs last season (Houston, Los Angeles Clippers). On the plus side, seven of those 11 games will be played in the New Orleans Arena.
The Bucks are coming off a surprisingly successful 2009-10, highlighted by the emergence of then-rookie point guard Brandon Jennings and the development of center Andrew Bogut. Milwaukee was projected to finish near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, but wound up going 46-36 and claiming a No. 6 seed. In the first round of the playoffs, the Bucks nearly upset the third-seeded Atlanta Hawks, eventually losing in seven games.
A year after being projected as one of the NBAs worst teams, Milwaukee has been picked as the favorite in the Central Division by a portion of writers and broadcasters. The Bucks and Hornets will wrap up their annual two-game season series quickly in 2010-11, meeting again in Milwaukee on Saturday, Nov. 6.
Point guard, Chris Paul vs. Brandon Jennings
Due to the timing of Pauls injuries last season, he did not play in either of two games against the Bucks, making Wednesdays meeting the first time the ultra-quick guards have faced each other. At a shade over 6 feet, Jennings is similar in stature and build to Paul, but the southpaw was a bit more scoring-minded in his rookie year. Jennings tends to be a bit of a streaky shooter, so the Hornets defense will try to prevent him from getting hot early from the perimeter.
HORNETS.COM SCOUTING REPORT - Milwaukee
A closer look at the Milwaukee Bucks:
Point guard Brandon Jennings is coming off a spectacular pro debut in 2009-10, having finished in third place behind Sacramentos Tyreke Evans and Golden States Stephen Curry in Rookie of the Year balloting. The lightning-quick southpaw opened eyes around the NBA last season by racking up 55 points in a November game vs. Golden State. It was the highest single-game scoring output by a rookie since 1968.
Considered one of the NBAs most underrated players, shooting guard John Salmons came to the Bucks via a trade-deadline deal in February. The skilled offensive player sparked Milwaukee to a red-hot close to the regular season and near-upset of Atlanta in the 2010 playoffs.
Keyon Dooling has been a steady and reliable backup point guard for the bulk of his 10-year NBA career. He signed as a free agent after spending 2009-10 with New Jersey. Another member of the Nets last season, Chris Douglas-Roberts provides instant offense off the bench. Among the 100-plus NBA players with Twitter accounts, Douglas-Roberts may be the most active user.
At 5-foot-5, 135 pounds, Earl Boykins is the NBAs most diminutive player, but hes incredibly strong, bench-pressing as much as 315 pounds. From 2003-07, he averaged double-digit scoring for four straight seasons, as a member of the Denver Nuggets.
Sweet-shooting, former All-Star guard Michael Redd is recovering from a severe knee injury and expected to be out for a substantial chunk of the season.
After spending 2008-09 overseas, Carlos Delfino returned to the NBA last season and made the biggest impact of his five-year career. The native of Argentina averaged double-figure points (11.0) for the first time. He started 66 games, after making a total of six starts in four years with Detroit and Toronto.
Like Delfino, Ersan Ilyasova is an international player now in his second NBA stint, after spending time in overseas pro leagues. The native of Turkey is a dangerous scorer and excellent rebounder, despite a lean frame.
A trade pickup from Golden State during the offseason, 11-year veteran Corey Maggette is a prolific point producer. He uses his athleticism, skill and muscle to frequently draw fouls; he averaged about nine free-throw attempts per game last season.
Power forward Drew Gooden, who signed with the Bucks in the summer, can score in the low post or on mid-range shots. Gooden was a starter for the 2007 Cleveland Cavaliers, who reached the NBA Finals.
A second-round pick in 2008 from UCLA, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute has been a solid and consistent contributor for the Bucks, particularly on the defensive end.
Rugged second-year player Jon Brockmans best NBA skill is rebounding. The 6-foot-7, 255-pounder was a fan favorite with Sacramento as a rookie, known to fans as The Brock Ness Monster.
After making gradual progress throughout his NBA career, 7-footer Andrew Bogut emerged as one of the top pivotmen in the league last season. The Australian was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft taken three spots before Chris Paul but injuries hampered his development. Bogut is a feared shot-blocker and rebounder who also possesses a traditional low-post game on offense.
Rookie Larry Sanders was the 15th overall pick in this years NBA Draft. The 6-foot-11 VCU product showed impressive athletic ability and interior play during Las Vegas summer league.
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