|2010-11 Team Rating|
|19th Overall||5th Overall|
Stats through games of Jan. 15
The Hornets are solid if not spectacular across the front line with David West, Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza. At their best when Okafor is most assertive.
Ultimately they'll go as far as a happy Chris Paul takes them. Marco Belinelli's a welcome and much-needed addition as a shooter who can spread the floor for CP3.
It's a point of emphasis and a big reason they're back, though also a product of a grinding pace. Paul and Ariza jump the passing lanes to get steals.
Willie Green was one of the shrewdest acquisitions made by new GM Dell Demps, solidifying the backcourt. Marcus Thornton and Jason Smith have their moments.
Rookie coach Monty Williams has shown himself to be organized and focused, placed the emphasis on the defensive end and made the Hornets a tough out again.
Considering that training camp began with all of the questions swirling around Chris Paul and how committed he was to the franchise, it is quite a significant feat to arrive at the halfway mark without the same kind of hullaballoo in New Orleans that has been a distraction in Denver.
Williams admits that he was unsure of himself starting out as a head coach for the first time, but got the mainstays Paul and West quickly on his side with solid organizational skills and an emphasis on defense that he brought from San Antonio and Portland. Now they slow the game down, grind it out, try to keep it close and hope Paul can win it at the end.
The Hornets could still use size on the front line and can fall down and become mediocre when Okafor's fuse isn't lit. Everybody thinks they're playing hard and playing smart again. But nobody thinks they can make a deep playoff run. Maybe that's what keeps seats empty and keeps the big question whether the franchise can survive in New Orleans.
-- Fran Blinebury
Explanation of Marking System