|2012-13 Team Rating|
|13th Overall||27th Overall|
Stats through Jan. 22
Top pick Anthony Davis sometimes shows you why -- speed, finishing, defense -- the Hornets want to build around him. Not enough times yet. Robin Lopez and Al-Farouq Aminu are as uneven.
After missing the first two months of the season, Eric Gordon made his debut Jan. 1 and team went 6-4 in his first 10 games. Greivis Vasquez ranks 3rd in league in assists and has stepped up big time.
For a team that was going to lay down a foundation based on strong, tough defense, they are an abysmal failure, They rank 27th in team defense, allowing opponents to score almost at will.
Ryan Anderson has been doing exactly what the Hornets got him for -- making 3s. Austin Rivers got off to a shaky start and hasn't gained his confidence. Jason Smith brings energy, but no rebounding.
Monty Williams got a four-year contract extension and has the backing of the front office. But his teams have regressed on defense each season. Hasn't gotten Davis and Rivers to rise to expectations.
What does it say about the first half of your season when the most noise is by announcing a name change from Hornets to Pelicans? Don't snicker, there's history and tradition there. For one, it's the state bird of Louisiana. For another, Julia Roberts sure was fun and easy to watch in that fictional movie about the local scandal.
The Pelican Brief on the Hornets is that things might be very different if shooting guard Eric Gordon hadn't re-injured the right knee that required surgery last season and missed the first two months of the season. Without their star to carry the offense, the Hornets simply did not have enough firepower in their lineup.
With Gordon back in the lineup and looking like himself, the team won seven of nine games leading into our cutoff date of Jan. 22, but they're likely too far back to make any real run at even the West's last playoff spot.
Everything is still all about the future in New Orleans and there's no reason to think Davis can't grow into the dominant figure at both ends of the floor. With a healthy Gordon, a greatly improved Vasquez and a solid Anderson, they've got a core that can rise up and bite anyone on a given night. There's promise here.
Maybe by next year when they become the Pelicans, Davis and friends will be ready to take flight. For now as Hornets, there's no real sting.
-- Fran Blinebury
Explanation of Marking System
|Golden State Warriors||A-|
|Los Angeles Clippers||A-|
|Los Angeles Lakers||D|
|New Orleans Pelicans||C-|
|New York Knicks||D|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||A|
|Portland Trail Blazers||A|
|San Antonio Spurs||A|