|2009-10 Team Rating|
|16th Overall||22nd Overall|
2009-10 Season Stats
The addition of Trevor Ariza now gives another solid finishing option with David West on the break. But they still need much more out of Emeka Okafor.
As long as Chris Paul is happy and healthy (he missed 37 games a year ago), all is well. Marcus Thornton came on strong at the end of last season.
Paul will gamble and get steals, but somebody really ought to think about defending the rest of the floor and the rim. Hello, Emeka Okafor?
Reserves got a boost with shooter Marco Belinelli, who'll get plenty of open looks playing with CP3. If Peja Stojakovic is healthy, they could win a H-O-R-S-E championship.
Monty Williams is embarking on his first season as a coach, so the slate is clean. But he's worked under Gregg Popovich and Nate McMillan, two of the best.
That sound you hear isn't a Mardi Gras parade. It's the clock ticking down on the Hornets franchise when Chris Paul becomes a free agent in 2012 and can head for the door. For all of the changes in New Orleans -- new coach, new general manager, trades for Trevor Ariza and Marco Bellinelli -- by far the biggest news was Paul acknowledging publicly that he won't stick around the French Quarter just for the beignets if the team can't get back on track as a contender.
Ariza will run the floor and be able to finish in the running game while getting fed by Paul. And there is still the quiet All-Star caliber presence of David West on another wing. But if the Hornets are going to take a step back toward those 56 wins, that Southwest Division title and the No. 2 seed they achieved in 2007-08, then center Emeka Okafor will have to upgrade his contribution significantly. He did not deliver as a low-post presence on offense or show up as a defensive stopper in his first season in the Big Easy.
First-year coach Monty Williams will have to find a way to get the most out of Okafor and to instill at least a trace of all-around defensive effort into the Hornets to lift them up and keep Paul thinking he'd like to stay.
Explanation of Marking System
|Golden State Warriors||D+|
|Los Angeles Clippers||C|
|Los Angeles Lakers||A|
|New Jersey Nets||B|
|New Orleans Hornets||C|
|New York Knicks||B|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||A|
|Portland Trail Blazers||B|
|San Antonio Spurs||B+|