Hornets Hype

In a basement. In our pajamas.

Last Years Record: 56-26, 1st SW, 2nd round
Key Losses: Jannero Pargo, Bonzi Wells
Key Additions: James Posey, Devin Brown, Sean Marks (Oh, you said key? Posey)

1. What significant moves were made during the offseason?

Well, the Hornets went into the offseason stressing that they were confident with their core and were only looking to add key bench pieces. So they traded their low first round draft pick and (over)spent their free agent dollars on James Posey, who they gambled on bringing that championship aura. You can’t have a guy making $6 million to sit on the bench, so the team let Pargo go and put their money on Mike James having a bigger role this year. And, actually, the money was already on him, so why not? Any fans who wanted more offseason moves were just dreaming, because I think we knew Bower & Scott didn’t want to tweak a good thing too much. In fact the most significant move was extending Chris Paul’s contract, so he’ll be safely here for 4 more years.

2. What are the team’s biggest strengths?

a) Team Chemistry. The players seem to genuinely like each other. More than that, they complement each other, especially on offense. Peja is great in his “I stand back and throw bombs” role because that’s all he’s asked to do. David West can be dangerous from a variety of spots on the floor. Mo Pete hits enough 3’s that you can’t quite leave him alone in his corner either. Tyson Chandler and Chris Paul perfected the pick and roll that many teams tried– but couldn’t quite manage– to take away from them last season. Byron Scott has deliberately put together this combination of players, and he wasn’t messing with it this offseason.

b) Chris Paul. The right man in the right city at the right time. He will not be stopped.

3. What are the team’s biggest weaknesses?

Still depth. Still up front. The Hornets added Posey and subtracted Pargo as the 6th man. They added some extra bit players who aren’t really going to be mega difference makers. I think the combo of Mike James/Devin Brown is capable of doing what Pargo did. I think if the D has been slightly upgraded to the point (this is where Posey comes in) where the bench can hold a lead like it’s their job to do, then that’s cautiously good. But not by enough of a margin to say that the Hornets don’t still have a depth problem.  If Julian Wright and Hilton Armstrong make big strides, and the rest of the bench is committed, they could pull this out and be better than last year. Injuries to Paul, West, or Chandler might not be able to be overcome, so we’re just going to have to cross our fingers. The team has also gotten a little older, but ask the Spurs and Celtics what’s wrong with that.

4. What are the goals for this team?

A dream date with the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals just eluded the Hornets last year. It’ll be what they’re gunning for this season.

5. Blah, blahblah blah blah blah attendance blah blahblahblah. Blah?

The Hornets have sold over 10,500 season tickets so far, and that’s not including half season or partial packages. For a comparison, last November/December it was not uncommon to have 10,500 people in the entire arena. And that was a good night.

The people of New Orleans are slow to warm up to outsiders, and would you trust a team that was barely yours to begin with before it bolted to Oklahoma for two seasons while your city drowned both literally and figuratively? The people who rehash these ignorant attendance articles really need to put their heads where New Orleanians’ heads are before they write that we’re too stupid to know a good thing when it’s in front of us. The people of New Orleans are not stupid, and they appreciate the grit it takes to rise up to heights of which most people believed you weren’t capable. I think there was a distinct turning point last season, and it wasn’t something you could measure– it was something you could almost feel. The Hornets won people over. I should know; I am one of them.

I say you can gauge excitement about a team by looking at how kids are reacting. Now, I fortunately happen to have firsthand evidence of this, since my “real” job involves kids. And I am telling you that kids in New Orleans LOVE Chris Paul. This crosses racial and socioeconomic boundaries. They worship him. Do not underestimate the impact of the whining, pleading, and begging of thousands of Chris Paul-enamored kids on parental willingness to spend the entertainment dollars on Hornets tickets. Especially because Chris Paul has been and continues to be clean cut, polite, and generally perfect from a marketing and PR perspective.

Finally I have to say the Hornets organization worked overtime last year to get people to show interest in the team, and it finally started to kick in around February. Does your team have block parties with dollar beers and brass bands before games? Did thousands of people show up for it on a Sunday afternoon in the pre-season? (Shit, New Orleanians will show up to watch plants grow, if there are dollar beers.) No? Then I guess we just be bringing the party down here in da NOLA.

To sum up? Attendance: do not want to focus on this year. Next, please.

Rolling 18,000 deep at New Orleans Arena

Rolling 18,000 deep at New Orleans Arena

Predicted Record: 58-24

Because we totally wimped out when it came to the scary 60 numbers. And because it’s not the weakness of the Hornets, it’s the strength of the West. Like last season, it’ll just be difficult for any team in the Western Conference to reach the 60 mark.

And finally, I would just like to say that this is my FIRST full season as a basketball fan, and I cannot be more excited.

Other Hornets previews on this fine Thursday morning:

Hornets 247 | At the Hive

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26 Responses to “New Orleans Hornets 2008-09 Baby!”

  1. Matt-Storm Surge says:

    I got a sales call from the Hornets over the weekend. Any other sales call and I in a polite but borderline surly manner, remind them I’m on the do-not-call list. This includes people I already do business with and am satisfied with their product/service/appearance. Sales call = epic fail for them.

    I was borderline in tears with the ticket guy because I soooooo want season tickets. Id even be happy with a 10-game package, but money’s so tight, its just not responsible for me kick down like that. What makes it worse is that if/when I can afford them, there may not be any left.

    So, dont mention attendance. I and many like me will be seraching through our couches regularly during these trying economic times and buying Hornets tickets using the only disposable income we have.

  2. Aww! See, I think that’s a different situation. I realize there are going to be lots of people in the same boat. But for instance the difference between this season and last is going to be that you WANT to go. Like, you actually know the team is here. People didn’t even know THAT last year. I’m just sick of reading about how everyone in New Orleans sucks and doesn’t deserve the Hornets.

    You do enough for the Movement! (And I can’t really afford my season tickets either….)

  3. Hahaha, I like your question #5. I still can’t believe that ~15,000 preseason game figure! To think there were concerns that the Hornets couldn’t reach the minimum average last year…

  4. One thing that really excited me this year is how the team has come out of camp. They have been intense, focused and making all the little plays in their two preseason games so far. I think they are really sending a message that they don’t just care about how the season ends, but how it starts. The preseason standings may not count, but first impressions do. I think the Hornets want people to be nervous when they see Nola on their schedules. So far, so good. I’m stoked for the real campaign to get underway. No way these guys aren’t in contention for a title this year.

  5. ticktock… you are right on about the attitude of New Orleanians when it comes to hard work and acheivement. To show my New Orleans roots, I’m going to start with an example from none other than the Saints: Why do folks in this town love Marques Colston?… because he was drafted in the 250’s back in ’06 and was a long shot to make any team. He fought his way onto the Saints roster and is now their #1 wide receiver. Why do New Orleanians love Chris Paul?… because he is 6’0 (on a good day) but has worked tirelessly since he got into this league. Pound for pound, he is the greatest player in this decade, and he’s not done. Why do the folks in New Orleans love the Hornets?…. simply put, like the other examples, the Hornets are odds-beaters. Pundits and so-called “experts” have downed this city for years and years, and the people that live here and love this place want to belive that they can beat the odds. We will rally around anything that gives us that kind of hope. These examples are just a few.

    And to those pundits and experts, I say “Go F%&k yourself!”

  6. Okay so I choose to discuss random NBA stuff here because I hear intellectual responses and not just retarded laker fans going “woo kobe” and crap like that. Does anyone else think that the Clippers have a good chance of being the best team in CA this year or is it just me. People talk about Bynum but if Chris Kayman stays healthy and with Camby at power forward, Ricky Davis at SF, the rookie Eric Gordon at guard withBaron Davis(even though I hate him for his work ethic) at point with Al Thorton developing pretty fast I think this will be a serious contender so I personally hope to see a great performance from them and hopefully a win tonight, preseason or not I love watching the lakers lose….and to end my comment GO HORNETS!!!!!!

  7. Michael– Damn, you were right, too! And by 27… I’m not saying I’m wishing bad luck on another team to start the season, but it wouldn’t do the Hornets any harm if the Lakers’ personnel issues (Odom, Bynum, Phil Jackson moving people around, getting everyone on the same page and egos happy) kept them occupied a little longer.

    Mikey & mW– Early reviews coming in… Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie on the Hornets/Pacers game:

    “Yes, it’s only a preseason pairing, and an early one at that; but the New Orleans Hornets look like a team that could waltz to the Western Conference finals in its sleep… The Hornets had a lot to do with that. This was a team brimming with energy, pride, and heart; especially by the aforementioned ‘preseason standards.’… This could be the start of a special, special season. Pay attention.”

  8. Okay, seriously, what happened to The Bonz?

    Locker room situation? Playoff performance? High salary demands? I’ve liked the guy for awhile… it’s killing me!

  9. I was disappointed they didn’t bring Bonzi back, but once they got Pose, there was nowhere to fit him.

    As for the best team in the Golden state? Not the Clips. I’d say Lakeshow, O-town, Clips, and Cowbells. In that order.

  10. I was looking on the hornets roster and it had some guy “Jared Jordan” on there. Who the F*@? is that?

  11. I keep calling him Jordan Jared Jordan, or Jared Jordan Jared. It’s the two first names.

    Oh, and I guess, to be more specific, he’s a point guard from Marist who was invited to camp, and Byron Scott said complimentary things about his play Weds. http://www.nola.com/hornets/t-p/index.ssf?/base/sports-3/1223530529135840.xml&coll=1

  12. thanks! Cant wait till regular season so I can watch these games instead of following the boxscore on yahoo sports. Does anybody know if there is a radio station that picks up the game in Baton Rouge? I cant seem to find one 1300 am usta, but i believe gutav broke it down.

  13. Man, you could definitely get it in BR if it was on AM radio instead of FM. They do broadcast them online on NBA.com, if you sign up, which I think is free– hey, it must be, because I did it and I only do things that are free. But you have to be attached to your computer all night. It is definitely bugging me that CST doesn’t have the preseason. I guess the Europe games may be televised somewhere, but it’ll be either at 2 PM or a rebroadcast.

    And finally,

    I’m Mike James, bitch! (I know it is the preseason, but At the Hive has to start feeling slightly vindicated anytime now…..)

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