Also see links to all the previews at CelticsBlog.com
Archive for October, 2008
Because would I be the Hive Queen if I didn’t make you aware of the good word on Hornets freebies? (Dariusz called me the Hive Queen the other day… I’m going to keep it. Cause, you know, I devour all my mates when I’m finished with them. And also, I blog the Hornets.) The Hornets 2008-09 promotional schedule is out! And I would not want you to miss anything that’s free.
So I am promoting the promotions.
Some Freebie Highlights:
10/21 vs. Pacers: Pack the Hive in Pink, aka Breast Cancer Awareness Night. That’s tonight. Now I feel sort of bad for my scorn of all pink women’s sports gear, because you’re supposed to wear pink. Guys, I’m sure you can come up with a dress shirt. If not, you are clearly not as preppy as me.
10/27 Swarm @ Fulton Square: A block party like the one they had during the playoffs, from 5:30-8:00. The players will be there. Food, drink, and gear will be there. Music and freebies will probably also be there.
11/1 vs. Cavaliers: Opening Night. Free t-shirts and schedule magnets.
11/8 vs. Heat: Hornets car flags.
12/10 vs. Bobcats: Retro New Orleans Buccaneers night. CP3/Buccaneers bobbleheads to the first 8,000.
12/17 vs. Spurs: Gold towels.
12/20 vs. Kings: Hornets Christmas ornaments.
1/19 vs. Pacers: The night we’ve all been waiting for… DAVID WEST BOBBLEHEADS! But… with the new uniforms, I am wary about how he’ll look posed in a funny picture with the rest of the guys. (And also, what Star Wars quote I could possibly use next. I guess by then, we’ll know. Always in motion is the future.)
2/4 vs. Bulls: Tyson Chandler basketball, first 5,000 fans. I don’t know what it is, but I know I want it.
2/18 vs. Magic: Hornets beeeeaaaaaadds!
3/5 vs. Mavs: Hornets swirlers. Again, I don’t know what it is, but I’m sure there’s a treasured place for it in the collection of random Hornet-colored stuff in the corner behind my entertainment center.
3/7 vs. Thunder (HA! Lame): Honeybees poster. If, you know, this type of thing is your bag, baby.
3/18 vs. T-Wolves: Peja action figure (!!!!!! I need!)
4/12 vs. Mavs: Last home game before the playoffs (optimism, optimism). Team poster.
But I would continue to check the schedule, because they’re always adding stuff as the season goes on. And also, I noticed that Every. Single. Home. Game has a Buzzfest this year. Even in the cold. And you know what that means.
Dollar dollar beers, ya’ll.
Oh, and on a funny note, check out Ball Don’t Lie’s season preview for the Hornets. And, um, look very carefully? (I have no idea. But it cracks me up.)
Tom: Indy Cornrows
So we’ve all heard it said (or, um, said it ourselves) that the Hornets’ main weakness in their quest to be a championship team is a lack of depth behind future-All Star-hopeful Tyson Chandler. We can all stop fearing the lack of depth right now, because this is going to be Hilton Armstrong’s year.
Yep, Hornets Hype supports Hilton Armstrong. And we don’t wanna hear you badmouth our man.
Previously, on Hilton Watch…
Last season Hilton Armstrong played in 65 regular season games, averaging 11.3 minutes per game and scoring 2.7 points while grabbing 2.5 rebounds, in his second year. After a strong preseason, a lot of people were hoping it would be his breakout year. Alas, it was not to be. Citing frustration with Hilton’s lack of confidence, Byron Scott started benching him in favor of Melvin Ely or even Ryan Bowen, two players with maybe less of the raw package but more of the drive to play the way Coach Scott expected his backup bigs to play.
You want confidence? We’ll give you confidence.
Confidence is a wacky thing. You want your backup center to have it. But how’s he supposed to get it, if he gets benched for making mistakes? How’s he supposed to get it, if everyone’s hating on him? We came up with some ideas…
- Gain some muscle. Check! Hilton’s looking very good in camp, and visibly a little stronger than last year.
- Get some badass tats. Nothing says, “Don’t mess with me” like a huge nasty tattoo of something really, really badass. Or, if badass isn’t his style, he should talk to D. West about his collection of self-affirming ink slogans (No, really. Every tattoo D. West has screams pride and confidence) and emulate that look.
- Talk more trash. Helps you get in the mood for nasty shot-blocking exploits.
- Remember that you are 6-11. Just freakin’ elbow that guy outta your way. You’re bigger. Believe us. But,
- Get smart about picking your battles. Hilton needs to make those fouls count. Racking up weak touch fouls doesn’t help the team. If you’re gonna get whistled, you better have knocked the guy on his ass.
- Do not pass when you are under the basket. Go up. Straight up. Do not pass go, do not collect $100. If there is someone in the way, see #4.
- Remember you are younger than any of the dudes competing for your minutes. Hilton’s already got an edge over Ely or Marks. The team wants him to succeed.
- Come to Hornets Hype. Because we are ALWAYS GOING TO SAY SOMETHING GOOD. SO THERE.
Why Hilton Armstrong? Because the Times Picayune upped their coverage, and we can’t harass them anymore this season, and we need something to do. Because big men sometimes take awhile to develop. Ask Chicago how they feel about trading T.C. Because there is great shot-blocking potential here. Because if the Hornets are semi-favorites now, imagine how strong they’d be with a 1-2 combo at center.
So if Hilton gets benched or has an invisible game, and you want to bitch about him, go do it somewhere else! Because we officially support Hilton Armstrong! And we are going to do it, like, to a rabid degree. You have been warned.
Unsurprising. The Hornets are fabulous everywhere they go!
Anyway, the Hornets are on a 4-0 tear in the preseason, and are looking like the second coming of… well, something really, really good that came before. Discuss.
Just the other day, I was talking to Ron over at 247 about the battle many souces on the internet have for legitimacy. Other than those established, time-proven, reliable sites, there is a wide perception that internet souces could be just as false as true. Luckily, as basketball bloggers, we have a general indicia of reliability, supported by the basic premise of our existence. That is, for example, why would a Hornets blogger take the time to blog about the Hornets and spout a bunch of lies? It wouldn’t make much sense. But that said, I think a lot of it has to do with content. If TT6 says the Hornets are in Berlin, you can verify that from official team sources. If I say D-West had 18 rebounds, go to NBA.com and double-check my stats. I’ll vouch for anything on this site, but we always welcome corrections when we’re wrong.
The flip side of this is reader/viewer/listener responsibility. I can tell you this much, I’m always skeptical of souces, but some are more inherently reliable than others. For example, Rohan over at athehive has a lot more to lose by saying something blatantly false, like the Spurs are owned by the KKK than some anonymous poster on his site. As an owner of a blog, if you lie, people will stop reading your site (or you may be a target of a defamation website). If you’re an anonymous poster, you have no stake. A grey area in this spectrum of reliability is that which is based on opinion and not “news,” such as blogs, TV talk shows, talk radio, and generally any souce of information that is not an established “news” source. Another issue is that the government does not generally have the ability to restrict untrue statements, but the public, I believe, has a responsibility to do so.
Where does this all come from? Well in the era, where we have downright lies in the public arena, this impacts the reliability of the internet at large. Take for example the blatantly false “Maureen Dowd” article which has circulated in emails accusing Barack Obama of being primarily financed by foreign investors (totally false), or internet postings of the Sarah Palin interview with Katie Couric that makes Palin look like a total moron, which are actually transcripts of SNL’s satire of this event. I raise these two examples, because as prominent as the presidential election is, there are people out there who believe the lies, who believe that something they get in an email from a friend or on a random website must be true: not because they’re dumb, just because it’s the only story they have, and they either have a predisposition to believe what they read or are unwilling to verify its authenticity.
Again, you may be asking yourself, why is this in a basketball blog? Because at the end of last week, two jackass talk radio hosts alleged that Magic Johnson had faked having AIDS. This is precisely the type of story that you will hear a year from now as if it were true. All because two guys, either totally ignorant, or so desperate for ratings, would say something so stupid. It’s unacceptable. Magic says they shouldn’t be fired, but he lashed out at them for trivializing both his own tribulations and the amount of work he’s put into helping others with the same disease. Fair enough. But it also highlights the onus that is on all of us to turn those stations off. To delete the stupid emails we get in our inboxes that are totally fake. And to turn off the news stations when you hear the [insert political party here] pundit trying to tell you that [insert politician's name here] had the greatest debate performance ever, or the best campaign, etc., and it’s obvious that the person isn’t even a source of news anymore, but just an advertising mouthpiece for that campaign. Spin is just that, a centrifuge of chosen presentation wrapped around the truth and shiny. Are you looking at the truth, or the shiny parts?
TT6 recently noticed a highly misogynist string of comments over at a popular website the other day, discussing the WNBA, and was compelled to speak out. The power of information is great, and its influence can be insidious. That’s why it’s always on the reader/viewer/listener, to recognize that they’re being given a filtered story, related through a focused lens, and spun however the relator wants to relate that story. Take it for what it is. Here, at this site, we don’t try and hide what we do. We’re about Hyping the Hornets. But we also try to do that in a truthful manner. And if we ever put something in an unfair light, we expect to be called on it.
Now back to your regularly scheduled Hornets blog.
Jake Kerr: Mavs Moneyball
grungedave and UofTOrange: The Dream Shake
Joshua Coleman: 3 Shades of Blue
San Antonio Spurs
Graydon Gordian: 48 Minutes of Hell
Also see links to all the previews at CelticsBlog.com
… continues to lay down the law in the regular season, I will have to give him his own tag. And it will be, “I’m Mike James, Bitch!”
I felt the need to announce that. Because I say that all the time in my head, and I can’t be the only one. Can I?
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.
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: