Hornets Hype

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Archive for November, 2008

Take Me To Your Leader

By on November 30, 2008

In this morning’s Times Picayune, CP fires back at Bill Simmons. By now you’re aware of my opinion of Simmons’ column alleging the chemistry problems between Chris Paul and coach Byron Scott. But you knew Chris Paul, despite his choirboy reputation offcourt, would have something to say. You can read the whole article here, but this is CP’s quote:

For his part, Paul, too, was dumbfounded over the baseless Internet report.

“It’s crazy,” Paul said. “I figure you guys (beat writers) who are with us every day, if something was going on, you all would see it. Maybe he knows something I don’t know. If he knows something I don’t know, tell him to let me know. I would think me and coach might have one of the best relationships out of the entire NBA.

“I guess people got to have something to talk about. Maybe he should come to a game. Let’s talk. If I had a problem with coach, I’d say it. I guess he comes to one game, and he can figure it out.”

Snark! We knew CP could do snark, after the Rafer Alston incident last spring. Here’s the thing. I don’t care if it’s true or not. They were aware that it was out there, floating on the front page of ESPN.com and giving a negative impression of the team to casual NBA fans, and so they dealt with it. (Just to show you how quick that stuff travels, I’ve already read one article this weekend, and now I can’t remember where, that cited the Simmons column about the CP/Byron clash. “Reports are that Chris Paul and Byron Scott…”) Chris Paul is not going to go rogue, or go Marbury, or any junk like that.

No. You circle up, close ranks, and deal with it behind closed doors. You stick up for the team.

And you know what? I’ll throw a shout-out to the T.P. beat writers too on this one. You did something right.

The Barkley Corollary

By on November 29, 2008

Like every other sports pundit in the world, it seems, the TNT crew was talking last week about the Summer of 2010 (say it twenty-ten and hear Bryan Adams). Barkley, speaking his mind, as always, called out LeBron. He said he was disrespecting his teammates by even entertaining talk about his free agency two years away. He wondered aloud what his current teammates must be thinking. Barkley reiterated this stance last Wednesday on the radio, saying:

“If I was LeBron James, I would shut the hell up. I’m a big LeBron fan. He’s a stud. You gotta give him his props. I’m getting so annoyed he’s talking about what he’s going to do in two years. I think it’s disrespectful to the game. I think it’s disrespectful to the Cavaliers.

LeBron, clearly, could care less. Instead of saying anything about his teammates or the next two years he is under contract, instead responded: “[Barkley]‘s stupid. That’s all I’ve got to say about that.” Wow. Inspiring. But who knows, maybe Bill Simmons is right, when he posited his pet conspiracy theory:

Team LeBron is making everyone think they have a chance at LeBron in 2010 so multiple teams clear cap space and weaken themselves competitively in the short-term (like Detroit did) … which inadvertently gives Bron a better chance to win a title over these next two years!

Maybe. Who knows? But that’s the point, no one knows. It is the future. Why aren’t we focused on the great basketball being played now? The moves that might be made now? In the same vein, why hasn’t Stern stepped in? Is he just so happy that people are constantly talking NBA that he doesn’t even care about the game itself? Is he that invested in global marketing and bottom line concerns that he doesn’t even care about the game? Is that crazy or is that possible? One thing’s for sure, it’s something the media just can’t let go of.

Case in point, today’s NBA Home Page on ESPN is “The Cap Deals,” focusing on the contracts of Bibby, Odom, and Kidd. I get that financial realities are things GMs are concerned with; and because that’s real, the media has a legitimate concern with it. And at least these are all contracts that expires this year. But it doesn’t take long for the article to get to 2010. Sure, this is just one day, but now a days, it’s hard to go to an NBA web page and not find a reference to the summer of 2010. It’s lame.

Thus, I propose the Barkley Corollary: if LeBron should shut the hell up about 2010, so should everyone else. Only the GMs know their long term strategies, and they don’t like to talk about those things. Ask Jeff Bower. The man never gives a straight answer on personnel moves. Nor should he. So the rest of us, who can supply absolutely no facts, should shut the hell up about it.

The present is full of good basketball. That’s what I’ll concern myself with.

Okay. So TT6 and I have been off and on tossing around this whole “Are the Hornets Falling Apart?” storyline since yesterday evening. I think I finally figured out what the problem is. Universally, the NOLA-bound response has been critical of Simmons and ESPN. Are we being overly defensivee? I don’t think so. This isn’t just the blind, rabid homerism endemic of Jazz fans. It’s something else. It’s about representation. Funny word. Representation. It implies a filter. An author is not simply “presenting” the facts to a reader, but “re-presenting” it through his or her ideological or moral view. That’s fine. We all do it. But what ticks me off, is that for the last several years, when it comes to New Orleans and the Hornets, the representation has been wrong.

The Hornets? You mean that team in Charlotte? No, sorry, they’re in New Orleans now. Oh, but Katrina hit, they’re staying in Oklahoma, right? No again. They’re coming back. But New Orleans was destroyed and it’s as safe as a civil war-torn African nation, right? No, that’s blown out of proportion. It’s fine. But Tracy McGrady said he wouldn’t feel safe going there for the All-Star game. That’s because he’d be scared to compete at that level. It didn’t stop the Arena Bowl or the Sugar Bowl or the New Orleans Bowl, or any of the hundreds of conventions and thousands of tourists that flock still to the city every week. It didn’t stop the French Quarter Fest, Jazz Fest, or Mardi Gras. Okay, but basketball? This team is going to end up in Seattle right? No. They were dumb enough to sell their team to a guy from Oklahoma. But New Orleans is really a football town, right? There’s not enough people to keep the seats full for both the Saints and the Hornets, and those people aren’t giving up the Saints, right? Um, actually we’re among the League leaders in season ticket sales. Yeah, but people still don’t go to the games right? Hey, ass, were you listening to me? Yes, the lower bowl is about sold out and the upper bowl usually sells out or it’s close. Sure, sure, but it doesn’t matter since God ordained your city full of sin and will keep sending Hurricanes your way until it’s destroyed. Funny, I hear a lot less Iowans saying that now. Oh, but Louisiana is all corrupt, come on, some one’s gonna sell you out eventually or get caught in some gambling scandal. Leave the complaining about Harrah’s to Phil Jackson; it’s stupid. Oh. Hey, anyone sense the sarcasm?

Point is, the Hornets have had to deal with a lot more MISrepresentation than pretty much any other professional sport and the prayers Shinn sanctions before the games don’t seem to be helping. Sure, this city has been affected, but New Orleanians are hardy. At the same time, people think Katrina was just a storm. It destroyed this city, man, that doesn’t go away overnight. Homes that were just fine that day still stand wrecked and unlivable. Life is forever changed in this great American city. But that doesn’t mean we should abandon our lives or what we love. And one of those things has become the Hornets. New Orleans have a zest for life in all its facets, and basketball is now one of those things. So when it comes to the media, I don’t think it’s too much to ask for writers to have the common courtesy to get their facts straight before writing crap that they don’t know about.

Byron Scott, CP, and all the rest should be a model for the league. They’re not getting caught with drugs. They’re not beating their wives/girlfriends. They’re not talking bad about each other in the press. As Gerry V recently commented, as he traveled with the team, these guys are tight, they have fun together, they hang out on non-Hornets days; their families know each other. They’re a family. The media should love these guys. But then they wouldn’t be the Real World. They wouldn’t be The Hills. They wouldn’t be Survivor or the Rock of Love. So just like all of those “reality” shows use editing, plot prompts, and overacting to manufacture drama, the media is in on it at times. Here, it’s not even just Simmons, who apparently makes sweeping statements all the time, but ESPN, who was dumb enough to run this on their front page. But some people would rather a bunch of bullshit instead of honest work.

Look at NBATV. I mean I love their extensive coverage, but sometimes, it’s just a bunch of jackasses sitting around talking shit. Gary Payton and Chris Webber? Tip to J. E. Skeets over at Ball Don’t Lie: they’re horrible. How about some analysis? (P.S. Simmons liked these guys. Is he mental?)

Listen, the Hornets haven’t had the season they were hoping for. They have played some bad games. No problem. Let’s talk about that. Ryan at 247 wants to talk about free throw rates and turnovers. Fine. Rohan’s called out bad shooting and pace over at the Hive. Stellar. Let’s do it. But to just shoot your mouth and pretend it has any weight whatsoever just because it’s posted on ESPN.com is stupid. Of course, maybe we all need to accept some of the blame. We like talk shows and talk radio, and forget that in this country these people can say just about anything and it doesn’t make it true or right. Yet people accept these media-celebrities as sources. They’re no different than you or I, they just get paid to do it. So don’t assume something anyone says is true just because they say it.

So yes, the Hornets have been slightly disappointing this year. We all hoped they’d look like the Lakers do now. They don’t. But it’s November. I believe May will look different. Maybe not. But I hope that with a few more nationally televised games, at least the national media will present the facts about this team. Not just half-assed psycho-babble and creative ignorance.

Oh yeah, someone please tell Hubie Brown to stop saying “New Orleeeeens”. It’s an “i” sound. Like “New Orlins.” We say everything our own way down here. Get over it.

OMG! Despair! Bill Simmons thinks the Hornets’ team chemistry is in DIRE PERIL. We should be freaking out. And we should listen to him. Because he has a PhD in these things.
And because, in the second quarter of a road game in which the Hornets had yet to pull away from the Clippers, a 2-11 team, he thought, in his expert opinion, they didn’t look happy enough.

Claims the front page story on ESPN.com (yes, seriously, photographic proof to the left– slow news day what?), “I mistakenly believed it would be one of those lovefest teams that players josh around during the shootarounds before each half and hug each other too much. Nope.”

Wait, huh? Don’t they? Is he talking about the same Hornets team I’m watching? Now, usually I would say, who am I to lay doubt upon the sage and expert opinions of the Sports Guy? But I think it is fair to say I have watched more Hornets games in the past year and a half than he has, approximately, ever. And to me, the Hornets generally look like they’re having a great time out there with each other. Except for Chris Paul, who looks like he is about to go nova and kill people. But guys, this is the way he always looks on the court. Haven’t you people seen the highlight from one of the playoff wins last year, where Mo Pete comes up to hug CP, and CP swaggers and slaps him away because he’s in total game mode? It’s not that he hates Mo Pete, he’s just got his game face on.

Is there maybe a bit more tension because the Hornets aren’t doing as well as their stated goals for themselves and their team? Perhaps. You know, I would be worried if they were dropping games to teams like the Sacramento Kings and then going out and goofing around. That would show they weren’t taking the losing seriously. The thing about Chris Paul tuning out Byron Scott? I don’t know. I personally don’t think Byron Scott actually does that much on-court coaching. He mostly just knows CP is gonna do his thing, and trusts him to do it. It’s not like they need to be buddy-buddy and talk all the time.

Still, I guess Bill Simmons could be right. And we are in for ridiculous Jason Kidd-esque sabotaging and chemistry issues.

Yeah. Well, back up for a sec. And consider who we’re talking about. For example, in the same column, Simmons drops this gem:

9. Is there a dumber argument in sports than “Chris Paul or Deron Williams”?

I argued before the season, passionately, that Paul was in a different league and earned myself a few death threats from the Salt Lake City area. (You stay classy, Utah.) Check out their 2009 stats through four weeks:

• Paul: 20.5 PPG, 12.2 APG, 2.9 steals, 52.3% FG, 85.6% FT.
• Williams: 7.5 PPG, 8.0 APG, 0.0 steals, 26.7% FG, 66.7% FT.

I mean, that’s a landslide! Come on! Can we all agree to stop arguing about this?

Nice analysis there, “Sports Guy.” Oh, except for the fact that Deron Williams has played in 2 games this year for a whopping statistical sample of 32 minutes each. But I mean, you go right ahead. That’s a great time to quote stats from “four weeks” into the season. Was that paragraph meant to be sarcasm? No, I’m serious. Was it, and I just didn’t get it? Because I believe CP3 is better, as much as the next Hornets fan, but I believe the technical term for analysis like that is statistically retarded. (And if it’s sarcasm, he’s still stupid. Does he not realize that thousands of eyes-glazed-over Utah fans are going to ambush him on the way to his car in the dark of night. Does he have a death wish?)

You know what? Hit me back when this happens.

Until then let’s just say I’m not worried. As a wise man once said, ‘Get back motherf***** you don’t know me like that.”

I have added an All Star Ballot link to the first sidebar. Under the bobblehead army. You can vote right in the widget, but the only downside is it doesn’t let you leave slots empty or do a write-in. If you want to do that, you need to go here to the full page and vote.

To Clarify. What You Should Do As a Hornets Fan:

1. Vote for Chris Paul and David West.

2. Though their play hasn’t been quite up there this year, just be a homer like that and vote for Tyson Chandler and Peja Stojakovic too. Everyone else’s fans will be voting for all their players, and fewer people live in New Orleans, so we gotta represent.

3. Here you have three choices. You can either leave the rest of your ballot blank and just submit it like that (according to mW it does let you).

4. Or, you have the option to write in more Hornets players.

5. Or, fill in random other players as you see fit. Take me, for instance. After I finished voting for all the Hornets, I voted for Brandon Roy (love him), Paul Pierce (call me), Chris Bosh (awesome), Dwight Howard (he’s a beast), and Stephon Marbury (just to be a jackass). And that was just today. Who knows what I will do tomorrow…

6. Vote every day. It’s a complete and total disgrace to humanity if Chris Paul doesn’t start this year. Not that I think he won’t. But Phoenix is a mad sprawling city, and you never know.

Gumbo With Hornets

By on November 24, 2008

Hey, I wanna have lunch with Po & Mo. And now I am madly jealous. WWL TV has lunch at Emeril’s with James Posey and Morris Peterson. (Actually, I wanna have lunch at Emeril’s, period, now that I think about it. It would be infinitely better than what I had for lunch today.)

I love random Hornets video.

TT6 @ DimeMag.com Today

By on November 24, 2008

I wrote a guest post on being a girl (ha) and how I got into watching the NBA. Leaving a couple of things out, because it’s just a short post. Like how I was already a major hockey fan growing up, so sports weren’t exactly alien to me. But it’s just my funny story on how I went from staring into space at Hornets games to starting this blog, so you all can go check it out. Dime Magazine’s website is one of my daily stops for news and thoughts on what’s going on in the NBA.

(There is already one comment on whether or not I’m hot. LOL. We all know I am the queen of the ambiguous photo.)

The dreaded moment has come…. dun dun dun. Yes, the Saints are on Monday Night Football tonight the same night the Hornets play in L.A. Now, other cities with more than two professional teams might be used to this kind of thing. But we generally don’t get much overlap between the two. I mean, it’s not that hard to schedule around. But never fear, friends, because the Saints game is at 7:30 and the Hornets, on the West Coast to play the Clippers, don’t tip off till 9:30. So there should be ample time to get to watch both games.

Wait. What?

The Hornets aren’t on CST tonight. The game is not being televised. In fact the entire roadtrip is not being televised, with the exception of Denver on Thanksgiving, which will appear on TNT. Not the Clippers game, not the Portland game on Friday. Looks like Bob and Gil are just not making the trip. And they know how I feel about Brandon Roy too. They know.

I feel completely betrayed right now. Seriously. I had no idea of this travesty until this morning. And it just got worse as I pulled up the schedule and did some investigating into our wasteland week of Televised Nowhere games. Hark, the refreshing stench of someone new being added to The List. CST, it is on.

Or… not.

It’s okay, Posey. We all do. We all do.

Yes, you may touch the greatness

Stop the Madness

By on November 22, 2008

Okay.  Seriously.  We’re 10 or so games into the 2008 basketball season, and the most significant headlines are still on the summer of 2010.  Would I like to see Bosh and Wade join CP, sure?  Do I really care now?  No.  That’s Jeff Bower’s job.  And trust me folks, he has his eyes on the situation.  So, you know, I’m just sick of it.  There is a lot of good basketball out there being played now, and maybe we should all focus on that.

Which brings me to my second point about this whole situation.  I got DeShawn Stevenson’s back: Lebron is overrated.  (Author waves his hand in front of his face.)  To tank your next two seasons, as apparently the Knicks are willing to do, is retarded.  So Lebron can explode to the hole and dunk so hard that he almost breaks his wrist.  Woo.  Let me give him $30 mil a year for that.  So he’s freakishly big and fast.   Woo.  You know what James really reminds me of?  Anyone ever see that stupid pseudo-basketball game they play on trampolines, and the dudes just bounce around and jam it hard by coming down to the rim?  Yup.  That’s “_____ James.”  He can score at will.  He can pull his team through the Leastern Conference to the Playoffs.  Let me fall out of my seat.  Just one thing, this is a team sport.  You need to make your teammates better to win.  Lebron doesn’t do that. Instead of focusing on winning in Cleveland, how many of his teammates are thinking who cares what we do now, or how well we gel, or learn our schemes, because this guy is gone after 2010.  And he allows that distraction to go on to the detriment of his team because he likes the media glory.  He likes being called “_______.”

Now, you may be asking yourself, why does this guy keep putting blanks in his post.  It’s this, why the hell do people call him King James?  What does he rule other than marketing revenue? Which, when you think of it, is a self-perpetuating delusion: he’s them most marketable because everyone thinks he’s the best because he’s marketed as the best so we say he’s the best, etc.  But what does he really rule?  The NBA?  Right.  Show me a ring.  College?  Nope, didn’t go.  Oh, right, he was great in high school.  Yeah, so was Shaq, and everyone laughed at him when he said he’d won at every level other than college or pros.  Of course, Shaq shut them all up and got a ring or four.  But “King James”?  Please.

I’ve done a little poking around at titles of nobility.  And I don’t think he measures up to a King.  I considered Duke, but that brings up memories of Hunter S. Thompson, and so that’s way too good for him.  There are already guys in the League with names of Earl, Baron, and Marquis, and that would just be confusing . So I guess we should go with Viscount (pronounced vye-count).  You heard it here first, “Viscount James.”

You want to drool over him in 2010?  Go for it.  But after watching the Olympic games this past summer I honestly wasn’t impressed with James.  He always slowed down ball movement and made us more predictable.  Honestly, it was the CP, Wade, Bosh-driven second unit that impressed me most.  So if you want to put people in seats, feel free to chase VJ.  But if you want a championship, I’d look elsewhere.  Like New Orleans.  And Chris Paul.  You go for the crown, Viscount.  We’ll go for the rings.