Hornets Hype

In a basement. In our pajamas.

Archive for October, 2009

I’m sure some of you remember the infamous Rafer Alston/David West/Chris Paul incident from 2007-08 (Rafer went on national TV the day before the Rockets arrived in New Orleans to play the Hornets and said David West wasn’t a star, the Hornets kicked their butts into next week, and Chris Paul was very, very sarcastic in his postgame comments– actually, it’s by far the rudest I’ve ever seen him in a press conference).

Well, the Hornets play the 3-0 Boston Celtics on Sunday. And, coincidentally or perhaps not, this happened to pop across my Twitter feed last night:

Do they not know that this is dangerous?

Do they not know that this is dangerous?

Look, forget about what Rondo said. I’m sure every point guard– in his own mind, anyway– thinks he’s the greatest. Forget about the fact that he totally has it backwards; put Chris Paul on the Celtics with Pierce, Garnett, and Allen, and they’d win like 75 games, is more like it. The funniest part about this is, I cannot imagine what Perkins was thinking, telling that to a media guy. I mean, what did he think was going to happen there?

This is terrifyingly like poking a dragon with a stick. OK, the Hornets look like a massive work in progress still, while the Celtics already seem to be clicking the best out of the potential title contenders in these early days of the season. So it’s not like we’re expecting a huge victory Sunday, or anything. But the fact remains that you don’t poke a dragon with a stick. It breathes motherfreakin’ fire. It’s not safe. I’m not saying the Hornets are going to come out and win this game, bulletin board material or not. I’m just saying if they do, the Celtics will know who is to blame.

As for the Hornets, I would print this out. I would stick it up on the wall wherever. And I would make certain Chris Paul sees it.

Edited to Add: As I’d hoped, here’s At the Hive with the statistical debunking of Rondo’s statement.

Lo, the delicious scent of basketball about to be played!

Lo, the delicious scent of basketball about to be played! (photo courtesy of @hornetsdotcom)

I think there are still some walk-up tickets available. Get on out there and grab your free t-shirt! See you all at the game!

P.S. And you can also check out our preview with Cowbell Kingdom.

Well Played, Times Picayune

By on October 29, 2009

Now that’s a pretty NOLA.com background! Um, if a little Myspace-esque in its clashing… (Click to biggify.) :-D

*Disclaimer: Look, I know the team probably paid them to put that up. But. Whenever NOLA.com/Times Picayune acknowledge the Hornets exist, I still get overexcited. Sorry. It’s a holdover from these days.

NOLA.com: Looking Good in Teal

NOLA.com: Looking Good in Teal

We Can Haz Rookiez? No?

By on October 29, 2009

LOL Rookies! ... oh wait, not LOLing

LOL Rookies! ... oh wait, we're not LOLing

Look, I am not gonna be that overeager fan jumping up and down going, “Start the rookies! They’ll save us! Straight to the championship!” I just wanted to make that clear.

But.

It is frustrating in the extreme to watch the Hornets lose to the Spurs on national TV and be left thinking, “Huh. The same stuff that pissed us off last year has not changed. At all.” The loss is not what’s frustrating. I expected it– the Spurs core has been the same for years, while this Hornets team still hasn’t played an entire game together (Diogu, a guy who we expect to get significant backup minutes, is still out with an injury, and last night was Okafor’s first outing after missing the entire preseason). The Spurs are a good team, and realistically they weren’t going to lose the season opener on their home floor.

I won’t say I’m panicking– I have calmed down after a night of sleep. But I am concerned that our first round pick didn’t see the floor– in a game in which the Hornets were down by 14-20 points in the 2nd half– until 2:30 in the fourth quarter. I am concerned that Byron Scott thought Marcus Thornton, the team’s third leading scorer with 12.2 PPG in preseason, wasn’t ready to even dress. I am concerned we pay Peja Stojakovic and James Posey a combined $20 million and they combined to take one shot in the second quarter while our undrafted minimal-salaried backup point guard took 5 and missed them all. If you’re going to move Peja to the bench, the first thing you do when he checks in is run a play for him. Having him get three shots an entire game is an issue that needs to be addressed by the coaching staff. If Bobby Brown can’t or won’t facilitate for guys more talented than him, he needs to be slapped with a red light and sat down, not given the most playing time of anyone off the bench.

Byron Scott is like a parrot at this point. He apparently felt called upon to defend his decision to not dress Thornton in favor of Devin Brown (my old nemesis….. we meet again):

“He’s still got a ways to go, ” Scott said. “Devin (Brown) is much farther along on both ends of the floor as far as knowing our offense,  and Devin knows almost every position,  which is vital. Defense,  he understands what we’re doing with our rotations and things of that sort. Marcus is getting there. He’s just not there,  yet. I don’t think it’ll be all year long he’ll (be inactive) because he doesn’t get it on offense and defense. He’s going to get it.”

“Marcus is a young player who is still learning. He makes a lot of mistakes in practice. Devin (Brown) is a veteran guy who I think I can depend on a little bit better on both ends of the floor. It was a tough decision, but I think it was the right decision.”

Yeah, well. This is exactly what Devin Brown did when he got into the game: He immediately committed an offensive foul. Then on the next Hornets possession he threw a wild pass that went out of bounds. Whoo. I just don’t buy it. “He understands what we’re doing with our rotations” on defense. Who saw that game? Did ANY Hornet look like they knew their rotations on defense?

Frankly, I’m depressed that “Devin Brown getting talented young players’ minutes” is already something I’m complaining about one game in. I thought George Shinn issued a mandate to play the youth. The coaching staff responded by…. doing the opposite. Great way to start the year, guys. And watching Eric Maynor and Ty Lawson get minutes for Utah and Denver in the late game just rubbed all kinds of salt into the gaping raw wound. The bottom line is, I don’t care what naked pictures Devin Brown has of Byron Scott– what he brings is just not enough to justify playing him over young guys. Particularly Thornton, who can and should be getting at least ten good minutes off the bench because, despite being a 2nd rounder, he fills a huge positional need. Period. As far as Scott’s unnecessary comments to the T.P. about “well, Darren Collison didn’t have the whole playbook memorized before summer league, like Chris Paul did”… don’t get me going. Really. News flash: Chris Paul is a once in a generation talent. That’s so colossally unfair to make that comparison. Drafting a kid in the first round, then trading for a run-and-gun undrafted point guard and giving the draft pick’s minutes to him, and not giving him minutes even in a blowout… if Darren Collison’s confidence ends up getting destroyed, I am just saying we know who to blame.

But there were good points. The defensive rotations were horrific, by the starters and the bench alike. The team just looked like a bunch of guys who hadn’t played together before. But you know what? That can get better. Ryan at Hornets 247 points out the Hornets actually played at a decent offensive efficiency, scoring 96 points on 86 possessions. Okafor’s 18-10 game blew me away, mostly because I had set my expectations low. Imagine with those three guys (Paul, West, Okafor) clicking offensively and defensively. Julian Wright had his ups and downs, but I think he’ll learn. If the three point shooters are involved early, rather than left to stand around, one of Peja/Peterson/Posey should get hot.

Oh, and speaking of which, I think that’s how I’ll wrap this up:

Memo to James Posey,

The season has now started. Anytime you feel like showing up, that would be, you know, cool.

Love,

The Hornets

Because I Say So, That’s Why

By on October 26, 2009

As you all may know, I bestowed upon Marcus Thornton in the 2nd game of the preseason the spontaneous nickname of Lil Buckets. “Lil” ’cause he’s a rookie (Look, is Lil Wayne too good for the “Lil”? No. No, he is not). And “Buckets” ’cause he flat out gets buckets. There’s really not much more to it than that. “Wait,” several people have since asked, “why is he Lil Buckets? Is that something that’s a real nickname, or is it just you?”

Um, yeah. It’s just me. But whatever. At least it’s better than the time Gil (I think? or one of the Hornets radio guys) said, ridiculously yet memorably, that David West’s jumper was soft as a fluffy bunny, and a bunch of people on Hornets 247 started referring to him jokingly as Fluffy. Finally, when asked about it, D West was like, “Yeah, no. You guys are not calling me Fluffy.”

By a stroke of fortune, Marcus Thornton stopped by Hornets.com to do a live chat this afternoon. Naturally, circumstances being what they are, and me being completely incorrigible on this topic, of course I decided I’d ask him. Here’s the result:

Lil Buckets says we can call him Lil Buckets. I win.

Lil Buckets says we can call him Lil Buckets. I win.

So there. What? It’s a live chat with fans and he has to be nice to us for PR purposes? …. Whatever. He had his chance to say he doesn’t wanna be Lil Buckets. Now I’m never letting it go. Hehehe. If only I can come up with something for Darren Collison that matches… hmmm….

Oh, those crafty Northwest Division teams… Couple of old rivals cruising for a revenge beatdown in this list. Well, we hope, anyway.

Denver Nuggets Denver Stiffs | The Nugg Doctor

Minnesota TimberwolvesCanis Hoopus | Empty the Bench | TWolvesBlog

Oklahoma City ThunderBlue Blitz | Daily Thunder

Portland Trail Blazers - Blazersedge | A Stern Warning | The Rip City Project | Blaze of Love | BustaBucket | Trail Post

Utah JazzSLC Dunk | True Blue Jazz

Once again, shout out to Celtics Blog for organizing the whole preview thing.

We Get Around

By on October 22, 2009

Here are some places Hornets Hype has been recently:

In other Hornets news, rather ominously, the NOLA.com folks dropped the news last night that, not only is Emeka Okafor now questionable for the season opener, as he has yet to get on the floor and practice with the team, but David West and Julian Wright both tweaked themselves in various ways yesterday at practice. Considering we’re not sure who’s starting at the 2 (although we’re 95% sure that at this point in the season it’s going to be Mo Pete), that means the only person in the starting lineup left standing is Chris Paul. You go, Chris. Apparently, however, Ike Diogu is now practicing and I think he’s going to play tonight. You go, Ike.

But let’s not dwell on unpleasant, unimportant nonsense like the entire team being injured again. Here, enjoy a photograph of David West posing with some cute kids. There. Don’t you feel better?

Do not panic. Look at the cute children. All is well.

Fans enjoy the rally

Just wanted to remind people that the Hornets beginning of the season rally/block party/freebie giveaway/team stalking opportunity is next Monday at 5:30. We’ll definitely be there. The whole team will be there. People are always asking me where I got ____ Hornets thing, like the Fleur de Bee car magnet or the yard signs. The answer is they usually give away stuff at the official events, and sometimes it’s stuff they don’t sell in the store. Here’s the official release so you can check it out. Should be a fun time, and if you see us, come say hi!

NEW ORLEANS– The Hornets and Harrah’s Casino will host Swarm at Fulton Square Powered by Toyota on Monday, Oct. 26 from 5:30-8 p.m. on Fulton Square at Harrah’s Casino to tip-off the start of the 2009-10 regular season. The pep rally will give fans the chance to meet the entire 2009-10 Hornets team and is free and open to the public.

Fans will have the chance to meet their favorite Hornets player, be entertained by Hugo, Honeybees and other Hornets entertainment groups, take home Hornets giveaways, listen to live music by Big Sam’s Funky Nation and enjoy food and drink specials from restaurants located on Fulton Street at Harrah’s Casino.

“We are so excited for the upcoming season, and this is an opportunity for the community to get show their support and meet the many new faces on our squad,” said Hornets Executive Vice President of Basketball Chad Shinn. “We plan to continue the winning tradition of New Orleans Hornets Basketball and build a team that can make history and compete for a championship for South Louisiana.”

The Swarm at Fulton Square pep rally tips off the Hornets’ 2009 Buzz in Blue Week Powered by Toyota. The Hornets will make stops across metro New Orleans and on the Northshore throughout the week to promote Opening Night Powered by Toyota. Buzz in Blue Week activities include fan interaction events, watch parties and community initiatives

The Hornets’ regular season home opener is on Friday, Oct. 30 as they take on the Sacramento Kings at the Hive at 7 p.m. Fans can also purchase individual tickets to Hornets home games at Hornets.com, by calling 1-800-4NBATIX, at all Ticketmaster outlets or by visiting the New Orleans Arena box office.

Westitude of the Day

By on October 20, 2009

You might have already seen this on Hornets247 but I’m gonna go ahead and post it anyway. It’s a nice little interview with David West about the offseason and various roster changes. West is not the most animated dude, but I always find myself enjoying listening to him talk. I think it’s his deep reassuring voice. Haha.

Surprising: Craig Sager’s suit is actually not that hideous. Unsurprising: D West has his D West face on.

Central Division Previews

By on October 19, 2009

More previews from bloggers around the league…

Chicago Bulls

BlogABull.com | Give Me The Rock

Cleveland Cavaliers

Fear The Sword | WaitingForNextYear | Cavalier Attitude

Detroit Pistons

Motown String Music | Empty the Bench | Pistons Nation | Need4Sheed.com

Indiana Pacers

Indy Cornrows

Milwaukee Bucks

BrewHoop

And once again, shout out to Celtics Blog for putting together and hosting the whole NBA preview shindig!