Hornets Hype

In a basement. In our pajamas.

Archive for April, 2010

Darren Collison, who finished 4th in voting for Rookie of the Year, made the All-Rookie first team, and Marcus Thornton made the 2nd team. I’m super psyched that the coaches who were voting seem to have gone the best player route, as opposed to the “we need to fill all 5 positions!” route. The beneficiary of this was Lil Dimes, who ended up on the first team where he belonged, along with the other three star rookie point guards. And be assured, I WAS about to kick ass, take names, and flip into vigilante justice attack mode if Thornton got left off the teams, as I was afraid he might be.

But.

While a lot of people are gonna be like, “Second Team is great for a second rounder who got picked at #43, is an undersized 2 guard, and was in a suit to start the year!” I am extremely wary of going down that path. None of those things are Marcus’ fault. None of those things were ever fair to begin with. None of them are indicative of his real talent level. They are indicative of a lot of things some very wrong people thought about him several months ago. I agree 100% with everything Ryan Schwan wrote in this post today on Buckets’ advanced stats and talent.

It was what it was, but none of it was ever fair. Marcus Thornton will do well to remember that. And use it.

This is a gratuitous photograph of Lil Buckets and Lil Dimes eating crawfish. Or rather, of Buckets sucking away on his crawfish like a Louisiana native while Dimes gives his crawfish a very focused "what is this small red creature and how do I take it apart?" look.

Closing That Door

By on April 12, 2010

I don’t feel super pumped about last night’s blowout win over the T-Wolves to close out the Hornets’ home schedule, but I don’t feel bad about it either. They didn’t lose. They didn’t play down to a terrible team. They didn’t blow a lead. They managed to pull themselves together enough to do the right thing for the fans.

Where are we going? Where have we been?

Byron Scott is gone. Rasual Butler, Tyson Chandler, Devin Brown, and Hilton Armstrong are gone. The Hornets overcame a terrible start to give us a scrappy, fun January and February, only to lose the franchise player to what pretty much ended up being a season-ending injury. (Oh, if it weren’t for that one errant pass and that one unfortunately positioned cameraman! What might have been!) Once they realized they were missing the playoffs, you could see the fire sort of go out of them, as we watched the inevitable slide toward the end of the season.

George Shinn is reportedly in the midst of selling the team to (local! richer!) minority partner Gary Chouest. This may mean big front office changes are on the way, heading into the offseason. This may mean the end, finally, of those pesky rumors we read every five minutes about how cheap the team is and how they’re going to move. We might have seen the last of Jeff Bower, as both coach and GM. The Hornets had one of the best drafts in the NBA in 2009. I discovered a new favorite player. We’ll most likely have the 11th pick in June.  Lots of stuff went down this season. It will continue to go down as we head into the draft and the summer.

I have not given my opinion on this blog about the upcoming sale of the team, but anyone who’s read Hornets Hype long enough can guess what it is easily enough. From the beginning, we’ve been about exactly two things: 1) Watching this team rise, under the leadership of the basketball magician Chris Paul, and 2) Keeping the team in New Orleans. Period. And I just don’t see how Shinn selling the team is anything but great news, when it comes to those two things we  care about the most. Chouest is local.  He’s got deeper pockets than Shinn; he’s got money coming from other places and therefore more resources. He doesn’t just want a basketball team– he wants a basketball team in New Orleans.

Looking back on the season, I realize I had more fun watching this year than I did in 2008-09, even though the team won 14 less games. So I can’t really say it was all a waste. It wouldn’t be true. Last night before tipoff, the rookies took the court to address the crowd (Lil Buckets is not the best public speaker– he not only looked 10 times more nervous than he’s ever looked while playing, but he hilariously started off his speech with, “Yeaaahh, so I know we didn’t have a real good season, but… “). I can’t think of anything more fitting– more than any other players on the team, this was their season. Watching Marcus Thornton go from wearing a suit to being a 20 PPG starter was worth the price of admission. Add in Collison’s masterful turn in substituting for the injured Chris Paul, and these two were the reason to watch. And you know what? I’m also going to shout out David West here, who, in case you didn’t notice, turned it on in the last two months of the season and particularly outdid himself in terms of assists, passing better this spring than he has in his entire career.

On a personal note, the Hype is doing the house-buying thing, so that’s why I haven’t been around much in the last couple weeks. Of course, the Hornets haven’t been around much in the last couple weeks either… It is what it is. We’ll probably have something to say about the playoffs. We’ll definitely have stuff to say about the draft. We’ll be around.

I don’t know. I just feel very strongly that all is not lost. I feel like big things are around the corner.

We’ll be here, waiting.

Hornets play of the year?

I’m sure you’ve all seen it but I’m posting it anyway, because yeah. How could I not? This one is all over the internet today.

Such a confounding 2009-2010 Season leaves even the most verbose speechless. Wins this year against most playoff teams (all but Cleveland, Toronto, and San Antonio), yet, losses to the Knicks twice, the Warriors ever, and now consecutive losses to the Wizards, Grizzlies, and Nets. A 12-5 January, nicking Playoff seeding, only to be followed by a 5-8 February, and a 4-12 March; and April showers bring 0-2 starts. We never got to see Ike Diogu, and even back-up, Sean Marks, has been reduced to rubble by injury. Chris Paul missed 33 games from the middle of it all, and Peja played 60+ games, healthy all year, only to suffer an injury just when Chris came back. Two-time All-Star David West started off cool enough to miss the ASG, but now, along with Amare, is the only player to increase his scoring output each month, and is hustling and flowing on both sides of the floor like the All-Star we all knew he was; sadly, now, he’s the only one.

What do you make of this game, this month, this season of inordinate chaos, these itinerate athletes looking like champs against the defending ones, winning wonderfully against hated foes Dallas, and gleefully allowing us to revel in the early revenge against the Deadwood Nuggets; only to allow one team freefalling toward the top lottery pick to snap a sixteen game losing streak sans their three best players, and to allow another, working hard to suddenly avoid the worst season ever to win by 28, for a team, this month, this year, this season, who refuses to either beat-down or be blown-out by all but the most respectively horrific and dominant of teams?

Ah fuck it, I seriously can’t waste any more time working on this post. The Hornets obviously don’t care, so why should I?