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Help Hornets Hype Buy The Hornets

By on December 5, 2010

By now, the rumors are everywhere.  The Hornets ownership situation is in chaos.  George Shinn wants out.  Gary Chouest wants out.  Maybe the NBA wants in?  Perhaps this is why the Times Picayune dug up the little nugget warning folks that if the Hornets don’t average 14,214 in attendance through the end of the year, the team can pay a $10 million exit fee and walk.  No big deal with either Shinn or Chouest involved: Shinn doesn’t have the extra $10M and Chouest has no incentive in moving away from his home.  But if some billionaire from St. Louis, Seattle, or Kansas City wants in, that $10 may be chump change.  So what’s a fan to do?

Buy the team.

That’s right.  It’s not that hard.  Hornets Hype will incorporate and start selling shares in a private stock offering.  Fellow #twittersection friend, @snavetrebor, correctly points out that all it takes is 17,000 investors willing to pay $17,000 each.  Symmetry.  I like it.  So what say you, folks, want to own an NBA team?

It’s the American way; the power of many accomplish what individuals alone cannot.  Plus, there’s no reason, if y’all want, that you can’t buy more than one share.  Spend $34,000 and you get two shares, $68,000 for four.  You get the idea.  So for all you millionaires out there, you can get 59 shares for just over $1 million.  Not a bad deal, right?  We can share a luxury suite or two, with the largest investors to get the floor seats.  Any unsold floor seats can go by lottery if unsold by gametime.

Don’t worry about how it all works.  Hornets Hype’s lawyers will draft a comprehensive set of by-laws to govern HornetsHype, Inc.; but, for the sake of parity, we’ll try to set up most decisions by majority rule.  Although, Chouest owns 35% of the team now,  51% of our ownership own the remaining 65%, and so will be able to override anything he says or does.  Unlikely anyone would personally own more than half of our corporation, but who are we to stop investors from helping buy the Hornets and keeping them in New Orleans?

So, if you have $17,000 or more burning a hole in your pocket, hit us up.  If not, well, buy some goddamn tickets.  We’re not that far off the attendance mark that keeps any potential out-of-state investor from swooping in and stealing the team.  The Hornets, despite their recent swoon, are 8-2 at home.  That’s some good percentage of happy basketball.  So go watch.  In person.  Support your team.  Even if you aren’t committed enough to help buy the team, show some love and help give someone else local a reason to do so.  It’ll be the best money you’ve spent in a long while.

As I sit here and reflect on Hilton Armstrong’s trade to the Kings, I think of all the times I said, “Yeah, right. Who would trade for Hilton? We’d have to pay them to take him.” And yet, here we are, and someone has indeed traded for Hilton Armstrong. I guess I’d just like to say–

Wait, what? Oh, we did pay the Kings to take him. Oh.

Just kidding, it’s always sad to see a player go. But I’m glad it was a player who wasn’t currently contributing. This is actually a much better small get-under-the-luxury-tax move than the Devin Brown trade that didn’t go through. (Things you thought you’d never type…) And really, I have to admit I kind of felt personally betrayed by Hilton. All the times I stuck up for him, all the times I said, “MAYBE THAT WAS HIS BREAKOUT GAME!!!” every 20th game where he put up 8/8 or something… all for naught. It’s sad. I guess Hilton will always remain the poster child for why you should never draft a big guy for size and then hope he “gets it” later.

Since he really hasn’t played in the last few weeks, my last memory of Hilton will be him dunking at the open practice we went to in early December, hamming it up and leaping around being goofy for the fans. The crowd loved it.  But I’m glad that will be my last memory of Hilton in Hornets colors– it’s a nice way to go out.

Here’s hoping he’ll be able to find whatever he was missing in Sacramento.

P.S. I’m not really horrified by this trade, if you look at the current mood below, I just really wanted to use that face one more time before I have to change it. :-P

Link: Ticktock6 smacking down some peeps about this trade elsewhere for LOLZ.

Fact.  Hornets are 7-1 in games decided by 3 points or less.  Fact.  The Hornets are 7-3 in their last 10, as good as any other Western Conference team as I write this.  Fact.  CP3 is as good as any MVP candidate.  So the T-Wolves took us to the buzzer.  They are, in fact, a professional basketball team.  Give them credit, they hung around the whole game and gave themselves a chance to win.  But the Hornets, who were outscored 24-11 at one point in the 4th, turned it around and finished on a 9-3 run and made the home crowd happy.

Ju-Ju all up in your grill.Early, it looked like a blow-out.  The Hornets ran out to an 8-0 lead and forced a time out.  They built the lead and kept it around ten most of the first quarter.  Then Byron starting subbing in the backups.  First Posey for Julian.  Then Marks for Hilton (who started in place of Tyson).  Then Mo in place of Butler.  They caved and gave up a lead, right?  Wrong.  They held their ground, and actually built the lead.  And as for Mo?  Ended up with 8 points (on 50% shooting) and 2 boards in 15 minutes.  A welcome bench contribution.  More than that, Mo was all over the floor on both ends, and helped space out the floor again, as defenders had to respect his 3-point shooting ability.

The surprise?  The starters came back in and gave up a run that let the Wolves close to 4 at the half.  Rick Kamla would be happy.  Then the third quarter.  Slow start, where we built the lead back up, but D-West struggled, clanking shots, looking frustrated, and ultimately getting into full trouble, and being shown the bench.  Or more accurately, the large blue bouncy ball that he sits on to keep his back loose.  The crowd was behind him, though, hollering at the refs, as he failed to get call after call; in the end, thought, the refs dictated that he’d be the one sitting, not shooting free throws.  

When we were at our best, we had great ball movement, finding Hilton and Marks underneath the rim, Mo cutting, Posey backing smaller defenders down, and Rasual with his little stutter-step stop jumper.  Also of note, Julian finally started to get aggressive, and used quick first step to penetrate and to break to the rim, and then kick out to the open shooters, finding both Mo and Rasual on such plays, each of whom nailed the deep shot.  (The Kid ended up with 6 pts, 3 bds, 2 asts, 1 steal, on 50% shooting in 15 minutes.)  And CP?  Well, he was CP.  He was all over the place, drawing fouls, driving hard, and putting the ball in the hoop through sheer force of will (I’ll take his 26-10-4-5 and raise you).  But CP’s jumper failed him in the late third and early fourth. Then, when West finally got back from his foul-induced exile in in the fourth, he was still cold.

So what happened?  Defense.  As much as Minnesota seemed unstoppable to start the fourth, they failed to score in the last several possessions as the Hornets clamped down, got the stops, and pulled down all the rebounds.  On the other end, we finally got into the penalty and D-West did what even on his worst of nights he can do: nail free throws (he’s 89% on the season; what’s your 4 forward hit at?).  And then, when it mattered most, and Kevin Love had again hit two free throws, with the clock running down, and the game on the line, CP penetrated deep through the Minnesota defense, the entire squad collapsed on him, and somehow, somehow, he found DX under the rim on a tough bounce pass around those defenders and West had only to dunk it home to take the lead.  The crowd exploded.

But there was 12.4 seconds left.  So we played defense, again.  Game-winning defense.  And that, that, is what makes me believe that this team can do something come May.  Any team can win.  But not every team can grind out a last minute win when it looks like the team that you kept around all night takes a late lead and is going to make you pay for doing so.  But the Hornets did.  So I believe.  So should you.

Dear Sean Marks and Devin Brown,

OK. You got my attention.

Devin Brown. You, who some nights resemble nothing so much as the barreling and flailing personification of an offensive foul waiting to happen. You, who stole my beloved Mo Pete’s minutes in December. You, of the .150 three point shooting percentage. (I wonder how many nights like the Dallas game and last night you have to have to mathematically overcome 15% shooting? Even today it’s still sitting at .224.) I admit it: I laughed my ass off when mW turned to me in the third quarter and said, deadpan, “The alien who replaced Devin Brown is good.” All right? I admit it. While I’m in a confessional mood, I guess I should also admit that I yelled, “No!!” out loud when you took your third three… it went in. Just like the other two. Devin Brown hitting 6 of 7 shots, 3 for 3 from downtown?

I guess that makes me wrong. Well, it makes me wrong last night.

Where do we go from here, Devin Brown? That’s what I want to know.

I dunno. That was some pretty good shooting, I type as I grit my teeth. It really was. Maybe you should think about settling down, getting an apartment, and ending your capricious vagabond ways. Or, you know, don’t. Live in a hotel the rest of the year for all I care. I’ve given up trying to predict what you’ll do.

OK, Sean Marks and Devin Brown. I'm watching.Sean Marks, Sean Marks.

I will be the first to say that I didn’t get what Byron Scott saw in you. Like, you are a backup backup big man off the bench. Period. We don’t have a lot of them. How come you shot so many long jumpers? Just ’cause you hit a three in your first floor time with the Hornets doesn’t mean we should make a habit of these things, right? Really all you have to do to help the team is be 6-10 and stand in the right spot. And oh lord, for the past month or so, the Sean Marks Experiment has not looked like it was working out.

And then at Minnesota you hit like every shot you took. Okay. I was wary. I defended you when the crowd unfairly booed you last week, but I was wary just the same. And then there was last night.

Sean Marks getting nasty athletic Block of the Night blocks, followed by a swaggering staredown? Well, all right then. It was like someone whispered in his ear that he didn’t have to turn himself into David West. He didn’t have to take every open 17-foot jump shot that came along. (I wept tears of joy last night when, just beyond the paint, Marks found himself with a long rebound. He held tight to it, froze… I held my breath and got ready to cringe… and then pivoted and whipped a pass to Peja in the corner, who promptly sank one.) Mr. Marks, you had a great night under the basket. It was probably your best game as a Hornet.

Whatever, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Marks. I’m onto you now.

Aw, you know I’m kidding, right? You know I love my team.

P.S. I have some messages to pass on to the rest of the dudes, if that’s OK. Tell Chris no one blames him for not being superhuman every night. Tell Hilton we’re proud of him. Tell AD he’s the best cheerleader we’ve ever seen and we’re 100% happy to have him with us. Tell Peja thanks for being rock solid in these dark times, and Mo that we hope his foot gets better soon. Oh, and tell Pose that if you’re cracking up while running up the court after missing your fifth three pointer of the game, taking that sixth one is probably not such a hot idea.

See what I did there, Gil.

(By the way, for those of you watching on CST instead of the Blazers’ feed on League Pass, Gil was dropping the puns in rare form last night. After Travis Outlaw nearly airballed a free throw, he cracked, “That shot was a crime by Outlaw.” Ho ho ho! Gil, you slay me.)

But that’s not what we’re here to talk about. We’re here to recognize our boy Hilton, who was forced to play big minutes against Joel Przybilla and Greg Oden after Tyson Chandler was ejected in the third quarter. If you come here a lot, you know that we’re relentless believers in Hilton Armstrong. Sometimes we get made fun of. Sometimes we cringe. But sometimes the second biggest of the Hornets big men comes up strong. It’s usually when he has to– we haven’t lost a game this season that Hilton started, I believe.

The joke around these parts is that, at least once a night, Hilton receives his obligatory “because you’re Hilton Armstrong and the other guy is not, sorry” foul. Usually, as well as a couple other offensive fouls of a dubious variety. The other story is turnovers. The Hilton Armstrong turnover is sometimes impossible to spot in the wild. Like, all three Hornets blogs and various fans don’t recall seeing it happen, yet there it is in the boxscore. It’s like, “Oh, that hotel guy’s playing tonight. Spot him his turnover,” and they check the box.

Well, last night in Portland, Hilton Armstrong played probably the best quarter (game?) of his career, ending up with 12 points on 6-6 shooting, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 1 block, and… wait… wait for it… 0 turnovers. He also took a key charge from Greg Oden that forced the Blazers to sit the old man. After being called for two consecutive fouls at the 6 minute mark of the 4th quarter, Hilton could have caved. Instead, he raced back down to the other end of the floor and appeared out of nowhere to put back a monster dunk of a James Posey missed three.

Oh, it has been brought. Whatever, NBA. I just dare you to suspend Tyson Chandler. Our boy’s gonna dominate.

Turning our attention to Tyson Chandler now, I want to first say that I’m really, really proud and pleased at the way the rest of the team handled his ejection. Another game where the officiating didn’t quite go their way (You’re telling me Przybilla doesn’t deserve at least a technical for hitting back? Someone got T’ed up for a butt slap the other night), and, when forced to work around personnel issues, they gutted it out. Can it be we’ve seen a subtle change?

Blazers fans will be saying Tyson’s a dirty player. They will be wrong. Apparently, three out of the four ejections Tyson’s had in his career have come in the Rose Garden. This is the second year in a row it’s been as a result of a scuffle with Przybilla. Dudes just don’t like each other. Here’s what went down:

See, here’s what I want to know: if Tyson’s the dirty one, how come this stuff never goes down in New Orleans? We don’t hear from Przybilla here. I’m not saying TC didn’t hit him– he did. I’m not saying he shouldn’t have been kicked out. But he’s not exactly a thug. It’s hard to be a thug when like 75% of your altercations are against one guy. Besides, if you read his blog or have seen him in interviews, you know that’s just not TC’s personality. We should just accept that they play scrappy against each other, that there’s probably more to it than what’s in the video, and shrug it off. (Except, by the way, don’t you love the way the Blazers TV team cut this? Most of the times they slo-mo it, you don’t get the part leading up to when Chandler throws the arm. Naturally.)

When asked whether he hit Przybilla’s broken wrist on purpose, Tyson replied: “I didn’t know he had a bad hand. No. Not at all. If he’s worried about that, he should keep it off people.” Oh, Tyson. You slay me too.

Byron Scott said 2-2 would be good on this road trip, 3-1 would be great. So this puts us halfway there…

HiltonWatch: Snowy Edition

By on December 12, 2008

In the storied recent history of this blog, we have promised to keep our honest eyes on Hilton and to tell you whether he’s progressing as expected or busting like so many other nobodies.  I start by pointing out how the man packed on the pounds in the offseason.  His dedication to improving involved more than just proving he can make shots or grab boards, but also has to do with what happens off the court and in the weight room.  (Cf. Tayshaun Prince.)  It has to do with how dedicated he was to improvement en whole.  Gold star number one.

So what differs from his much maligned last season?  The main difference this year has been his assertiveness.  He seems to have Coach Scott’s tacit approval at the 5 and doesn’t seem as worried about being yanked in favor of an ever-rotating selection of forwards/centers.  This is a good thing.  Hilton has responded positively, even if it is not always obvious from the stat sheet.

Hey, we give guys like Posey credit for making those “intangible” plays that don’t show up on the stat sheet, so why not Hilton?  How many tip-outs does Tyson get that don’t show up as rebounds, but everyone in the Arena knows are plays he made?  Same with Hilton.  He’s been aggressive this year.  He’s gotten boards some games, blocks in others. He’s hustled to make second effort plays, and made some nice moves in the post.  He runs well, and every now and then he can actually play defense without committing the stupid fouls that have plagued him thus far in his career.  

Bottom line: I like what I see.  He’s not yet TC.  He’s not Dwight Howard, Tim Duncan, or even Andris Biedrins.  But how many back-up fives are better than him?  Seriously?  Not many.  Name them. I dare you.  And can you honestly say that in the next year or so he maybe doesn’t evolve into a starter as TC ages?  I see it.  So should you.

We Support Hilton Armstrong!

By on October 17, 2008

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…

  1. Gain some muscle. Check! Hilton’s looking very good in camp, and visibly a little stronger than last year.
  2. 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.
  3. Talk more trash. Helps you get in the mood for nasty shot-blocking exploits.
  4. Remember that you are 6-11. Just freakin’ elbow that guy outta your way. You’re bigger. Believe us. But,
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Come to Hornets Hype. Because we are ALWAYS GOING TO SAY SOMETHING GOOD. SO THERE.

Hilton Watch?

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.

Geaux Hilton!