So let me sum up:
I'll be over here with my four friends, trying to process this.
Jeff Bower has been fired. The Hornets are in the middle of free agency and haven’t signed anyone but Aaron Gray. They were already dealing with a million and two rumors of George Shinn’s sketchiness, and now they’re dealing with more because they may have backed out of Luther Head’s contract for no good reason and his agent is pitching a fit. Oh, plus the rumors that Chris Paul wants nothing to do with this mess. Let us not forget the Tom Thibodeau drama. And the rumors that the sale of the team to Gary Chouest has been held up for … why? Who even knows what the deal is? The last time there was a public statement was back in May when the local New Orleans public was told the deal was done.
Whether you liked Bower or not (I’m personally ambivalent), having him here was infinitely better than having no one. Who’s making the basketball decisions around here? The Assistant GM is– Oh. That’s right. We don’t have one. The guy in charge is George Shinn’s brother-in-law, who was a food service executive before joining the Hornets in 2005 (leaving aside for the moment the fact that he thinks Chris Paul rumors are started by people like me who “live in basements, in their pajamas” and never the perfectly legitimate New York media who are soooo responsible simply because they have a desk in an office).
Oh hey, maybe the VP is a basketball guy? Ha. Maybe he’s George Shinn’s son who has only a high school diploma, but according to his bio in the media guide “relies on his 20 years of experience in basketball to provide insight about basketball-related decisions” and “has been closely involved with the Hornets organization since its inception in 1987.” That sounds like a lot of experience. Huh. Maybe I am wrong. Except I’m not. Y’all, Chad Shinn is 30. His biography actually, no joke, IS COUNTING THE VAST EXPERIENCE HE GLEANED AS A 10-YEAR-OLD AMONG HIS QUALIFICATIONS. But hey, we do have, like, two scouts though. Let’s give a Hornets Hype shout out to our two scouts! What uuuuuupp Basketball Operations Department! Keep on fighting the good fight there. Yeah.
I mean, have I missed anything here? Can we get some basketball people up in here?
Dear god, I’m surrounded by idiots. Get me six martinis. I’ll be over there, with my fingers in my ears till October. I… can’t… hear… you.
Chris Paul warms up Thursday before the Denver game
I give up. Just come back, Chris. We need you. I know it’s too late for the playoffs. I know, wah wah wah, every game we win we could drop a spot in the lottery (oh no! the difference between the 12th and 14th pick might mean the destruction of the franchise’s future!). But do this for the fans.
Give us something to watch. Even if it’s just one last week or two of something great.
Update: How imminent is imminent? Monday night or Wednesday night?
Update to the Update: Planets crash. Worlds end. DeShazier and I agree 100% on something.
After that amazing overtime win last night… after winning 8 out of 11 on the road in January… after the way the team came together and showed all that fight… after scrapping and clawing back into a playoff spot…
I give up.
Please feel free to commiserate in the comment thread, and I shall join you when I come down from this ledge. Which may not be … ever.
- January 2009: Tracy McGrady is very nearly voted into a starting All Star Game slot over Chris Paul. Tyson Chandler gets hurt. David West gets hurt. Hilton Armstrong gets hurt (not usually a noteworthy thing in itself, but noteworthy in combination with the former two items, meaning the Hornets were almost entirely without big men).
- February 2009: Chris Paul gets hurt. Tyson Chandler and David West continue to be hurt. The Hornets trade Tyson Chandler. Then untrade Tyson Chandler.
- March 2009: Peja gets hurt. Tyson has, as aforementioned, still not been traded…. but is still hurt.
- April 2009: Hornets go 2-6 heading into the playoffs, causing them to fall to the seventh seed. But otherwise, nothing important happens this month, especially on the 27th.
- May 2009: Hornets fans are in a state of stunned shock as it is revealed that Devin Brown has a player option for 2009-10. Some other teams play some playoff games somewhere and stuff.
- June 2009: The Hornets draft DC and Marcus Buckets. Oh wait, these were good things. I guess this was a good month for the Hornets, then. Perhaps unironically, the month in which the least actual basketball was played.
- July 2009: The Hornets trade Tyson Chandler. Again. And sign some underrated guy who will never actually play for the team. Because–I know you won’t be able to guess this one– he gets hurt.
- August 2009: Hornets trade Rasual Butler for our new best friend, Cap Space.
- September 2009: Emeka Okafor gets hurt. If you were going to say, “Wait, the season hasn’t actually started yet!” … you would be right.
- October 2009: The Hornets rookies look great in preseason, and are, of course, promptly benched by Byron Scott.
- November 2009: Hornets lose a bunch of games. Byron Scott gets fired. Chris Paul gets hurt. (To add to the fun, those last two things happen within a day of each other! Good. Timez.) The national media writes 15,761 million posts and articles about how Chris Paul doesn’t smile, even though Chris Paul has never smiled on the floor. And then 365,298 posts about how the Hornets should trade him, preferably to _____ (insert beat writer’s local team).
- December 2009: Hornets have three consecutive chances to get to .500 against teams worse than them. They fail three consecutive times. Hornets, showing a real knack for capping off the Worst Year Ever in a way that pretty nicely sums things up, trade Devin Brown to the T-Wolves for cap space. And then it gets taken back. Oh, and just to bring things full circle, Tracy McGrady is very nearly voted into a starting All Star Game slot over Chris Paul. Again.
"No, no, no. Go past this. Pass this part. In fact, never play this again."
Did I miss anything? I think we are all in agreement when I say, “Here’s to 2010!”
Hornets fire Byron Scott after giving up 75 points in the first half at Phoenix last night. Will be formally announcing at it 1 PM. More later, as the news comes in.
Feel free to leave a brief message expressing your complete lack of surprise in the comments.
By mW on November 6, 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?
Some scattered thoughts on Game 1:
- Over on At the Hive, someone coined the term “Douchethuggery.” I find it rather eloquently descriptive of the Denver Nuggets, so I’m totally stealing it for the rest of this series. It’s at least descriptive of Kenyon Martin and Chris Anderson. Lord, but that’s a trashy-looking frontcourt with an obnoxious attitude.
- We’ve said all year the Hornets winning formula is Chris Paul + David West + one shooter. Well, last night they had no shooters and no David West. They can’t win with that.
- This is going to come down to how well this team can channel anger. If they can do it like they did against Dallas last weekend (after the Mavs showboated and posed and generally acted a fool in Part One of the home and home), or the Orlando Magic Christmas Massacre payback game, or the two home victories against the Spurs this season, they’re golden. What they cannot do is fall apart emotionally.
- It worries me that no player on the Hornets team can get a whistle except Chris Paul. Especially the bigs. It worries me that no player can take a charge except James Posey. These worries were pretty much encapsulated by the one play in which Hilton Armstrong was barreled into and did take the charge but then, of course, the call went the other way.
- Speaking of Hilton Armstrong, he used to be able to hit free throws. The hell?
- Speaking of James Posey, the boxscore says he played 21 minutes, but I didn’t notice him out there. Which is generally a bad thing.
- There is really just nothing more I can say about Devin Brown. Someone on Twitter asked me, if it was just me and Devin Brown in an elevator, what would I say to him? (If you’re not on Twitter, you might guess that I was snarking/ranting about Devin all game. If you guessed that, you would be right.) And you know, he might not be a bad guy. And I would never say the things I say about him to his face. But it’s like, don’t hate the player, hate the game. So. I don’t hate Devin Brown. I hate that Byron Scott thought he was a key reserve in this game.
- (Some*) Denver fans have about as much class as their team. Someone threw a beer bottle at the Hornets bench at the end of the 4th quarter. And apparently someone also threw a towel in Chris Paul’s face. To their credit, the fans around the bottle-thrower ratted him out and then booed him as he was escorted out. *Edited to reflect that a couple of Nuggets fans have found their way to New Orleans blogs and forums to apologize on behalf of that guy. Thanks, guys. We’re cool.
- Byron Scott called the fan who threw the bottle an asshole on national TV in the post-game interview. Heh.
- Melo’s postgame reminded me that I really want to buy a menswear-ish vest, and keep forgetting. Like for instance, a pinstriped vest would look fab over the outfit I am wearing today. I do not, however, covet his loud magenta shirt or anything the shade of it.
- I can’t believe this game was officiated the way it was with David Stern physically in the building. I can only conclude he just doesn’t care about the sad state of things. You don’t call the Hornets bigs for touch fouls (well, except in the case of Sean Marks, who didn’t actually touch anyone on the replay), and then try to make up for it on the other end by whistling Denver for a phantom charge or reach-in by the three point line. How about calling some of the contact in the paint? Meanwhile you have your TNT announcers perpetuating this nonsense by saying, “Now this is playoff basketball!” as players are wrestling with each other for position and people are getting clobbered over the head on the way to the basket. No. This is how people get hurt.
- Chauncey Billups won’t have that game again. And I’d like to say David West won’t either. But he was covered pretty thoroughly. What he has to do is hit those open jumpers. Those were the shot he was consistently given, and if that’s what they’re going to give him, that’s what he has to knock down.
- Watching Sixers/Magic (How much does Andre Iguodala desparately need a nickname that’s not “The Other AI”? They’re not remotely similar players. It’s just geography and coincidence. Sad) reminded me that there are teams out there who actually have rookies and young guys playing major roles. I so wish the Hornets would refocus on building with youth next year instead of Byron Scott’s favorite building-with-32-year-old journeymen. At the very least, you’re getting energy even if you’re not getting talent. What our bench has right now is a lot of neither.
Okay, folks. Tough order today. A fully healthy Spurs team against a depleted Hornets squad. No Tyson. No Peja. Posey suspended. Hilton is gimpy. This would be a tough game at full strength, let alone with what we have. So can the Hornets win? I don’t know. But I know one thing.
Chris Paul and David West have to go Nova.
No iffs ands or buts. Well, unless we put up like 18 three-pointers, but Butler, Mo, and the rest of the cast haven’t seemed to have been putting up that many lately, let alone making them all. But otherwise, if our two All-Stars don’t rip it up, well, it’s back to the Ledge for Hornets fans. (Speaking of, haven’t seen those Phoenix people lately…where they at?) But I don’t see our guys failing. Win or lose, these two are going to leave it all out there.
CP and DX understand that this isn’t just another game to put one in the win column. This isn’t even important because it’s a Western Conference or Divisional game. Nope. This is the team that knocked us out of the playoffs last year. On our home court. In Game 7. It’s about revenge.
We can all say that we have good “character” guys, who don’t care about things like that. But I say that’s bullshit. These guys are competitors. They get angry. They harbor dark feelings. You may not see that side of them in interviews or at charity events, but if you watch our guys on the court, they have that dark fire in them. So tonight, I hope they will unleash that dark side. They’ll need it.
The Hornets are a disgrace. I don’t care that Tyson and Peja are out. I don’t care that Hilton got injured when the ref (allegedly by accident) tripped him and sprained his ankle. And I don’t care that our trainers apparently don’t do any exercises that strengthen our players’ ankles. The Hornets should be deeply embarrassed. They just lost badly to a team that gave up 140 points to the Clippers and had lost six straight. And we are a playoff team, let alone a contender? A joke. I’m more horrified than the Comedian unable to deal with the biggest joke of all.
Don’t worry. TT6 will have a new hotness bracket up soon. At least then we’ll see something tangentially Hornets-related that doesn’t make me want to put my fist through a wall. As they’re playing now, the Hornets don’t deserve to be in the Playoffs, and fuck it, because Stern wants Shaq in anyway. So I say, just give it to him and the Suns. We don’t deserve it.