Hornets Hype

In a basement. In our pajamas.

Archive for the ‘ Rookies ’ Category

  • So Darren Collison is leaving Vegas? Too bad. Thornton looked like he was forcing a lot of shots without him to penetrate last night. Our team will probably beast on everyone a little less than expected.
  • Quincy Pondexter is quite the multi-tasker, isn’t he? Nice shot, nice aggressiveness, nice muscle, nice energy. He’s put together two straight nice games. Julian Wright should be worried. Right now this kid looks more deserving of his minutes.
  • CON: Brackins pulled down zero rebounds last night. But he did eventually dunk, toward the end of last night’s game. I was so excited to see him in the post I thought I was hallucinating.
  • PRO: Monty Williams, on Brackins’ game: “Playing that many minutes without a rebound is not something that we will put up with.” BWAHA! I like this guy already.
  • Kevin McHale thinks that David West doesn’t have a post game. No wonder Kevin McHale is no longer coaching…
  • Did anyone see Nellie at Friday night’s game? He looked totally drunk or stoned or both.
  • Lawrence Frank is now my new favorite thing on NBA TV. After the game, he insinuated with an entirely straight face that Nellie was drunk, so I know it wasn’t just me who thought that. How’d I miss this guy? He’s much more suited to being on my TV than being with the Nets anyway.
  • I like this Kyle Hines kid. He plays like he’s much bigger than 6-6. Think the Hornets will give him a camp invite? (Don’t know where he would play… he’s a 4. But he’s way undersized. And we already have all these undersized power forwards. But it doesn’t hurt to ask him to camp.)
  • Hornets signed Aaron Gray. Guess that means they don’t need the Dude With the Aaron Gray Hair (Sonderleiter). They already have the real one.
  • I think the people who harp on Thornton’s defense are just parroting stuff Byron Scott used to say and not really watching him. He is both fiesty and fast, plus he crashes the boards with abandon down there among the tall trees. I think 5 out of his 6 rebounds last night were on the defensive end. He’s not as long as some other guys, but he works hard.
  • In fact he outrebounded everyone on the team… this says more about them than about him, however.
  • I did think Lil Buckets was lazy on O last night, however. Every time he tried to involve others, they dropped the ball or something. Lazy or frustrated, couldn’t tell. He took a bazillion poor fadeaway jumpers. Still shot 7-14 though, which is 50% so it can’t be as bad as I remember it being. But those two missed FTs probably lost the game for the Hornets.
  • David Thorpe: “One of my lasting memories of this week will be Marcus Thornton ferociously attacking the rim the way a tiger  goes after a deer. He makes an angry face and blows to the hole.  If he was 6’6, he’d be an all-star.  As it is, he’s a terrific NBA player.” This should be on Thornton’s bulletin board.
  • That Wheeler guy has brown hair on the sides with a yellow stripe on top. @LSUHornet17 described it best when he said, “It’s like a mohawk made purely out of hair dye.” Haha.
  • Hornets had a late lead in both games and somehow managed to lose anyway. #rookiecloserfail
  • I think we need a Summer League Drinking Game. Therefore, when Brackins finally gets a rebound on Tuesday night, let’s all do a shot! If he gets two, do another one! … Don’t worry, you won’t get that shitcanned. Trust me. (If you’re reading this, rook: prove me wrong! Get us all drunk! Do it!)

On Our Hero Chris Paul, a final word:

We’ve all seen the various media reports and various goings-on of the past couple of weeks. Man, I want to think the best of Chris Paul. I want to continue to see him and Drew Brees as New Orleans’ heroes. I want him to play here for a long time, and I want to make trades this year to get some great players alongside him. But… it is really hard for me to feel the same way about a player if he has one foot out the door. Maybe we’re into “It’s not you, it’s me” territory. Maybe that’s my mental block. I don’t have a problem with putting pressure on our front office… they’ve been pretty conservative, although to be fair, at the moment the salary cap won’t really allow them to be anything but.

NOLA isn’t a place that’s going to take kindly to you, though, if you’re gonna flirt with other cities for two years. I’m also a bit disappointed that CP didn’t choose to distance himself from the shitstorm of a backlash that’s hitting LeBron and his crew right now. I still don’t think we should trade him under any circumstances, as long as there’s a chance to win with him. And I don’t believe he will pull a Baron Davis and pretend to be hurt, or any of that nonsense. As I said, I really, really want to think the best of this guy who’s been so great to New Orleans up to this point. But do I have the same unwavering faith in him that I had a month ago? No. It’s like how you can sometimes sense a breakup coming, so you start picking fights and distancing yourself before it happens. I hope Chris Paul has the ability to step away from his friendship from LeBron James, just for a moment, objectively, and see how some of his friend’s behavior in the last two years was inappropriate and inconsiderate. Not the person, the behavior. They’re not the same thing. (Or are they? Are we who we say we are, or are we our choices? Something to think about.)

Anyway, I hope he continues to be the upstanding person and representative for New Orleans we have known him to be. I would never want to lose that Chris Paul.

There are two reasons I’m excited about Summer League. The first is it doesn’t involve things not restricted to but including anonymous sources, league sources, World Wide Wes, trade rumors, free agency, Chris Paul hating New Orleans, or LeBron. What a dull week. Seriously. You’re fooling yourselves if you think greatness is made in business transactions. Greatness is made on the court. Which brings us to the second reason: Marcus Buckets Thornton and Darren Collison! Do you realize most of the other top rookies (Tyreke Evans, Stephen Curry) from last year aren’t playing? Therefore we can expect Lil Buckets, Lil Dimes & Co. to put a world of beatdown and beastliness on all the other teams in Vegas.

This year, probably thanks to having two of the top 5 rookies in the league, the Hornets are going to be televised on NBA TV for four out of their five Vegas games. This is, apparently, some sort of record for us and also means I’ll be able to watch on a screen big enough to actually see the numbers on the uniforms, rather than in an itty bitty low-res window on my computer. Yay?

The Hornets summer league roster is generally underwhelming besides Our Favorite Rookie Heroes, but you should note that Craig Brackins and Quincy Pondexter are going to be added to the roster July 8th. I’m sure they’re already there with the rest of the team, or headed there, but the team isn’t allowed to officially talk about it because trades and signings don’t become official till then. Here’s a mini-preview of who the Baby Buzz will be up against. I broke it down into 3 categories: Actual People You’ve Heard Of, Draft Picks, and Former Rookies Who Are Too Cool For School Unlike Our Rookies Who Will Feast Upon Your Team’s Flesh in Your Absence Ha Ha Suckersss.

HORNETS 2009 NBA SUMMER LEAGUE SCHEDULE
Friday, July 9, vs. Golden State, 7 p.m. (9 p.m. Central), NBA TV

Actual People You’ve Heard Of: Reggie Williams (that kid from the D-League who destroyed us in one of the most infuriatingly stupid Don Nelson-esque comebacks of all time last season), Anthony Randolph, Brandan Wright. Draft Pick: Ekpe Udoh. Not On the Roster: Stephen Curry.

Sunday, July 11, vs. Miami, 7 p.m. (9 p.m. Central), NBA TV

Actual People You’ve Heard Of: Jon Scheyer (that kid from Duke who makes really douchey faces), Michael Beasley (I’ve seen like 2 sites saying he’s on the roster and 2 saying he’s not, so I have no idea). Draft Pick: Dexter Pittman, Jarvis Varnado, Da’Sean Butler (all 2nd round). Not On the Roster: Mario Chalmers. Fun fact: Chalmers and Beasley are actually the ONLY two players currently on the Heat roster. I am not making this up. Have fun with that, guys.

Tuesday, July 13, vs. Portland, 7 p.m. (9 p.m. Central), NBA TV

Actual People You’ve Heard Of: Dante Cunningham, Jeff Pendergraph. Draft Pick: Luke Babbit, Armon Johnson. Not on the Roster: Monty Williams will not be coaching. ‘Cause he don’t work there no more.

Friday, July 16, vs. Washington, 5 p.m. (7 p.m. Central), NBA TV

Actual People You’ve Heard Of: Sun Yue, JaVale McGee, Jon Scheyer (shut up, no he’s not, he’s playing for Miami. Update your shit, Wizards internet. Haha). Draft Pick: John Wall. El Numero Uno gets a nice challenge here going up against DC. Not on the Roster: I don’t even know who’s on the Wizards anymore.

Saturday, July 17, vs. Toronto, 3:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m. Central)

Actual People You’ve Heard Of: Bobby Brown (BOBBY!!!), Sonny Weems, DeMar DeRozan, Joey Dorsey. Draft Pick: Ed Davis, Solomon Alabi. Not on the Roster: I think all the Raptors young players are here. Lots of vets could equal a challenge for our squad. This game is the only one not on NBA TV, but never fear, I shall post the address of the illegal feed when I find it.

Let the countdown begin!

He’s a talker, this one. Welcome to New Orleans, Craig! We don’t care if you washed your socks or not. :-)

Hornets 247 has a video of his reaction to being drafted. (I am a sucker for heartwarming draft night videos, oh yes I am. Especially when they cry. Just kidding. Well, maybe not.) More interesting is this story and this one, indicating that Iowa State’s coach — and former T-Wolves exec– Fred Hoiberg knew or guessed at least a half hour in advance he would go to New Orleans. (He wrote “No. 21, N.O.” on a piece of paper after the #16 pick and put it in his pocket.) I wonder if we just liked his workout that much… I know some Hornets fans don’t like this pick, but you really can’t go wrong with two first round prospects for the price of one (not to mention trading Mo Pete’s $6.5M contract). Fun Fact: Brackins wore #21 and was the #21 pick.

Here’s Quincy Pondexter’s post-draft interview. One reporter mentions that there are rumors OKC traded his pick to New Orleans, and he brushes it right off. Guess he was so excited to get drafted he didn’t care where. Haha. Fun Fact: Pondexter’s also responsible for this bit of YouTube hilarity:

I hope both of these kids make the team. They both sound awesome. Oh, and I guess we also hope they’ll play some ball…

Well, it was live earlier today at any rate. But you can watch the replay here. For those of you who feared the Hype was dead due to the silence of the past month or so, here is your reassurance in the form of my lovely voice on the phone (no, I haven’t watched it, I hate listening to myself talk) drafting Cole Aldrich for the Hornets with the #11 pick. Unfortunately, I don’t show up till quite a ways into the show, but you should watch anyway because The Jones is always fun times. It’s a conservative pick, but I think the Hornets are going to go with a conservative pick. ‘Cause, you know, JR Smith’s mental maturity and Hilton Armstrong’s raw size worked out so well for them and stuff…

In case you’re keeping score at home, Hornets 247 also picked Aldrich in their mock draft, and At the Hive picked Patrick Patterson. All this really means to me is I’m waiting in anxious anticipation to see whether I’m going to mercilessly call our future rookie “Pat Pat” or “Kid With No Tooth” all season.

I admit, Kid With No Tooth has sort of a ring to it…

Hornets.com posted another rookie video. You know I love these. This one features Darren Collison, as he goes about his daily rookie duties at a Westbank Krispy Kreme. The highlights:

  • CP gets on his case if the donuts aren’t hot
  • “Marcus, he’s the main one that be eating the donuts and he’s supposed to be on my side” (HA!)
  • On days they fly out, they have to get Popeyes for David West, who eats six biscuits by himself

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.

Top Hats and High Tops Gala

By on March 27, 2010

Last night we were lucky enough to be able to attend the Hornets annual Top Hats and High Tops gala to benefit the George Shinn Foundation. We had never been before, and we had a lot of fun. It was at the Roosevelt Hotel. Didn’t take too many pics, or really stalk the players, but here’s a short recap, bullet-style.

  • The room at the RooseveltEmeka Okafor pulled up and handed his car to the valet just as we arrived. It was a black Benz. Surprise, surprise (if you’ve ever gone to the airport to greet the team after a road trip, you know that this is THE official NBA player car or something).
  • Everyone was there, even Sean Marks, Ike Diogu, and Peja. Marks had his arm in one of those huge immobilizing casts that looks like a box. Ike looked fine, but Peja had a bit of a limp. I would not expect him back on the floor just yet.
  • Julian Wright sang a John Legend song on stage. He was pretty good!
  • Emeka’s date bid on his signed Mardi Gras jersey and photo at the silent auction. And I am pretty sure I saw them walking out with it at the end of the evening too. LOL!
  • I didn’t really stare at any of the players’ wives/girlfriends/dates, so don’t even ask for details on them or what they wore.
  • We got a player at our table, and they pulled names out of hats to see who. It turned out to be Aaron Gray. He and his date were super nice and put up with everyone at the table talking nonstop about Twitter. Aaron (as George Shinn gives a speech about his cancer): Are you all twittering right now? … We were. We are all horrible people. Haha.
  • Aaron Gray ate two dinner plates.
  • The event was 1920s themed. Turns out that’s what the ’20s photoshoot the Hornets players did last month was for. They had big, sepia versions of all the players on the wall and in the silent auction.
  • One of the coolest silent auction items was the entire team’s signed shoes. It took up like a whole table. I’m not sure what you would do with it.
  • I only saw James Posey from afar. Sigh. For those of you who remember, last year Posey was in a bad shooting slump, and the day after I took a picture with him at an appearance, he came out and went off like crazy from three. I took credit, and the joke was, any Hornet who touches me will have a great game the next night. Unfortunately, I forgot about this until late in the evening. The only players who touched Lucky Ticktock6 were Marcus Thornton, Darren Collison, and David West, and let’s face it, they were all going to have good games anyway. Wasted opportunity…
  • My goal for the evening was a pic with Buckets. I ended up getting both rookies, because they were sitting beside each other talking when I walked up, and I didn’t want to leave Lil Dimes out. I did not explain to Thornton that I am responsible for him getting stuck with being called “Lil Buckets.” (Niall at Hornets 247 recently told me it says Lil Buckets on his sheet that the Hornets hand around to the media.) Maybe another time…
  • The ladies love Peja. I don’t get it. Haha.
  • Chris Paul was wearing a velvet blazer and gray and white (I think) Dunks. And glasses. Stylin.
Our table with Aaron Gray

Our table (except mW, who's taking the picture)with Aaron Gray. His date is sitting. I'm on the right. He was popular with the ladies, as you can see.

And… wait for it… wait for it… the highlight of my night:

ROOKIE SANDWICH!!

ROOKIE SANDWICH!!

I Know, I Know

By on March 17, 2010

If this blog posts any more stuff about Marcus Thornton you’re going to get me a restraining order.

But.

I had to:

Marcus Thornton on front page of ESPN.com

Is this when you know you've made it?

Of course, I didn’t read the article because it’s Insider only. But we all know the article is not important!! (But if you want to know what they said about him & Collison, Hornets 247 has an excerpt…)