If you look at the New Orleans Hornets’ record with no prior knowledge of the players on the team, you would think that they are horrible. However, a look at the talent on their young roster would suggest otherwise.
New Orleans hasn’t found success this year, as their record is 7-25 and they are in the basement of the arduous Western Conference yet again. They nabbed Anthony Davis in the 2012 NBA Draft and they also have a potential star at shooting guard in Eric Gordon. However, the injury bug has bitten Gordon and the Hornets have not been playing well.
There is certainly hope in the Big Easy and it’s probably just a matter of time before the franchise can revive the glory days they experienced under the leadership of Chris Paul. Davis is one of the most athletic players in the league and he has the ability to do everything. He is a menace on defense, a scoring threat and a complete player.
As time goes on, Davis will blossom into a star. He is averaging 14.4 points and 8.8 rebounds already, while also blocking an average of 2.1 shots per game while posting an average of 1.1 steals per game. As a rookie, Davis is making his presence felt and when he is surrounded by talent, the Hornets will be a formidable team.
Gordon is definitely talented and in 49 minutes over two games, Gordon already has 17.5 points per game and a player efficiency rating of 18.1 (fifth among shooting guards), while Davis is second among rookies with a 20.14 PER. Gordon is a career 45 percent shooter and he and Ryan Anderson can be the scoring threats needed to compliment Davis.
Anderson is a rare breed as he is a power forward with a scoring and shooting touch (as well as the sixth best PER among all power forwards). He can hit long shots and he can shoot (44.7 percent from the field). Anderson is averaging 32.6 minutes a game, but he is still averaging about 18 points a night. If the Hornets can get Gordon involved and if they can pick up another, better, forward, they can rise from the dead and be more than the second-worst scoring team in the NBA.
Davis has helped New Orleans get to the middle of the pack in defense, as the Hornets are 16th in defense, partly due to his defensive success. Davis will only get better and if injuries don’t prevent Gordon from reaching his potential, the Hornets could be a very dangerous team in a very small amount of time. But, it will take some work.
Utah Jazz power forward Paul Millsap is going to be a free agent this summer and he could be a perfect fit in the Big Easy. Davis needs help down low and Millsap could compliment him. Anderson is certainly capable of playing the 4, but I feel he would be better off as a 3, where he would be free to take shots while being a great rebounding 3. Millsap could create a powerful frontcourt duo with Davis and the Hornets would have another scoring threat down low. Millsap is averaging 14.4 points a game this year and he has an incredible career shooting mark of 51.8 percent.
If the Hornets signed Millsap and targeted point guard or small forward in the draft, they would have depth on the bench as well as a starting five of Greivis Vasquez (13.6 points, 8.8 assists, 80 percent free-throw shooter), Gordon, Anderson, Millsap and Davis. It may seem to be lacking a star, but Davis can easily develop into that star as he has no weaknesses. Gordon may not be a star like LeBron James or Kevin Durant, but he can develop into a very good player (if he isn’t one already).
There are some things that need to happen, but there’s no doubt that there is a wealth of youth, talent, and potential in the Hornet locker room. A move for a forward (such as Millsap) would boost the team’s hopes of contending in the near future, but they have the talent. Davis will become elite, Vasquez can certainly run the team and Gordon has the potential to be a great guard.
So, what does that all add up to? A great chance of success in the near future for the New Orleans Hornets.
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