Sunday, November 8, 2009

On Hiatus

We still go to games... honest.

Seems kind of silly to make this announcement now (we've posted 2 things in the last 7 months), but I thought it'd be polite in case of you have been hitting the refresh button or checking your news feed only to be saddened by the lack of new material on this blog.

The reality is that both Curry and I are still cheering loudly in row 2 of section 325 (check out the photo) and contributing our thoughts to other sites in the Hornet's blogosphere, but we are also in the process of applying to graduate programs. Something had to give, and it looks like (for now) it will be this blog. I will continue to recap home games (and throw in the occasional statistical breakdown or rant) for At the Hive and Curry will continue doing field reporting (or something) for the folks down at Hornet's Report.

We may one day resurrect this site, but for now it shall continue to lay dormant as we move on to bigger and better things. Until then, folks, thanks for reading and Geaux Bees!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Welcome Back!

Hey, remember when I ran a blog about the Hornets? Yeah, those were fun times.

So, all sarcasm aside, I suppose its time we jumped back in to this whole "basketball" thing. Curry and I are extremely sorry about disappearing for the playoffs (but so did the rest of the team, so no big deal right?... too soon?), but we are back and fired up for another off season of (hopefully useful) drafting/trades/acquisitions and the like.

Before we jump into things, I've got a couple of good links for you. If, for some reason, you've been mentally checked out as long as we have, and somehow managed to miss these nuggets, now would be an opportune time to catch up on some great writing:

* Great @TH post on Posey and his contributions.

* Another piece on our good ol' boy Pargo.

* Hey, there was a draft last night... who knew? Ok, we did. But since our draft recap won't be up until Sunday, you'll just have live with @TH's Draft Day Thread for now.

* Even though the draft's over, Ryan down at Hornets247 has a great piece on the value of a draft pick

* A slightly older piece from Ryan about possible trade scenarios and rumors. We'll be sure to pick up where he left off with a little more insight from last night's shenanigans.


See you Sunday. Peace.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Weezy Showing Some Love

Looks like Lil Wayne might be a bit of a Hornets fan after all. Of course, maybe this shouldn't come as such a shock, given his most recent mailbag on ESPN the mag:

Jeff (Birmingham): Wayne -- I know you are a huge Hornets fan and I was wondering about your reaction to the whole saga of Tyson Chandler getting traded and then coming back?

Lil Wayne: Tyson Chandler and Chris Paul are becoming one of the greatest, most-unstoppable dynamic duos in the league and it would have been horrible to split them up. Just atrocious. But I'm glad it happened so they could feel that kick in the gut when they thought he wasn't going to be on the team no more. They needed that push, and now they know what they've got to do, so it's a good thing.


Special thanks to the guys down at Hornets 24/7 who had the video in their Lagniappe section which, by the by, is an awesome aggregator of Hornets links from all over the interwebs. There's also a pretty robust News section. Both are definitely worth a look.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

CP Playoff Commercial: Sneak Peak

Video: Chris Paul NBA Playoffs promo

Thanks to Hornets Beat over at for posting and sharing.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Head-to-Head: CP3 vs DW8

Thousands upon thousands of words have been devoted to the CP3/D Will debate, and truthfully, it's likely we won't see the death of this subject until one of the two hoists the Larry O'Brien trophy. Until that fateful day arrives, we will continue to argue, debate, punch, kick, and bite in this oft polarizing argument.

The reason I'm chiming in today is because J.A. Adande wrote something that caught my attention a few days ago:

I like Paul as much as the next guy... But it's hard to ignore what Williams and the Jazz have done. And you can't forget the way Williams has dominated Paul in their head-to-head matchups.

Hmmm. Interesting. As of today, the Jazz are 41-25 and the Hornets are 41-24. I suppose he could be referencing the Jazz's recent winning streak of 11, but both teams are 8-2 over their last 10, so I'm not sure that really settles anything.

On the other hand, if the Hornets were doing worse (record-wise) than the Jazz, how could you penalize Paul for this? Most of our losses this season have resulted from a thin bench and declining numbers from a few of our starters (none of whom are named Paul, Chris). Is there really an argument for CP being the inferior player if he's stuck on a team with significantly less depth? I'm not sure there is.

It's Adande's second statement that really prompted this post. For most fans of either team, it's generally accepted that Deron outperforms Chris when the Jazz square off against the Hornets, but, despite the fact this has become "common knowledge," I've never actually seen any numbers that back up the argument.

Is there really a sharp drop in Chris' (or Deron's) production? Or are we maybe remembering a handful of only the most recent contests that may have favored Deron? Let's star by looking at these guys career stats. Then, we'll look at some composite stats for the 12 games in which these guys have faced off*:

Career per game totals


Head to Head per game totals


Difference in production per game


A quick look at the tables reveals that almost all of Paul's statistical contributions see a drop (the exception being FT attempted and FT%), while Williams' numbers seem to shift in both directions. What's interesting is that I wouldn't call either stat line from the head-to-heads amazing (which both players are) or terrible (which both players are not). It seems that they both affect the other's numbers pretty significantly, and why not? After all, they're pretty worthy adversaries.

The real story that these numbers tell is that Williams' size (he's got 3 inches and 30 pounds on Paul) and the Jazz's strong interior defense give him an edge over Paul. The former allows Deron to penetrate in the paint much easier, prompting an increase in points and FG% (and likely explaining the drop in AST). Similarly, the size advantage (and the defensively superior Jazz) prevent Paul from effectively running the pick and roll for easy floaters or even kick-outs to the the open man during a double-team. As a result, we see a sharp drop in points and FG% from Paul. Though he is able to make up some of his scoring ground by going to the stripe much more often – another instance of the Jazz's aggression in the paint – it's hard to argue that Paul performs at the same level against this team as he does against the rest of the league.

From these tables, we might assume that Williams is in fact the better player, since beating your opponent head-on seems to be the ultimate competition. But the problem with that assumption is that it ignores one pretty crucial fact: the Jazz are better than the Hornets. Plain and simple. Their starters match up well against the Bees and their bench is something like a gajillion times better than ours. As a result, Paul is forced to carry the load for a team of under-achievers and gets burned because he's matching up against a larger version of himself.

So there you have it: we've seen that Paul is probably the better individual player**, but that's not much consolation to Hornets fans who have watched their team go 2-10*** in the games featuring both point guards. It will be even less of a consolation if we draw them in the playoffs.

In sum, both of these guys are phenomenal basketball players, and they're both a pleasure to watch (yes, I secretly enjoy watching Williams). But they will continue to be locked into this debate until someone is able to assemble a better team around Paul. Let's just hope that team is the Hornets.


* Unfortunately, the above tables ignore pace, something that might swing the results more to CP's favor, since he has amassed his per game stats playing a much slower game than Deron's Jazz ever play. While the disparities between career and h2h might have been a little less significant if we accounted for pace, it probably would not be enough to change the story.

** My cohort from At the Hive did a pretty thorough examination of both players and their career numbers. Call it biased if you want, but it's a pretty irrefutable argument that Paul is the better player.

*** Though our record sucks against the Jazz, it's worth noting that both times we've played Utah on the road this year, it was a back-to-back with the Lakers as the previous night's opponent. At the Staples Center. Thanks, David Stern.


If you're interested, check out the Basketball-Reference info I used on Paul and on Williams for the tables. You can also download a pdf of the spreadsheet I used to compile the totals and averages.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Next Magic Johnson?

Is Chris Paul as a good (or better) of a point guard as Magic Johnson?

John Hollinger addresses this question one of his latest PER Diems, and he seems to think that the answer is probably "yes." (Though Dave Berri did say it first.) Hollinger admits that both players come from remarkably different eras of play, but this doesn't deter him from making a case for Paul:

Yes, it's easier for a small guard to dominate today's game than it was for John Stockton and Isiah Thomas to dominate in the '80s, and it's true that we don't know whether Paul will have the longevity that the players above enjoyed.

Nonetheless, compare Paul's first four seasons to the first four seasons of any point guard from the postmerger era, and one conclusion becomes evident really fast: The only player who can even plausibly compare to him is Magic Johnson.

This suggestion will obviously set off a bomb of "no ways" and "impossibles" and "don't even bothers" from Laker fans everywhere, but I have yet to find anyone who has written a comprehensive defense of Magic. In fact, most fans think the suggestion is so outrageous that they would rather just dismiss the discussion as opposed to engaging in it.

Fans like J.A. Adande. Mr. Adande not only disagrees with the comparison, but his sole remark on the subject was a terse dismissal of the argument (in his "CP3 vs D Will" article). Here's the mini-rant on why it is "sacrilege" to compare Paul (or anyone probably) to Magic Johnson:

Tell any aspirants to the throne to fill in at center in a Finals game, win five championships and set the career assists record ... maybe after all that we can hold a discussion.

So, apparently CP is out of the running to ever fill Magic's shoes since he probably won't be playing center anytime soon. Never mind the fact that Magic has the height edge by 8 inches (that's right, Magic was a 6'8" point guard) and Paul is probably finished growing. (I suppose it also doesn't matter that Paul, despite his height, is averaging over 5 rebounds a game this season which is only 2 off from Magic's career average.)

But what if we took height out of the argument? Now Paul has to win at least 5 rings and break the assists record. Let's be honest here, the former is not happening. Though I expect Paul will retire with at least 1 ring, he probably won't amass 5. I think it's worth mentioning, though, that Paul doesn't have the same squad of legends playing with him. Who would you rather: Kareem, Worthy, and McAdoo or West, Chandler, and Peja? Neither option is terrible, but the Showtime crew is light years ahead of the Bees.

Ok, so he's too short and he won't win 5 championships. What's left? Oh yeah, the assists record. This is probably the most ridiculous statement of all. While it's no small feat that Magic broke the assists record (his 10,141 edged out the Big O's 9,887), it's preposterous to suggest that Paul has to accomplish the same feat in order to be considered on Magic's level. This is primarily due to the fact that a man named John Stockton came in and beat out Magic's record by 50%. Magic's total: 10,141. Stockton's: 15,806. So now, CP has to amass almost 16K assists just to be in the discussion.

While I agree that putting Paul on the same level as Magic is a bit premature, I don't think it's even remotely sacrilege to make comparisons. Dave Berri said it best:

Chris Paul in 2008-09 compares favorably to Magic Johnson. And that is a point I would emphasize. Chris Paul is developing into one of the all-time great players in NBA history. It’s not a stretch to start thinking of him in terms of players like Magic, MJ, and Bird. Yes, Paul is that good.

"Developing" is the key word in that sentence. Mr. Adande should just be happy that a point guard as exciting as CP (and possibly the most exciting since Magic) is in the league right now. Not to mention that he gets to watch that player's "development" unfold. He should also try watching more than 2 or 3 Hornets' games a season. It might help.


Ok, so having the best point guard in the league (and arguably ever) is a small consolation if this team can't bring home a championship. These arguments that circulate through the blogosphere are ostensibly meaningless since we really have no way of be 100% certain about something as subjective as how "good" a player is/was, never mind the fact that some of these comparisons are made between players who were stars in totally different eras.

In the end, these discussions are just a way of biding our time until our respective teams take home a championship. We don't like to admit it, but it's the truth all the same.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Highlight of the Season

Ladies and gentlemen, this is air traffic control. We regret to inform you that while the JET may in fact be on the runway, he has been grounded due to the awesomeness that is Chris Paul. Thank you for your understanding.

Roger that. Over and out.