Friday, October 26, 2007

The Comeback

Wait, this is a fan experiential summary of every home game he attends from crappy (albeit cheap) viewpoint of section 325 in the New Orleans Arena? That's right. And why do you care? I'm not sure. What I do know is that the Hornets are going to be great this coming season, and remarkably no one seems to be taking notice. Is it because they play in a stacked division that is definitely the hardest in the league and may be getting harder if Memphis decides to contend? Are they being pushed from the spotlight? Who knows... and frankly, who cares? It doesn't matter because this lineup is killer and it's only going to get better.

I had the good fortune of meeting the two rookies from the 2007 draft. Adam Haluska of Iowa and Julian "JuJu" Wright of Kansas-- how amazing is it that New Orleans next star's nickname is "JuJu"? I mean, what were the odds?. Thanks to my being a "rookie" as well, I got to meet both players as part of some function the organization throws to try and hide the fact that they're a small market team floundering in a city that isn't paying too much attention. So financially, it looks bad, but talent-wise, things are looking up. A preseason game followed this mildly entertaining event, and Haluska dropped over 20 points in an otherwise anemic lose to the Pacers. I would care more that we lost this bout (and the other preseason home game against Atlanta), but it's the preseason. As a fan, I'm doing what the coach is doing. Observing each player in his potential position on the court and how well he moves and communicates with the other members of the team. That sentence was a whole lot of bull essentially adding up to "in the preseason, we see who's good enough to play backup." Regardless, Haluska did excellent, JuJu dropped two nasty dunks (one on each team... he's like J.R. Smith with feelings), Hilton Armstrong put up huge numbers against Atlanta (20+,10+), and CP3 looked more capable than ever at the helm of this young squad. Things are looking up, but as we know, in the Big Easy happiness is always fleeting. Ask Sean Payton and company if you don't believe me.

As such, I must also be a realist. There are plenty of deficiencies on this team as well. Byron Scott felt the inexplicable urge to continue giving minutes to this Ryan Bowen guy, who: a. looks like my father, b. has the apt number of 40 adorning his jersey, and c. made next to nothing happen when he touched the ball. It's crazy. How this guy is even on the team is totally beyond my grasp. Supposedly Scott loves this guy cause he hustles. Guess what... I hustle, too. It takes a little more than gumption to be in the NBA. It's not like we're developing this guy; I mean, he's been in the pros for 7 years. Someone shoot me.

Other problems include the lingering health issues with Peja , and Mo Pete 's inability to score consistently from beyond the arc or... from within it, for that matter.

Other than that, I'm predicting this team will finish a solid third in the Southwest earning themselves at least a seven (7) seed in the playoffs. Now, for my wish to come true, I need Byron to stop "believing" in the David Eckstein of the NBA and quit using Melvin Ely as the go-to man as the shot clock winds down (I could think of ten other guys on the roster that would be a more appropriate choice). If you think I'm crazy, go ahead and review the stats for the last professional sports team that returned to the Crescent City. See you on Halloween after opening night against the Kings.