Monday, June 30, 2008

Gimme Some Agents... for Free

With the free agency period officially starting in a matter of moments (at midnight), I figured it was just about time to post an offseason outlook. You could also argue that it was time to do that about a month ago. But -- since I waited so long -- we now know that the Hornets will not be adding a new draft pick to the roster, so this will be a bit more accurate (you see what I did there... positive spin). But it will still be a complete guess. The good news is that the future is brighter than it has ever been for the Hornets. Unlike in years past, the focus can now be on the immediate future, since we've got a solid core (Chef Paul, D-West, Tyson, and Peja) and a decent supporting cast (Mo-Pete, JuJu, Pargo, ...) that will only require a handful of tweaks in order to turn this team into a perennial championship contender.

The main issues the Hornets need to address are a backup point guard, the 2-guard spot, and front court depth. So, summing up... the bench. Some things could work themselves out if players currently on the roster improve. Namely, if we see Julian Wright continue to get better and if Hilton Armstrong can match what he showed in last year's summer league, the team would have addressed two weak spots. I think we can count on JuJu improving. With Hilton, I'm not so sure. For the purpose of this blog, let's just assume the Hornets look to free agency for all roster improvements. Here are their best options in my opinion.

Chris Duhon - would give the team a true point guard off the bench; he wouldn't offer the same scoring ability as Pargo, but he would be there to run the offense when Chris Paul needed a rest.

Ramon Sessions - really came on at the end of the season with the Bucks (when he actually got up from the bench). Although it's an extremely small sample size, his numbers in 17 games were incredibly impressive (8.1 ppg, 7.5 apg). Would be a dream come true if he could come to New Orleans and keep up that production.

Jason Williams - could be a good option to run the second-unit offense, and he would come to the team with valuable veteran experience (not to mention a championship ring).

Ben Gordon - although he's restricted, Chicago might have more important signings to make before they think about matching any offer that the Hornets or other suitors could tender. I see him fitting in pretty perfectly with the team: he would definitely bring a much-needed scoring punch to the bench. And there's no question about whether he'd start or play from the bench, since he has some strange allergic reaction to starting. He's a bit undersized for the 2 guard, so I'd like to see the team bring back Bonzi Wells if they go after Gordon.

Corey Maggette - Are you ready for Maggette? I sure as hell am. The Hornets could play him as the sixth man (Ginobili style) or insert him into the starting lineup in place of Mo Pete. He shoots a decent clip from behind the arc (33% over his career) and slashes often -- and well -- enough to get to the line at a good rate. Last season, he averaged almost 10 free throws per game. And, when he got there, he didn't miss much (81% FT).

Mickael Pietrus - had an underwhelming year in 07-08 after putting up career-high averages in points, rebounds, steals, and blocks one season earlier. More of a perimeter specialist than a slasher, he would really need to improve his percentage from the free throw line. But -- for the time being -- he makes up for it with his defense. Pairing him with JuJu would prevent every opponent's second string swingmen from scoring a single point against the Bees.

Bonzi Wells - I'm probably in the minority, but I'm able to look past his no-show in the Spurs series. I can remember a handful of games during the second half of the season where Bonzi's contributions on offense (25 pts vs HOU) and defense (8 stls vs BOS) were incomparable. I really do want to see him return to the team. I think we can get him for a reasonable price, I have no memory of him being more well behaved on any other team, and I was amazed to see him become a fan favorite at the Arena.

Big Men
Kwame Brown - if he'd be willing to agree to a significant pay cut, Brown would be worth picking up. He averaged just under 5 pts and 5 rebs this season, and that's probably worth a cool million or two. Certainly not the $9 million he earned this year. But he's got good size and decent enough stats to earn him some attention before he's cast off into early retirement.

DeSagana Diop - Sure, I'll throw his name out there. But there's no doubt in my mind that some desperate team will eventually drive up his price and make it completely impossible to hope the Hornets would be pick him up for a deal.

Carl Landry - If the Rockets decide, for some strange reason, to let him take another team's offer unmatched, the Hornets need to be that team. He's undersized, but Landry stands his ground in the post. Not exactly a rebounding machine... I'd hope that Hilton proves he deserves to stay in the league, because -- honestly -- if he doesn't improve upon his numbers from last year, I don't see any future for him in the NBA. However, if Hilt does show some promise, he and Landry could be a potent duo coming off the bench.

We'll see if the Hornets are thinking any of the same things that I've written. Maybe even as soon as tomorrow. Of course, just because they're eying any of the guys on my list doesn't mean it's a done deal. Here's hoping we know something sooner than later. Otherwise, it'll be a long summer.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Live Draft Blog

Ah yes. Draft day. Time to make predictions based on our poor excuse for expertise. Get ready. There will many picks, many misses, and many drinks... and maybe a few rules.

Let the show begin!

Curry: I'm taking Derrick Rose for Chicago. Since Andy Katz just reported it was going to happen.

Lee: Wow. Too bad Chicago didn't wait for us to post the rules for our drinking game before they started picking players. This blog is about to lose any shred of credibility it might have gained over the past seven months... Oh wait, here's the Sterninator.

Curry: I didn't know Atlanta didn't have any picks. Which means they won't be any better next year. Which means they'll be knocked out in seven in round 1 again.

Lee: I'm taking Beasley in the 2 slot to Miami. Who do you have.

Curry: Beasley

Lee: Good. This little game will be so interesting if we keep picking the same players.

Curry: Hey, the Hornets still technically have their pick.

Lee: Whaaaat?

Curry Yeah, we've offered it to them, but apparently we don't have to go through with it if all the players we want are off the board.

Stat Alert: Memphis allowed 100+ points in 63 games

Curry: So, they only played good defense in 19 games? Ouch.

Derrick Rose goes to Chicago

Curry: We both win. Do we both have to drink?

Lee: I don't know. I haven't stopped typing. How was your dinner by the way. Did you enjoy watching me play scribe as much I enjoyed typing your every word?

Lee: Who do you have going third?

Curry: Uh... can I look at a mock draft?

Lee: No. We only have one computer, doofus.

Curry: Please?

Lee: Curry and Lee: 1. Credibility: 0

Curry: Uh... O.J. Mayo? The good Lopez twin.

Lee: Great. let's just wait until Miami picks.

Michael Beasley goes to Miami

Curry: Curry and Lee: 2. Credibility: 0.5

Lee: Mayo to the Timberwolves. Though I wish Seattle could nab him.

Curry: Mayo has to go to the Timberwolves. I actually think the Sonics would be better off grabbing one of the big men.

Lee: Can you even name one of "the big men?"

Curry: Ouch.

O.J. Mayo goes to Minnesota


Lee: We both picked Mayo, doofus.

Lee: Who you got next?

Curry: Kevin Love

Lee: To the Sonics?

Curry: Yeah

Lee: I'm taking Westbrook. By the way, we should both take a drink anytime Bilas makes any type of homoerotic description of a player. If I have to hear how "long" a player is or how well he "penetrates" all night, I'm going to slap everyone from Duke, ever.

Lee: Oh, and Mayo looks cool in glasses.

Curry: I like Richard Jefferson to the Bucks. Good trade. Simmons was doing nothing in Milwaukee and Yi was overrated.

Lee: But he was better than this sausage.

Curry: No he wasn't. He was as impressive as this sausage. I know my commercials.

Lee: But none of players who might go from 5 to 20.

Curry: Shut up.

Russell Westbrook goes to Sea... er... Oklahoma City

Lee: BOO-YA! Sweet. My brother just called to tell me he hates me.

Lee: Lee: 4, Curry: 3, credibility: dropping.

Curry: Memphis is on the clock. I got the good Lopez twin.

Lee: I'm going with Kevin Love. I want Lopez to fall to the Bobcats.

Curry: They could always get Robin. No one would know the difference.

Lee: Credibility: -1

Kevin Love goes to Memphis

Lee: I can't type what Curry just yelled at me. By the way: Lee 5, Curry: 3.

Curry: I think it would be stupid if the Knicks took that Italian guy.

Lee: Well, they can't draft him if they don't know his name.

Curry: Here's to hoping they did their homework as well as I did.

Lee: Who's your pick for the Knicks?

Curry: Wow. Love has to move from LA to Memphis. He's going to get fat.

Lee: Focus. HUUUUUMMMMM. Never let up...

Curry: Brook Lopez

Lee: I'm going with Jerryd Bayless

Curry: In that case, I should pick Bayless.

Danilo Gallinari goes to New York

Curry: I'm pretty sure Knicks fans boo whoever they select.

Lee: Well, that makes us smarter than Donnie Walsh.

Lee: By the way, Bilas just said Danilo will never be a superstar, but he will become a solid contributor. That's how I want to spend my 6th overall pick, on a guy who's ceiling is a step above a role player. Bilas also thinks he can become a Jeter in NY iconography. How can he say these things back to back. He must have the memory of a horse.

Curry: Jerryd Bayless to the Clippers

Lee: Me, too.

Curry: You copy me for the first three picks, then I try to make things interesting and your the one with more points.

Lee: You should have read my prospectus.

Eric Gordon goes to Los Angeles

Curry: That's a good. Plus it means Milwaukee is definitely taking Bayless.

Lee: I think the NY fans are still booing Danilo. Talk about class.

Lee: And yes, I agree that Bayless is heading to Brewtown. Call Kevin. His new lineup will be half-decent after this pick and the Jefferson trade. Maybe he can start rooting for the Bucks instead of the Hornets.

Curry: The center (if Bogut is at the 4) is their only weakness if they nab Bayless.

Lee: But that means they could still grab Brook Lopez. Play a lineup of M. Williams, D. Mason, R. Jefferson, A. Bogut, and B. Lopez. Not terrible.

Curry: I hate the "This is NY, these fans are tough to please" argument... great, we just alienated 9 million possible readers.

Joe Alexander goes to Milwaukee

Lee: Credibility: -5.

Lee: But now Alexander's years of Mandarin practice will go to waste since the Chairman is gone.

Curry: Brook Lopez to the Bobcats

Lee: Ditto.

D.J. Augustin goes to Charlotte

Lee: We are also smarter than MJ. Now the Nets have to grab Lopez... man, Bayless is really slipping.

Curry: Honestly, I'm going Lopez, too. I don't see them grabbing a guard.

Lee: Wouldn't be surprised is they nabbed Darrell Arthur, either.

Brook Lopez goes to New Jersey

Lee: Breaking News: credibility is on the rise.

Curry: Lee: 6, Curry 4.

Lee: I'm thinking Arthur or Rush. Who do you got, Curry?

Curry: Arthur.

Lee: I'll go Rush to make this interesting.

Lee: Andrew thinks that the Cavs are grabbing Robin Lopez to confuse fans as well as the other teams. You know, so they make people play "Who's that awkward, fro-bearing giraffe in the front court? Is it Robin or Anderson?" Oh, and he thinks Bayless is headed to Indiana.

Lee: New lineup for New Jersey: Harris, Carter, Simmons, Yi, Lopez. They should draft a small forward with their next pick.

Jerryd Bayless goes to Indiana

Lee: Damn. Andrew wins... and he doesn't even like the NBA. Darrell Arthur is going to Sac-town.

Curry: Darrell Arthur.

Lee: You are so good at repeating whatever I say.

Jason Thomspon goes to Sacramento

All Parties Involved: WWWOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!

Lee: Is he even there?

Curry: Uhhhh... way to go? They said his dad's a referee. Maybe they're hoping they can sway the Donaghy contention.

Lee: I just think they're trying to avoid a repeat of the 2002 Western Conference Finals. They do need a few good "company" men on their side.

Curry: Ouch.

Lee: Who do think Portland takes? I got Mario Chalmers. I know they wanted a point guard. Brandon Rush makes sense here, too, though.

Curry: Still thinking.

Lee: Andrew thinks it'll be Brandon Rush.

Curry: Wow. Let's just point out that last year's 13th pick was Julian Wright. This year's 12th was Jason Thompson.

Lee: Suck it, lottery teams.

Curry: Darrell Arthur.

Brandon Rush goes to Portland

Lee: Now they have 2 Brandons who can play the 2. That's almost as confusing as Robin Lopez and Sideshow Bob in Cleveland.

Curry: Wow. Portland is really good. They easily knock off Denver next year.

Lee: Troof.

Lee: Who you got for the Warriors. I got them taking Koufos. Anthony Randolph or Darrell Arthur makes sense here, but I think they'll grab Kosta.

Curry: Anthony Randolph. Come on LSU... god, I'll never say that again.

Anthony Randolph goes to Golden State

Curry: Yeah. Suck it, Darrell Arthur. I should have guessed Brandon Rush last time, so I'd be tied with Lee.

Lee: Lee 6, Curry 5, credibility: who knows, Andrew: better than all of us.

Lee: I'm thinking Donte Green here. It's not a great pick, but who else do you get here? Who you got, Cur?

Curry: I'm not even sure who the top people left are?

Lee: You want to Tyler Hansborough here. Trust me.

Lee: Wait. Darrell Arthur. Defintely.

Curry: Ditto.

Robin Lopez goes to Phoenix

All Parties Involved: HA!

Lee: The hat doesn't fit his fro. It's not a good look for him.

Lee: The 76ers have to draft Arthur. No way he slips past here.

Curry: If he slips past here, I hope he goes undrafted.

Lee: Robin Lopez looks like Carrot Top. No, but seriously. That's too high for him. But then again, he does fit a need, since Amare Stoudemire...

Curry: ...isn't funny.

Lee: I was going to say doesn't play defense.

Curry: Score. Lee 5, Curry 1. Beer Score. Curry 3, Lee 1.

Lee: I should be killing you right now.

Marreese Speights goes to Philly

Curry: You realize I've picked Arthur for the last 5 picks. That's made up, but sure.

Lee: Ok, I want to say that Arthur is heading to...

Curry: ...the NBDL.

Lee: Right... If I pick Arthur again, Toronto won't pick him. Wait. I thought the Pacers had this pick.

Curry: They're picking for Indiana.

All Parties Involved: Darrell Arthur.

Roy Hibbert goes to Indiana

Lee: I quit.

Curry: I like Roy Hibbert. I think he's going to be good in this league.

Lee: Ok, Washington HAS to take Arthur. They say he's the second coming of Jamison. This just makes sense.


Curry: DeAndre Jordan. I think we have to pick differently in order to break the curse of Darrell Arthur.

JaVale McGee goes to Washington

Lee: So... that didn't work. I had McGee penciled in for the Jazz.

Curry: I thought I could break the curse.

Lee: Now I'm going to break the curse: Kosta Koufos. Andrew's going with Chalmers.

Curry: Koufos.

Lee: I feel bad for Darrell Arthur. He's too good to be losing this much money. He looks better than Brady Quinn did, though... suck it, Notre Dame.

Curry: I hope Arthur drops to the Hornets.

J.J. Hickson goes to Cleveland

Lee: We suck at this.

Curry: No, we're good at this. The GMs are the ones who aren't any good.

All Parties Involved: DARRELL ARTHUR. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!!!!!

Lee: New Jersey is licking their chops right now. If Arthur falls to them, the Brooklyn Nets will win every championship post-2010.

Lee: Andrew thinks the Stern Button is being used to get Arthur to fall to the Celtics.

Alexis Ajinca goes to Charlotte

Lee: Everyone drink. Bilas just said that the Bobcats went for a big, long player.

Lee: Andrew's willing to put money on the next pick being Arthur. I'm on board. Curry?

Curry: I guess.

Lee: Andrew: 9, Lee: 6, Curry: 5. This is same score from 6 picks ago.

Lee: Portland just got ridica-good.

Curry: Yeah, I'm scared.

Lee: Bayless, Roy, Webster, Aldridge. Oden. Holy. Freaking. God.

Curry: By scared, I mean terrified.

Lee: Larry Bird is an idiot. He got crap and Rush for Bayless and Diogu. Awesome.

Ryan Anderson goes to New Jersey

All Parties Involved: WHHHHYYYYYYY?????!!!!!

Curry: Did Arthur admit to being a child molester during his team workouts.

Lee: Andrew's got CDR for this pick (Orlando). I've got them taking Courtney Lee.

Curry: I give up.

Curry: Darrell Arthur.

Courtney Lee goes to Orlando


Curry: Kosta to Utah

Lee: Arthur.

Kosta Koufos goes to Utah


Lee: Andrew: 10, Lee: 7, Curry: 6. Wow.

Lee: I'm going to stick with the prospectus for this next one. Seattle takes Serge Ibaka.

Curry: Darrell Arthur. And that's Andrew's pick as well.

Serge Ibaka goes to Seattle


Curry: That sucks.

Lee: Andrew: 10, Lee: 8, Curry: 6. By the way, I know I've said this before, but Darrell Arthur cannot slip past this pick.

Lee: Andrew, "Yeah, give me DeAndre Jordan so I can cry for a long time."

Curry: I want to give Darrell Arthur a hug. And I am also picking him for this pick.

Nicolas Batum goes to Houston

Lee: Well then... for the love of all things decent! I guess I'm going Ante Tomic since we all know San Antonio won't draft Americans.

Lee: Holy crap! We're probably going to keep our pick. We get either Darrell Arthur or CDR! Wow!

Lee: Oh wait, Arthur has an undisclosed kidney condition. Bummer.

Lee: Andrew votes for CDR. Damn Spurs... ruining my life at every possible turn.

Curry: Darrell Arthur to the Spurs. And Andrew switches to Arthur.

George Hill goes to San Antonio

Lee: There are no words. And Curry is presently ranting about how insane this school is...

Curry: ...oh, but he has 3% body fat. Awesome.

Lee: I'm picking CDR for us. So does Andrew.

Curry: I want CDR.

Lee Andrew says Curry has to pick differently than us for this to work.

Curry: I don't care, I want CDR! I hope that they didn't go through with the Portland trade yet.

Lee: Andrew, "I have picked Darrell Arthur 9 times."

Lee: Wait, that trade to Portland is going through pending league approval? This is confusing.

Darrell Arthur goes to New Orleans... or Portland... or who knows

Lee: Well, that sucks. We just got the steal of the draft so that we could trade him for some cash. Awesome, Jeff Bower. Awesome.

Lee: Donte Green for the Griz... got to be.

Curry: CDR.

Lee: I like CDR for Detroit.

Donte Green goes to Memphis

Lee: Andrew: 12, Lee: 9, Curry: 6. Andrew officially wins.

Lee: No way CDR doesn't go to Detroit.

Curry: Ditto.

D.J. White goes to Detroit

Lee: I quit. When even Joe Dumars doesn't know what to do...

Curry: I don't care any more. I will now sleep through the second round.

Lee: I'm going... CDR? They need a 2... I guess he can do that. Now way they take Jordan. I don't think projects interest them.

Curry: CDR? And I hope I wake up tomorrow morning to see that the Hornets got to keep their draft pick. In the meantime, Lee wins. Well, technically Andrew wins. Next year, I will win... second place. Good night.

Lee: Peace, Curry.

J.R. Giddens goes to Boston

Lee: Why not?

Ok, we're going to sit out the second round. I've been typing for 2 hours and I'm hungry. Thanks for stopping by. We'll post a follow up to this epic event after the dust settles. Curry's even going to post a "What we should be doing in the off-season" post. Little something to look forward to...

Just so we're clear: Andrew: 12, Lee: 9, Curry: 6. Terrible. Those GMs, I mean.

Peace out.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

2008 Draft Prospectus 2.0

Ok, first off, let me apologize for Curry's ongoing attempts at funny headlines. Moving on.

So, the plan was to do another round of draft prospectus (ergo the title), but as Curry pointed out, the Hornets have traded their one and only pick in this draft for cash considerations. "Why?" you may ask. I have no idea. I'll have to look into it more. My guess (like Curry's) is that Bower thinks he can take care of the team's needs with free agent signings. The move does concern me a little since, even though this draft class isn't that strong, next year's looks to be even weaker. Never mind that we could have drafted CDR or Courtney Lee to help fill out the wing or even Nathan Jawai or DeAndre Jordan to strengthen the front court (Chad Ford seems to think that Jordan will drop as far as pick 28). But, you know what? I trust Jeff Bower. For now, at least.

Even with the Hornets taking a day off tomorrow, we at HH still have a vested interest in the draft. This year's group has been hard to peg since, after picks 1-4 (which are by no means set), the remaining 26 picks in round 1 could fall any which way. I was going to write that the Hornets should be targeting the following players in the following order: CDR, Lee, Jordan, Jawai. But now, that's irrelevant. I just thought you should know. Just in case.

Really, the saddest part of this day is that the Hornets have ruined one of the best fan ploys in the history of fan ploys. After drafting Courtney Lee this year and Stephen Curry next year... well, let's just say that the crew at HH would have been sporting some sweet jerseys. Alas.

Starting at guard: Lee and Curry!

The projections below are a cross between what teams might do and what I think they should do (you know, GM Lee just donning advice for multi-million dollar corporations in his spare time). Also, with the exception of the Hornets trading their pick, this prospectus does not take into account the possible trade rumors. Too many hypotheticals if we accounted for those. We've got enough as it is.


1. Chicago Bulls: Derrick Rose (PG, Memphis)

2. Miami Heat: Michael Beasley (PF, Kansas State)

3. Minnesota Timberwolves: O.J. Mayo (SG, USC)

4. Seattle Sonics: Russell Westbrook (PG, UCLA)

5. Memphis Grizzlies: Kevin Love (PF, UCLA)

6. New York Knicks: Jerryd Bayless (PG, Arizona)

7. Los Angeles Clippers: Eric Gordon (SG, Indiana)

8. Milwaukee Bucks: Danillo Gallinari (SF, Italy)

9. Charlotte Bobcats: Brooke Lopez (C, Standford)

10. New Jersey Nets: Joe Alexander (SF, West Virginia)

11. Indiana Pacers: D.J. Augustin (PG, Texas)

12. Sacramento Kings: Darrell Arthur, (PF, Kansas)

13. Portland Trailblazers: Alexis Ajinca (C, France)

14. Golden State Warriors: Anthony Randolph (PF, LSU)

15. Phoenix Suns: Brandon Rush (SG, Kansas)

16. Philadelphia 76ers: Kosta Koufos (C, Ohio State)

17. Toronto Raptors: Donte Greene (SF, Syracuse)

18. Washington Wizards: Marreese Speights (C, Florida)

19. Cleveland Cavaliers: Robin Lopez (C, Stanford)

20. Denver Nuggets: Roy Hibbert (C, Georgetown)

21. New Jersey Nets: DeAndre Jordan (C, Texas A&M)

22. Orlando Magic: Courtney Lee (SG, Western Kentucky)

23. Utah Jazz: JaVale McGee (PF, Nevada)

24. Seattle Sonics: Serge Ibaka (PF, Congo)

25. Houston Rockets: J. J. Hickson (PF, NC State)

26. San Antonio Spurs: Ante Tomic (Croatia)

27. Portland Trailblazers: Nicholas Batum (SF, France)

28. Memphis Grizzlies: DeVon Hardin (C, California)

29. Detroit Pistons: Chris Douglas-Roberts (SF, Memphis)

30. Boston Celtics: Jamont Gordon (SG, Mississippi State)


For those of you who can't get enough draft talk, I'd suggest Hollinger's draft class PER predictions for big men and wing men (the idea was to predict each draftee's PER after three years in the pros using college/international statistical data). Also, be sure to check out Andy Katz's draft day trade rumors.

Be sure to pop in tomorrow night for the live blogging battle between Curry and myself as we duke it out trying to project each pick. There will be many bad puns, silly references, and Miller High Life (no that was not a product placement, no we do not get paid to mention that stuff; if we did, we'd be buying better beer). So stop by for entertainment guaranteed to be more enlightening fun than whatever's being broadcast.


Did Someone Open a Window?

Because I feel a draft.

Well, I was gonna come on here and break down which player I thought the Hornets should (and/or would) draft with the 27th pick. But it looks like the title/intro of this post is going to be the most entertaining part. The team has apparently sent its first-round draft pick to the Portland Trailblazers in exchange for cash.

In a move that I find more confusing than intriguing, the Hornets just moved out of the draft entirely. Because of the Bobby Jackson/Bonzi Wells/Mike James trade, this year's second round pick was shipped to Seattle via Houston. Following the swap with Portland, the Hornets are now pick-less. That should make for a pretty dull NBA Draft Party tomorrow night.

I have to assume that this is the first step in a series of moves. At least, I'm hoping that Jeff Bower has something up his sleeve. But I'm still a bit disappointed with this news (for the time being, anyway). It was starting to look like Chris Douglas-Roberts was going to fall to the 27th pick. He might still fall that far. But it won't be to the Hornets. Who knows, maybe the team is looking to package something together to get an earlier pick. Maybe they were fearing that their favorite prospects would all be off the board by the end of the first round. Or maybe we'll just have to wait until later in the offseason to see any improvements to the roster.

Goodbye CDR. Goodbye Courtney Lee. Goodbye Kyle Weaver. Goodbye Draft Party. Hello... Free Agency?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Links, vol. 5

How about those Finals, huh? Oh, you didn't really watch them? Me neither. Although, apparently Boston sports are a big deal. With no disrespect to the legions of elated NBA fans (who may or may not have hopped on the bandwagon), if I have to see one more interview with KG, the Truth, or Ray "I don't really have a cool nickname" Allen, I will puke. We get it. You guys are awesome. Not to mention, now we have to inundated with unnecessary stories about Len Bias and "what he could have been". Sorry, I don't mean any disrespect to Bias and his family, but we spend all year long talking about CP3, Dwight Howard, and Deron Williams and everyone says the same thing: they haven't proved themselves. No one is ready to declare them the forces they are, yet we're ready to hand Bias a ticket into the pantheon of basketball legends without him having played one game. Why? Because the Celtics drafted him. If any other team had laid claim to him, he'd have passed into nothing. Geez, doesn't this bother anyone else?

Call it total and unconditional love for my Hornets or call it embittered protest, but I just couldn't bring myself to pay much attention to the Finals, Celtics, Lakers, or ESPN this June.

Bleh. Let's move on to something more exciting: links about the Hornets. Most of these are sort of outdated, but all are fun. Just like the Crescent City Connection. Enjoy.

1. This just in: CP3 is really good.

2. On second thought, there might be some holes in his defensive game... say some people. (Good read, I promise.)

Cool interview on JuJu courtesy of The Capital Journal in Lawrence, Kansa.

3. In case anyone still cares about the "Cheap Shot Rob" foul from Game 6 versus the Spurs, I did happen to get J.A. Adande's opinion on the matter (in one of his chats):

Lee (New Orleans): J.A., love your work and love the lounge. Please offer your honest assessment of Horry's foul on D.West last night. As Hornets fans, my buddy and I want to relabel Horry as "Cheap Shot Rob", but I'm curious to get an unbiased perspective. Thanks.

J.A. Adande: Actually, I'm more biased on this than any other issue because Horry is my favorite guy in the league. Although the play was similar to Gasol's push of Okur (that wasn't called) I think Horry knew what he was doing. He's old school enough to have the mindset of going after someone's weak spot. But I don't think the league could do anything about it because it wasn't a flagrant foul. Didn't like to see Horry doing that at all. Between that and the Chuckster's gambling debt issues, it wasn't a good day for 2 of my favorite guys.

4. For those of you with spare time (and the mental capacity to understand complicated stats) here's a little help calculating players' plus/minus. Yeah. Good luck with that.

5. Finally, as a precursor to the Draft Prospectus 2.0 that will be posted by tomorrow, here's a breakdown of Simmons and Chad Ford's draft predictions.

Peace (and sorry about the Celtic rant).

Thursday, June 19, 2008

NBA Final(ly)... PJ Gets a Ring

All right, first off. I'm sorry. We're sorry. For leaving you high and dry here without a post for two weeks. It won't happen again. I blame Lee. He probably blames me. You should blame him. With that dirty work out of the way, I'd like to get back in the swing of things with a very special shout out to the original Hometown Hornet: PJ Brown.

As many of you may already know, PJ Brown is a Winnfield native, a graduate of Louisiana Tech, and a Slidell resident. So he's pretty much from everywhere in the Bayou State. He transcends space and time. PJ -- whose initials stand for "Collier Brown, Jr" -- can now add a new section to his biography. As of Tuesday, he is an NBA Champion. He is also about 33% of the reason I was rooting for the Celtics (the other 67% can be attributed to two things: I once played for a biddy basketball team called the Celtics that won the league championship, and I have a general disdain for the Lakers/Kobe... and the average Laker fan, plus screw Hollywood).

We at HH extend our congratulations to PJ Brown on an NBA Championship 15 seasons in the making. Six of those years were spent with the Hornets. And one of those included the horrific 2004-05 campaign (aka The 18-Win Season, aka The Season That Begot Chris Paul). I gave PJ the nickname of "Old Faithful" that year, though it never caught on. However, he certainly deserved it. To back me up, I'm pulling out a rant I wrote exactly three years ago (right before the 2005 NBA Draft). Enjoy.

PJ's nickname should be Old Faithful. He was the only shred of consistency on our team this (04-05) season. From a professional standpoint, he's one of the league's finest players. I personally respect any player who is willing to put his personal agenda on hold for the better of the team. I'm sure he'd secretly rather be on a contender. But he's not. And, last I checked, he isn't complaining. Basketball is a team sport. Unlike many of today's stars who are more about appearance and personal statistics rather than substance and teamwork, PJ represents the true definition of a team player and a leader. He's averaged over 10.5 ppg in each season since the team moved to New Orleans (that would end the next season). He's also averaged 9+ rpg in two of those seasons. Statistics like that have helped him to earn status as a top-20 player in double-doubles, free-throw percentage, and total rebounds (during the 04-05 season). Keep in mind that was all while playing out of position (Magloire was out for the season). And he relinquished his starting role for younger guys like David West and Chris Andersen on several occasions. Add to this that he was the only player to appear in all 82 games, and I don't see how anyone can argue that PJ isn't the heart of this team.

So... Old Faithful, thanks for what you did here. Congrats for what you did in Boston. Now, please retire and return home as an assistant coach.


Monday, June 2, 2008

Lakers-Celtics Rivalry: The BMac Take

I am not alone in this world. A guy named Brian McCormick shares my frustration (albeit somewhat indirectly) over the state of a professional sport that caters to its stars' every whinny-whim (Kobe for MVP) and over-hypes big market teams. He recently posted an entry to his blog that voiced these frustrations along with other ones concerning the "rivalry" between the Lakers and Celtics. One piece rang so true to me (and Henry Abbot, as it turns out) that I had to include it here:

But, I find it difficult too root for the Lakers to win. It seems wrong that Kobe Bryant can epitomize everything wrong with the NBA last summer, belittling his teammates, demanding a trade, calling out his GM, etc and now he is the MVP and on top of the world. I have a hard time rooting for this to happen.

On the other hand, I also hate when players like Sam Cassell are able to get their team to buy out their contract mid-season so they can sign a new contract to play for a championship contender.

Hells yeah. That first paragraph is ostensibly what I've been screaming since the first day of MVP talks. You can't be an MVP (no matter what the numbers) if you actions off the court are detrimental to both your team's confidence and well-being. That would be the opposite of value.

He goes on to say that the league has adopted certain rules in the past twenty years that are now indirectly preventing rivalries. I don't quite agree with him in this regard, as I feel it has less to do with NBA rules and more to do with the average player's allegiance to money over team (with rare exception). Regardless, for the most part, Mr. McCormick's words on spot-on. I shall now buy him a beer.


As an addendum to the above introduction, I've just found out that Mr. McCormick happens to be an ex-coach and writer, having authored a book called Crossover: the Model of Youth Basketball Development.

The More You Know [wink].