Most people expected NOH to be better than their 2009-10 record because of the return of a healthy Chris Paul, but 10-1. So, what else is new in New Orleans?
Jun 24th- Draft Cole Aldrich (11th)
Sept 25th Sign Pops Mensah-Bonsu
Oct. 13th Sign DJ Mbenga
Oct 23rd Trade future #1 for Jerryd Bayless
So along with Chris Paul, David West, and Emeka Okafor, the Hornets added Ariza as their starting SF and Belinelli as their starting SG. They also added Bayless as their backup PG after moving Collison. And, they added Willie Green to the backup SG spot and Jason Smith to the backup PF spot. Peja and Marcus Thornton make up the final two players of their 10 man rotation. So, they added 2 starter and 3 of their main rotation players.
And, the overall effects of the changes are that NOH have an Off Eff of 107 and a Def Eff of 98 and the 9pt difference ranks them 2nd in the NBA. They score on average 98.7 ppg and hold their opponents to around 91.3 ppg. And, they are 8th in eFG% mostly due to the fact that they are 4th in 3pt shooting with a team average of 40.5%. And as to be expected with Paul running your offense they’re 8th in lowest Turnover Rate, and 4th in highest assist rate.
But, with West, Smith and Okafor the only players averaging more than 1.0 Off Rebounds per game, the Hornets are 2nd to last in Off Rebounds. And they are dead last in FGA’s at the rim, and actually shot more attempts beyond the arc 16.8 than at the rim 16.3. What they lose in frequency they make up in accuracy, shooting above 44% eFG% at all ranges except midrange where they shoot 40%.
With Okafor the only starter over 6-9, the Kings need to pound the ball inside on every possession. Especially since the Kings can’t match the Hornets 3pt shooting. West and Paul are the only players averaging over 13 ppg, at 17.9 and 17.3 respectively, so there is no one player that you can point to as the one you need to slow down their scoring. This is going to be a game like the Nets game, where everyone is going to have to defend their man. Stay at home on the 3pt shooters (Belinelli, Ariza & Paul) and keep a body between Okafor and the net so Paul can’t set him up for any easy baskets.
It should be interesting to see how our size matches up with their speed and outside shooting. And, the Kings should have a hard time getting the offense operating smoothly. I wish this wasn’t the first game of a 4 game road trip, but the Hornets only loss came on the road to Dallas, and they could be looking ahead to the Utah and Portland games. Oh, who am I kidding, this is going to take the best performance of the season to pull out a win. Go Kings.
Edit: as Section pointed out in his fanshot, Peja and Bayless won't be available for the Hornets, because of their trade to Toronto on Saturday. And, the 3 players going to New Orleans aren't expected to suit up until Monday against the Clippers.