Archive for the ‘New Orleans Hornets’ Category

brook-lopez-and-ryan-anderson-in-the-olden-days

“I’m jealous cause Robin’s with him, you know? Robin stole him from me.” — Brook Lopez, when I asked him if he ever misses getting to hang out with Ryan Anderson

Remember the good old days when the New Orleans Hornets were the Charlotte Hornets and the New Orleans Hornets weren’t in existence? Well, those days just got even older as the New Orleans Hornets just unveiled their new name — the Pelicans, as everyone has known for months — new colors and new logo, which you see up there. I’m not sure how this will play on a Starter jacket your sister wears, but it’s good.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a top 10 logo in the NBA. But it isn’t bottom 10 either, which means it hits somewhere in the middle and that’s OK by me. I mean, there’s a bird with a basketball for its body, so how can you really complain? The colors look good — though a bit generic, since blue and red is the most popular color scheme in existence — especially since it seems like the gold part will be pretty minor and just used for accents, as gold should be. Trinidad James might be fine with all gold everything, but the rest of us should use it in moderation.

My one complaint is this — for a standard team logo, this looks a lot like an All-Star Game logo. Maybe it’s because the New Orleans part of it is so big and ornate, or maybe it’s larger horizontally than it is vertically, but it kind of reads as a logo made for a city rather than a team. Without the wordmarks however, like on this hat, it looks pretty cool. Not to mention, as Eric Freeman points out, this franchise has tremendous upside potential when it comes to giant, stuffed mascots running around the court.

So yeah, that’s the new logo (and there are some secondary logos after the jump) and we’ll still have a wait a bit to see what’s up with the uniforms, even though you can currently buy Pelicans merchandise on the Hornets’ website, which makes for a strange sort of thing. Let’s just hope the New Orleans braintrust doesn’t pull a Prokhorov and let the local rap superstar design the jerseys. I don’t think anyone wants to see Lil Wayne’s idea of basketball clothes.

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Playing your dad in sports is hard. Not only is he bigger and more experienced than you by way of being a grown up, there’s also a good chance he’s seen every game you’ve ever played and therefore knows every move you’ve ever pulled. Then, if they’re like some dads, they file away that information just in case you should ever try them in a one-on-one game.

That’s the case tonight, as Austin Rivers travels to Boston for his first game against his dad, Celtics coach Doc Rivers. As expected, Diggity Doc has all the best quotes about this special instance. From the CSNNE.com:

The uniqueness of facing his son is not lost on Doc Rivers’ players or his coaching staff.

“I just thought they were way too nice in the scouting report today,” quipped Doc Rivers who added, “It’s a strange thing. As a father, it’s nice to see him. The only drawback of him being in the NBA is I haven’t been to a game. And I miss that a little bit, to be honest. But other than that, it’s really cool.”

Especially for the Rivers family, most — if not all — of whom Doc Rivers expects will be rooting for Austin instead of him.

“When Austin’s not playing, they’re Celtics fans,” said Doc Rivers. “When Austin is playing, they’re Hornets fans or Austin fans for sure.” [...]

“He can have a lot of good games,” Doc said. “He can have 80 good games this year. But there’s two that I don’t really need him to play that well.”

This is a pretty historic moment, friends. As far as I can tell, father and son have only faced each other three times before this (Butch and Jan van Breda Kolff, Mike Dunleavy and Mike Dunleavy, Jr., George and Coby Karl), so you might as well set your DVRs right now. You don’t want to miss this.

Then again, you probably do want to miss this. Not only are the Celtics ninth in the NBA in defensive efficiency, Austin Rivers has the lowest shooting percentage among all guards who are averaging at least 20 minutes per game and have fully functioning legs. That means we’ll see a perfect storm of good defense plus struggling player combined with that innate father knowledge that Doc can utilize to make his son’s life a living 48 five minutes of hell.

And when you consider what Doc said would happen the first time he plays his son, tonight could be really ugly. Just a hunch, but tonight’s game won’t be going on Austin Rivers’ highlight tape.

Sometimes when a team suffers a tough loss, people will try to spin it as “a moral victory” that the team “can learn from,” and even though every team wants to win every game, a close loss to a good team can still be “a good loss.” You’ve heard all of these things before, but you sure weren’t hearing them after the Nuggets spanked the Hornets yesterday.

Check out this assemblage of quotes from a very sad hive of buzzy bees, courtesy of the AP:

”Not any good thing to take from a game like this,” New Orleans coach Monty Williams said. [...]

”We are having problems right now,” Hornets point guard Greivis Vasquez said. ”We are just embarrassed.” [...]

”The NBA is a cruel league,” said Williams. ”They try to embarrass you every night and that’s what you saw tonight.”

If you were just judging by these quotes, you’d think the Hornets just broke the record for worst margin of defeat in the same game where they set the record for most losses in a season while simultaneously setting the record for fewest points scored in a game, not just an 18-point loss in the middle of November. Monty Williams especially makes this sound like the most depressing game in the history of basketball. Ugh.

Besides, there definitely are some things to learn from this game. Things like, I don’t know, maybe don’t let the other team dunk on you all the time or stop getting blocked when you try to dunk. These are a couple simple adjustments that the Hornets can make in order to prevent their players and coach from bumming everyone out.

Join me as I count down my predictions of the regular season finishes for the 2012-13 NBA season, at a rate of three teams per day. Tell me why I’m wrong in the comments.

15. New Orleans Hornets
No, I didn’t forget about the Hornets. Yes, I’m predicting that they’ll go from last place in the Western Conference last season to the eighth seed this season. No, I don’t think Anthony Davis is going to carry them to the playoffs single-handedly. Yes, I’m aware that Al-Farouq Aminu might be the worst starting small forward in the league. Any more questions?

The reason I’m so bullish on the 2012-13 Hornets is that the three best players on this roster (Davis, Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson) played a combined nine games for last year’s squad — and I believe that two of them merit consideration among the top 25 players in the league. Obviously, I’m predicting that Davis will be a dominant defensive force right out of the gate for the Hornets, and his frontcourt pairing with Robin Lopez — who is a much better defender than his brother — should help elevate the Hornets’ team defense into the top 10 this season. But where the Hornets really needed help last season was on offense, as indicated by their 28th-ranked Offensive Rating.

That’s where Gordon and Anderson come in. Anderson’s three-point shooting prowess is well-known by fantasy hoopsters like myself who scooped him up with a mid-round pick last year — he led the NBA in three-pointers made while sinking over 39 percent of those shots. As for Gordon, it remains to be seen whether his recovery from knee surgery and his conditioning will enable him to be ready to play when the regular season commences, but his value to the team was shown last season by the fact that the Hornets had a 6-3 record in his nine games.

14. Philadelphia 76ers
If there’s a city that could embrace a gifted athlete who happens to be an unmitigated asshole, it’s The City of Brotherly Love. When he’s not nursing an injury, cheap-shotting an opponent half his size or parking his Bimmer in a handicapped spot, Andrew Bynum is a top-two center who could potentially average 24 and 12 as the main option on an NBA team.

As with Eric Gordon, the health of Bynum’s knees and his conditioning are question marks going into this season. What shouldn’t be in question is his status as a legitimate franchise player. The loss of Andre Iguodala will hurt the Sixers on the defensive end, where they’re unlikely to match their third-ranked Defensive Rating from last season. Offensively, they should receive a huge boost from Bynum’s offensive rebounding and his ability to score a lot of points at a high level of efficiency. If he can be on the court for most of Philly’s games this season, handle the spotlight of being the team’s main star, and stop being such a flake all the time, Bynum could be a dominant force in the Eastern Conference.

Elsewhere on the roster, Jrue Holiday appears poised for a breakout year, Evan Turner’s solid all-around game is gradually improving, Thaddeus Young is a dark horse for sixth man of the year candidate, Jason Richardson is still a valuable long range weapon and Nick Young is, well… he’s Nick Young. (I’m not a fan.) Ultimately, this team will go as far as Bynum carries it.

13. Memphis Grizzlies
As I write this Grizzlies preview, I’m trying not to feel like a gigantic failure due to the fact that the team’s new majority owner, Robert Pera, is younger than I am. Pera reached an agreement with local investors in August that should keep the team in Memphis for at least another 15 years, which is nice. On the court, the Grizzlies boast both talent and depth in their frontcourt, especially if Darrell Arthur makes a successful return from a stress fracture in his leg by November. Zach Randolph isn’t a guaranteed 20 and 10 anymore, but he and Marc Gasol still make up one of the most potent frontcourt duos in the league.

The Grizzlies succeed primarily on their aggressive, swarming style of defense that frustrates ballhandlers and leads to a bunch of turnovers. Mike Conley, Tony Allen and Rudy Gay each averaged at least 1.5 steals per game last season as the Grizzlies joined the Heat as the only teams with three such players. Their weakness could be their outside shooting, since they finished 26th in three-point percentage last season and they lost their second-best three-point shooter when O.J. Mayo signed with the Mavericks. Still, they remain a competitive team that seems to be able to kick it up a notch in the playoffs.

Previously in the countdown: 30-28 | 27-25 | 24-22 | 21-19 | 18-16

If you were going to make a short list of various things that could conceivably happen in the NBA while still being just weird enough to take pause, said list would probably go something like this:

  1. JaVale McGee does something nonsensical and a little embarrassing
  2. Chris Bosh does something creepy with his mouth during a basketball game
  3. Brook and Robin Lopez write a comic book together

Well, let’s cross No. 3 off the list. From Nets Are Scorching:

“My twin brother (Robin) and I, we’re always writing, creating stuff,” Lopez said after practice today. “A lot of it’s action & adventure, but it takes from a lot of different genres.”

He’s also hopeful about getting things published. “We have lots of finished ideas, we need to work on getting them published now. We’ve been in a lot of meetings with a lot of different companies. It takes time, and in this offseason a lot was going on.”

Yeah, of course this is happening. There are only so many hours in a day that a person can play basketball, and when you’re as big of comic book freaks as these guys are, it’s only natural that you’d start writing your own comic books. They couldn’t really help it, could they? No way.

Of course, if we have any chance of seeing what these two dudes came up with, we’re going to have to hope and pray that someone sees the merit in publishing a comic book written by two professional basketball players. (Maybe contact the Denver Nuggets marketing department? Just an idea, relax.) And seriously, this is a comic book penned by the Lopez twins, so I think we can all agree that getting to read it is of the utmost importance.

I can’t even begin to guess at what they would come up with, but I’m sure it involves twins with super powers that are somehow connected to their hair. Honestly, that’s a good enough start. Get on it, DC Comics.

Want to get on your coach’s good side? Cut back door for an easy dunk after he’s just destroyed three defenders he’s trying to teach defense. He’s probably upset that a 41-year-old who’s been retired for nine years can eviscerate his team, so that’s why you swoop in, to remind him that not everyone on the team is a total disaster. Smart cut — for a lot of reasons — by Anthony Davis.