The Other Side: New Orleans Hornets


Can you believe they tried to get rid of me? (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)

A whole lot has been said and written about the New Orleans Hornets' botched attempt to send Tyson Chandler to Oklahoma City for Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox. I took a shot at it in today's newspaper, explaining the side of the organization and Chandler. The Hornets made the deal in part because of financial concerns, but also because the team wasn't rebounding well or getting the same results as last season.

But when Chandler returned with 15 points and 10 rebounds against Sacramento on Feb. 23, the Hornets re-discovered their mojo, winning seven consecutive games before losing, 89-79, in Atlanta on Monday. The Hornets, though, can be encouraged by their play since the Chandler deal collapsed on Feb. 18. After ranking last in rebounding through the first 51 games, the Hornets have averaged 51.5 rebounds per game over their past 11 games, which ranks first in the league over that time.

The Hornets (39-23) are currently sixth in the Western Conference, but just 1 ½ games behind Houston for third in the Southwest Division. They have a very favorable schedule with eight of their next 11 games against teams with losing records. New Orleans will continue its four-game Eastern Conference trip tonight in Washington, then head to Milwaukee and Chicago, before a five-game homestand against Houston, Minnesota, Memphis, Golden State and Denver.

Here's what else you should know about the Hornets as they prepare to play the Washington Wizards tonight at Verizon Center:

1. David West Is Balling
David West was a somewhat surprising choice as an all star this season with the Hornets' first-half struggles and his inability to match his inspired play from last season. But since returning from Phoenix, West has been playing like he is trying to earn that credential. West has had 12 double-doubles -- including seven in a row -- scored 30 or more points four times. He is averaging 23.2 points and 11.4 rebounds. West was recently named Western Conference player of the week and he had a career-high 20 rebounds on Monday.

2. Peja Stojakovic Is Having a Rough Year, Now He's Hurt
Tyson Chandler took a lot of heat for the Hornets' struggles this season, but Peja Stojakvoic's poor shooting has been a major concern. Stojakovic has missed the past three games with a lower back problem, but even when he was on the floor, he failed to knock down threes as he did in the past. Stojakovic is shooting just 40.5 percent from the floor and 38.2 percent (130-for-340) from behind the three-point arc. Stojakovic hit 231 three pointers last season, which ranked second in the NBA. This season, he is eighth. Julian Wright has started in his absence, but Rasual Butler has quietly made up for Stojakovic's limited production. Butler is averaging career-highs in scoring (11.2) and rebounding (3.3) as the starting shooting guard.

3. The Bench Is a Problem
Chris Paul is having one of the best seasons ever by a point guard, but he won't be able to win an NBA championship without a little more support. The Hornets added James Posey this summer and traded for Antonio Daniels last December, but while Posey has been better than expected, Coach Byron Scott has yet to find consistent and reliable production from his second unit. New Orleans might be a team that nobody wants in the first round, but that doesn't change the fact that David West and Paul are forced to play too many minutes because the reserves offer little security. Morris Peterson has been out the past 20 games with a foot injury. Scott has hinted that rotation changes could be on the way.

By Michael Lee |  March 11, 2009; 2:34 PM ET The Other Side
Previous: Wizards Report Card: Juan Dixon | Next: Wizards (15-49) vs. Hornets (39-23)

Comments

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Chandler is 7'1'', runs the court, and gets lot of alley-oops feeds from CP3.

Sounds like McGee, although Chandler gets paid big bucks. Nevertheless, McGee's per minute stats are better.

On the other hand, Songaila is not a good match-up against Chandler.

What does Taps think about the match-ups and the "flow" of the game?

Why has McGee been limited to an average of less than 12 minutes lately (since his stellar 32 minute game)?

Posted by: Izman | March 11, 2009 2:57 PM

to keep him under the radar i hope. Probably not though, just terrible, terrible coaching

Posted by: BurgwithaU | March 11, 2009 4:52 PM

No guards please, just a big, mean, tough, versatile, power forward.
Blake I'll take, even Tyler Hansbrough.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 11, 2009 12:57 PM

Hansborough, no way. Never draft a big white guy. The best future a big white player has is in Utah or Boston.

Posted by: agrazian | March 11, 2009 1:08 PM

I could not let this comment go. AGRAZIAN you are surely jesting aren't you. You must know that the Wizards has always had a fetish to have a good white player on the Team. What role do you think Songala is fullfilling. You must know that DSON did not arrive here purely for his basketball skills.

I know I'm gonna take some heat for this, but slow footed can't jump Darius Songala fullfills more than just a basketball role here.

And why do you think I keep saying that Tyler Hansbrough would be a good fit the Wizards. Most importantly, Tyler Hansbrough can play and I believe unlike most, that he is NBA ready.

Are you old enough to remember that when black players started integrating the major white colleges and every college team had their one black player. Fast forward to today and most college Teams have their one or two white players at the end of the bench that cannot play.

However, a lot programs do go after the best players no matter who they are.

However, some programs still practice affirmative action in either direction and Wizards will never, unless they change, be without their affirmative action guy for long.

I'm just saying we can upgrade that position in Tyler Hansbrough, a guy that can really play.

And secondly, it will allow the Wizards to get rid of Songala and meet the full requirements of his role in this organization.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 11, 2009 5:06 PM

Show Gilbert some CP3 and Chandler film and tell him to learn the pick and roll along with McGee and Blatche and let AJ and CB continue to do their thing. They still wont stop anyone but maybe they can outscore enough people to win 40 plus games and get back to the playoffs next year. I think with a healthy GA and full roster with an season of minutes maybe we can just outscore Lebron instead of stopping him.

Posted by: ged0386 | March 11, 2009 5:41 PM

i never liked tyler and i think he might get bullied in the league, but if he plays like or better than kevin love he'll be ok. that psych t crap ain't gonna fly against dwight howard chris bosh amare stoudamire or kg, but he is skilled and like love he keeps his wide hips and shoulders down on the block. i'm so tired of watching DSON(lol) and some random guard fight for rebounds whild jamison stands out by the three point line.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | March 11, 2009 5:51 PM

larryinclinton: ""I know I'm gonna take some heat for this, but slow footed can't jump Darius Songala fullfills more than just a basketball role here."

I thought he was here so fans could have somebody to blame for the Wiz' poor play now that Stevenson isn't available.

Seriously, what makes you think Songaila can't play? Just the lack of athleticism? You saying his skills don't measure up? Because I would have to argue about that.

There are a lot of players on the Wiz with indifferent skills, but Songaila isn't one of them.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 11, 2009 6:59 PM

Claiming that Songaila was only signed to fulfill some kind of racial quota is ignorant nonsense.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 11, 2009 8:37 PM

Samson151 and Kalo_rama,

I know I am out on a limb on this one but racial quota is too strong an anagoly. And Songaila is at best in the 5/4 position the 3rd guy off the bench. On most Teams, he would not even be considered.

Now affirmative action is something that I am 100% for. To call it a racial quota is an inaccurate analysis. Affirmative action opens the door to people period who might not have otherwise gotten a chance. Affirmative action applies to all types of situations.

Do you think for once that the Small Business Bureau is not a form of affirmative action, Farm subsidies, OASHA, Title 10, the Voting Rights Act, and on and on and on.

Kalo_rama, we ain't talking about no stinking racial quota's, we are talking about giving everybody a chance to succeed in whatever their forte' is.

I was born at night, but not last night.

I want Songaila's spot to be filled with Tyler Hansbrough and everbody knows that Blake Griffin is way too much value for Songaila, but Tyler is not.

I knew hanging out on that limb would get somebody to holler at me, but you better holler good, cause I am better than you might think.

Holla at Player! And if you don't know, where I come from, You Better Ask Somebody.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 11, 2009 10:01 PM

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