The New Orleans Hornets aren’t having a great season (only 10-25), but things are looking better after completing the Texas Sweep, beating the Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets consecutively.
Injuries and youth are the two most easy to spot things when it comes to the Hornets. A team now owned by Tom Benson traded away its best player, Chris Paul, just over a year ago, followed by a 21-45 season, missing Eric Gordon for almost the entire year. Now he’s back, and things are looking a bit better for a team that thought this season would be going a little better.
After all, they did get Anthony Davis in the draft. The number one pick is living out the pessimistic predictions of his NBA career. His offensive impact is way below what some would thought it would be, and his defense is still not as dominating as expected. Remember those who said he’s the kind of player that changes a franchise the moment he joins them? A Bill Russell kind of player? Well, that hasn’t really happened.
Davis did have a big night against the Spurs, sandwiched in between the wins over the Houston Rockets and the Mavs. He finished with 17 points and 9 rebounds. He stayed only 12 minutes on the floor against Dallas; only 19 against the Rockets.
The big key has been Greivis Vasquez, who is leading the Hornets this season from the point guard position, averaging 14.3 points and 9.1 assists per game, a huge improvement compared to his first two seasons in the NBA. Now he’s a full-time starter, playing 35 minutes a night, and pushing forward a team that was missing, more than anything, the return of the man who should be responsible for the points.
Ryan Anderson is a nice addition, averaging 17.2 points per game this season, but the player the Hornets need badly is Eric Gordon. Gordon has played in only 14 games for the Hornets since joining in late 2011. Instead of continuing his development into one of the best scoring shooting guards in the NBA, he’s had to battle injuries. Now he’s back, and it’s going to take some time, but with a healthy Gordon, the Hornets’ season is going to start looking much better.
His shooting has been way off the mark so far this season; only 32.5% from the field. He had a 4-13 night against the Spurs (14 points) and an awful 2-12 night against the Rockets, scoring only 5 points. The Hornets still won; they’ve gotten used to winning without him, and in any case, he’s better than Austin Rivers, with 6.7 points per game while shooting 33.1% from the field. Gordon, who was a member of the wider Dream Team squad, had a big night against the Spurs, scoring 24 points. He still shot only 9-22 from the field.
Once he feels comfortable with his shooting again, the Hornets stop being one of the scrubs of the west. Not this season, but with a couple of more small tweaks, including sending Rivers to the D-League, this team should be a playoff contender next season.