We are playing the Hornets tonight at 6:00 MST, so I thought that I'd just touch up on some things that I've noticed statistically about the
Charlotte New Orleans Hornets. I'll use stats from 82games.com and basketball-reference.com
I'll start off not with Chris Paul, but with Emeka Okafor. Emeka was traded to NOLA during the off-season for Tyson Chandler to give the Hornets an anchor at center. The most basic stats show that he has taken a dip in his points per game average from 13.2 last year to 10.2 this year. Actually, as a matter of fact, his stats in all of the catagories, including FG% and FT%, besides blocked shots have decreased. Some of that may be attributed to a small dip in minutes, but 2.5 less minutes per game shouldn't lead to such a dramatic downfall. His Win Shares rating, which estimates the number of wins contributed by a player, has fallen from a strong 8.2 to a pedestrian 1.8. Even if you do win shares per game, he still has fallen, from 0.1 to 0.075.
The on-court off-court information on 82games.com provides some interesting information. Okafor was brought to the Hornets to solidify their defense and provide a bit of post scoring, two things that they lacked with some team from Denver creamed them last year in the first round. However, the Hornets are +4.3 offensive rating better with him on the court, but -3.2 defensive rating worse. The only benefit he's given them so far is in terms of rebounding and blocked shots, which isn't bad, but I'm sure they expected more.
Next, I'm going to look at David West. West has taken a dramatic downfall from last year, when he was wrongly put into the All-Star game ahead of Carmelo Anthony. He's now averaging a pedestrian 16 points and 7 boards on 46% FG while contributing pretty much nothing in all the other categories. His 82games stats tell a similar story. The team is a tad better offensively (+3.2) but much, much worse defensively (-6.7), a testimony to West's defensive capabilities. His turnover rate and foul rate are at the same as last year, but he'll definitely be a non-factor tonight when you factor in Kenyon Martin's defense.
The X-factors for the Hornets that they didn't have last year are Marcus Thornton and Darren Collison. Collison's stats are remarkably similar to the ones Lawson has put up so far this season, while Thornton has filled the gap that Rasual Butler left (at least offensively). Collison played well in CP3's absence, but has since become just another bench guy. Thornton has gotten around 20 minutes per game since CP3's return, but he's incredibly inconsistent. Some nights, he might catch on fire (20 points in 24 minutes against the Wolves) or really suck (2 points on 1-6 FG in 16 minutes against the Pistons). I guess Peja Stojakovic could be an X-factor, but he's roughly the same player as last year. James Posey has fallen dramatically since his Denver days, or even his Boston/Miami days.
Until I looked it up, I didn't realize that Devin Brown was still in the NBA. But evidently he's starting for the Hornets, and while he can't really do anything except hit threes and play matador defense, he still should be watched out for.
As for CP3, we all know the player he is. No matter how you look at it, he's by far the best player on his team. If Afflalo starts, we might see Afflalo on Paul and Carter on Devin Brown (who's like 6'4"). However, if JR Smith starts, which he might, it will be Carter on Paul and Smith on Brown.
This could be a trap game. I'm sure some Hornets are still ticked off at their 58 point loss against some team from Denver. Luckily, this thing is still their mascot:
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