2009-10 New Orleans Hornets Predictions
by Justin Johnson - 10/24/2009
2008-09 Record: 49-33
Home: 19-21-1 Away: 16-24-1
Home: 16-25 Away: 18-21-2
Projected Starting Five: PG, Chris Paul. SG, Julian Wright. SF, Peja Stojakovic. PF, David West. C, Emeka Okafor.
Breakdown: The Hornets have a new look starting five and are better for it. Byron Scott now has better depth and better front line players than he has had in his time in New Orleans.
Chris Paul is the best point guard in the league and is a serious MVP candidate. His 22.8 points, 11.0 assists, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.8 steals per game were better than his 07-08 year when he finished second in the MVP vote. However, with all the hype "CP3" was getting he only managed a fifth-place finish in the votes.
Shooting guard is still a wasteland for New Orleans but this year it looks as though Julian Wright should get more time with the running off of Rasual Butler and Mo Peterson being another year older. Wright has had his fare share of shooting woes in the preseason and this may be a position worth looking at long-term.
Peja Stojakovic cashed in with the Hornets after several very good years in Orlando and if his back holds up will be a nice outside threat for New Orleans. If his back is not where it needs to be, which it probably won't be, long-time shooter "MoPete" will get his time on the floor.
The front court is dramatically improved with the addition of Emeka Okafor replacing Tyson Chandler. Okafor is a better defender and the offense is negligible between the two.
David West is a very good power forward when healthy and should be counted on for a double-double average inside.
The depth is not glamorous for the Hornets but with Paul and West rarely leaving the floor it may not be a necessary part of the game plan. James Posey is still capable of filling a role of defensive stopper and big shot maker. His ability to give leadership in the locker room may be invaluable.
New Orleans Hornets Predictions: The Hornets may be as underrated entering this season as they were overrated entering the last. The team is upgraded and has multiple playmakers both offensive and defensively. Byron Scott is one of the most unheralded coaches in the league as well as he has won every season at the helm. Last year the Hornets were not able to crack the 50-win total but should be able to take the next step in 09-10. A 50-win season looks to be on the horizon and possible second-place finish in the Southwest Division. Do not be shocked if the Hornets make more noise in the playoffs this season as well.
Futures consideration - BetUS
The Hornets enter the season with very tempting lines for both winning the West (+2000) and winning the NBA title (+4000). The playmaking ability of CP3 and David West make for a formidable duo and the veteran depth at most other positions make them a solid team. The question will be the toughness and health as many players on the team are injury prone and can miss serious time. The West is also very unpredictable and depending on their seed in the playoffs they could make a run as anywhere from a fourth through seventh seed.
Chris Paul is one of the best players in the league and people are taking notice. This year he could improve on his scoring with fast break points started with Okafor's defense down low. A +1000 play entering the season there is very good value with CP3 to win the MVP award.
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