New Orleans Hornets

Division: SouthwestGM: Dell DempsHead Coach: Monty Williams
2011-12: 21-45 (15th in West)vs. division 3-11
Points89.6 (29th)
Rebounds41.1 (24th)
Assists20.7 (16th)
Opp Pts93.4 (8th)

Last Season

It was one gut punch after another for New Orleans last year, as they traded their franchise player in Chris Paul and finished at the bottom of the West with a 21-45 record.

The third worst winning percentage in the entire league had its advantages though, when the lottery turned up their ball last, giving them the first pick in the draft. They promptly drafted Anthony Davis, re-signed Eric Gordon and brought in a legitimate pair of big men in Ryan Anderson and Robin Lopez.

How quickly rosters, and fortunes, can change in the NBA.

Who's In/Who's Out

Key Additions: F Ryan Anderson, F Edin Bavcic, C Robin Lopez, G Roger Mason Jr., F Hakim Warrick
Key Losses: F Trevor Ariza, G Marco Belinelli, G Jerome Dyson, G Jarrett Jack, C Chris Kaman, F Carl Landry, F Rashard Lewis, C Brad Miller, C Emeka Okafor
Round 1 (1st overall) - PF/C Anthony Davis - Kentucky

Analysis: There was no doubt who the top pick in this year's draft would be and the Hornets won the lottery. Davis has the drive and determination to become a great NBA player and with his shot blocking and rebounding he will be able to contribute right away. Most of his points will come near the basket, while he works on his post game.

Round 1 (10th overall) - SG Austin Rivers - Duke

Analysis: Rivers has the attitude of an elite pro, but time will tell if he can actual become one. Rivers relied on his athleticism in high school and college and he may not be able to at this level. The first thing he needs to work on is his shooting.

Round 2 (46th overall) - SF Darius Miller - Kentucky

Analysis: Miller isn't a great rebounder despite his size, but he handles the ball well and sees passing lanes. Unlike Rivers, Miller is comfortable away from the ball and will work to find a role in New Orleans.

Season Outlook

The Good

The Full Monty - Monty Williams has been a perfect fit with the Hornets as he enters his third season as their head coach. Williams won the respect of his players and was able to get them to buy into his defensive scheme. The result last season was a team that allowed just 93.9 points per game, which was eighth best in the league. Williams now gets a talent infusion as he tries to lead his young club back into the post-season.

Next Big Thing

Anthony Davis was the clear prize in this year's draft class and puts the Hornets rebuild on the fast track.

Number One - Davis will only help to improve the Hornets defence as he is a strong defensive post player. By all accounts, Davis is as certain as top draft picks come, with the size (6'10) and skills to be an excellent front court player. The offensive tools will need to be worked on, but with a proven scorer (Eric Gordon) already on the roster, Davis doesn't need to be the top option. With Davis and Gordon on board, New Orleans has two elite stars.

The Bad

Youth Movement - While the young players in New Orleans bring a lot hope to the franchise, it will also take time for them to learn to play together, while figuring out the strengths and weaknesses in their own games. Their surprising defence a year ago was wasted because they were unable to score at the other end. As we saw with the Thunder, it takes time for promising young clubs to learn how to win in the pros and the Hornets will be no different.

Overshadowed - With all the hype around Davis, many forget the Hornets had a second top 10 draft pick, which they used to select Duke guard Austin Rivers. The rookie was originally expected to compete at point guard, but in the pre-season he has played off the ball. Rivers has been accustom to being a star and will now have to deal with being a role player in New Orleans. The best case scenario would see Rivers come off the bench as a strong sixth man in his rookie year.

Power Rankings

Landing Anthony Davis should help speed up the rebuilding process.

Player Projections

Eric Gordon will see plenty of opportunities to score and is the top Hornet at 29.

X Factor: Ryan Anderson
In a very savvy move, New Orleans acquired Anderson in a sign-and-trade with the Magic. What they received was a 24-year-old, who just won the NBA's Most Improved Player award for a season where he averaged 16.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. The power forward can help spread the floor with his three point shooting, but isn't afraid to battle down low.

What to Expect
Asking the Hornets to compete for the post-season may be a bit over the top, but the impact Davis is going to make can't be understated. Davis has already been showing his elite skills off in the pre-season and with some of the other additions, the Hornets are definitely headed in the right direction. Expect a better year for New Orleans, where they will pull themselves off the floor in the West and begin moving towards a bright future.

Depth Chart

Power Forward

Ryan Anderson
Jason Smith
Lance Thomas


Anthony Davis
Robin Lopez

Small Forward

Al-Farouq Aminu
Hakim Warrick
Darius Miller

Shooting Guard

Eric Gordon
Xavier Henry
Roger Mason Jr.

Point Guard

Greivis Vasquez
Austin Rivers
Brian Roberts

Tim Chisholm's Offseason Grade

Had the Hornets landed Anthony Davis alone this summer they would have had a successful offseason.

However, they also shed Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza (and their bloated contracts), re-signed star guard Eric Gordon, picked up Most Improved award winner Ryan Anderson, traded for reserves Robin Lopez and Hakim Warrick.

Oh and they also picked up Austin Rivers on draft night, a guy most clubs would be putting on billboards if they'd landed him.

None of this will put them into the postseason this year, but it all puts them solidly on a path to get there eventually.

Grade: A

Tipping Off

The Hornets kick off their season at home on Halloween against the San Antonio Spurs.

Oct. 31 8pm et Spurs vs Hornets
Next 4 games
Nov. 2 vs UTA 8pm et
Nov. 3 @ CHI 8pm et
Nov. 7 vs PHI 8pm et
Nov. 9 vs CHA 8pm et

Big Tour

A Historic Event

It was Canada's night at the NBA Draft as four players from north of the border were selected.

1. Andrew Wiggins - Cavaliers

8. Nik Stauskas - Kings

18. Tyler Ennis - Suns

45. Dwight Powell - Hornets

2014 NBA Draft Tracker

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