2009-10 NBA Season Preview: New Orleans Hornets



Written by Paul Banks of NBC Chicago and the Washington Times, and David Kay of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
All other e-mail, including advertising and link proposals, send to: wpc112@gmail.com




New Orleans Hornets (Last Year: 49-33)

Depth Chart:

C: Emeka Okafor/Hilton Armstrong/Sean Marks

PF: David West/Daruis Songaila/Ike Diogu

SF: Julian Wright/Peja Stojakovic/James Posey

SG: Morris Peterson/Devin Brown/Marcus Thornton

PG: Chris Paul/Darren Collison/Bobby Brown

Head Coach: Byron Scott (6th year)

2009-2010 Team Salary: $73.7 million

Projected 2010-2011 Team Salary: approximately $66.4 million



Off-Season Grade: Passed

For a team that was supposedly in some financial trouble this offseason, the Hornets made a serious investment by dealing Tyson Chandler for Emeka Okafor and the remaining five years, almost $62 million left on his contract. This deal is an upgrade at the center position as New Orleans gets a better offensive talent while still having a rebounding and shot-blocking force. But can Okafor stay healthy?

Other than that, the Hornets did little to improve their roster during the offseason. They pretty much gave away Rasual Butler to Clippers in order to lower their luxury tax. Antonio Daniels was expendable due to New Orleans drafting Darren Collison and dealt to Minnesota for some depth inside in Darius Songaila.



2009-2010 Outlook:

Chris Paul is the best point guard in the NBA. This is a fact. But the Hornets haven't had the talent around him to catch up with the best of the west. Okafor is a step in the right direction especially when paired in the frontcourt with David "King of the 17-footer" West.

The wing situation is still a bit of a mess however. By trading Butler, New Orleans will rely on Morris Peterson to play a lot at the two. Peja Stojakovic appears to be coming off the bench this season with Julian Wright starting at small forward during the offseason. James Posey is a nice role player off the bench, but not the solution the Hornets need to help out CP3. Until they find a real scoring threat on the wing, New Orleans will continue to tread in the middle class of Western Conference playoff teams.



Looking Ahead to the Summer of 2010:

There really isn't much to look ahead to as the Hornets will still be massively over the cap next offseason, leaving them pretty much zero flexibility to bring in any free agents. At least in the Summer of 2011, Stojakovic's ugly, overpaid contract will finally be off the books.

2009-10 NBA Power Ranking: 12th



Written by Paul Banks of NBC Chicago and the Washington Times, and David Kay of the The Sports Bank.
Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
All other e-mail, including advertising and link proposals, send to: wpc112@gmail.com




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Looking Ahead to the Summer of 2010:

There really isn't much to look ahead to as the Hornets will still be massively over the cap next offseason, leaving them pretty much zero flexibility to bring in any free agents. At least in the Summer of 2011, Stojakovic's ugly, overpaid contract will finally be off the books.

2009-10 NBA Power Ranking: 12th



Written by Paul Banks of NBC Chicago and the Washington Times, and David Kay of the The Sports Bank.
Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
All other e-mail, including advertising and link proposals, send to: wpc112@gmail.com








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