Swarmin the Links: 27/08

  • Over at Ball Don’t Lie Kelly Dwyer ranks both the power forwards and centers

Power Fowards: 12. David West(notes), New Orleans Hornets (last year: ninth)

You hate to predict a fall-off for a guy who doesn’t turn 30 until next week — and someone who has been remarkable in his year-to-year consistency following an injury-plagued rookie campaign. With Chris Paul(notes) hopefully back for a full season, West’s step-back jumpers and solid-enough rebounding will likely carry over to yet another season spent on the fringe of the All-Star rankings.

Centers: 13. Emeka Okafor(notes), New Orleans Hornets (last year: 13th)

We’re 4 1/2 positions into these rankings, and I think Okafor is the first non-MVP candidate that we’ve seen actually retain his ranking from last summer to this summer. Emeka doesn’t send many shots back around the rim like you see above, but he does defend well in the post and tries on the perimeter. His offensive game isn’t going to put him in the All-Star game, but it doesn’t make him a liability either.

My take is that it’s nice to see Emeka getting some respect from people, and as for David West it’s a shame he’s moved down from ninth but when looking at the guys ahead of him you can understand why they are ahead of him.

The NBA’s two-time reigning MVP and some of his new Miami Heat teammates made a surprise stop at the university’s basketball facility for some informal scrimmaging against the Hurricanes. James, Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller, Patrick Beverley and New Orleans guard Chris Paul—a close friend of James—played pickup for more than an hour.

  •  Aaron Gray is promoting fitness, no really he is. Aaron has lost 25 pounds and is hoping to get a little lighter. This is good news as the Hornets need a backup bigman. While I don’t think he’s really the answer I do like the fact he’s trying to get a bit more agile. Hopefully we see a new and improved Gray, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.
  • Chris Bosh says that loyalty has no place in Free Agency. This is important to the Hornets because many are discussing Chris Paul’s loyalty to the Hornets as he might stay or go within the next two years. What I can’t understand is that these guys argue there’s no loyalty in the league, but then hate it when fans aren’t loyal to them. Hypocracy is a word they musn’t be familiar with because it seems that “loyalty” is scarce becoming a factor in professional sports…I mean do you remember when Dr. Kelso stopped talking to Elliot because she accepted a private practise job in the show Scrubs? Well that’s exactly what we should do if Paul moves into private practise…I mean “if he moves to another team”.
  • A nice map of the Hornets transaction history. It is interesting to see how players were acquired. It’s interesting to note that P.J. Brown is indirectly responsible for Emeka Okafor’s spot on the team (P.J. Brown and J.R. Smith traded to Bulls for Tyson Chandler, Chandler then traded for Okafor.)
  • In the midst of many people casting a shadow of doubt on the whole Trevor Ariza acquisition, I thought it might be intersting to re-visit the Tyson Chandler trade. NOLA.com didn’t see Chandler improving the team and didn’t like giving up Smith and Brown for him. Mark Stein liked the acquisition, only after he was putting up 11.9 rebounds per game. I think looking back there’s no doubt that it worked out well for the Hornets.

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Tags: Chris Paul David West New Orleans Hornets

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