“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”- Aristotle (Greek Philosopher).
Here at Swarm and Sting we tend to ponder on the bigger picture. There are rumors of the teams poor attendance and possible move out of New Orleans. However it just doesn’t seem like there is a clear path towards continued success for these Hornets, but I guess there never really is.
We must ask ourselves one basic question, what are the New Orleans Hornets building towards?
The common goal of every organisation in the NBA is to win a championship. This achievement is the epitome of the league and it’s loftiness is sevenfold. Franchises then tend to re-evaluate their goals to more realistic ones (a playoff birth, winning season etc). That is where things become more complicated.
It’s clear that at least one player on this team wants to win a championship right now. His name is Chris Paul and there’s little doubt in my mind that other more experienced veterans on the team want to get there sooner rather than later. But still the question lingers. Are we really, realistically, building towards a championship? Or are we just getting ready for a first round exit?If you ask around the league many will be resound to the assumption that the New Orleans Hornets are preparing for a first-round playoff exit. I know that it’s the most likely scenario but constructively the front-office may be trying to prepare themselves for the longer term. It does seem ludicrous for me to attempt to answer the question, but I will try for the sake of figuring things out.
Looking at the Hornets roster we can try to gain better knowledge into the possibility of constructing a winning championship type team.
The core foundation of any team is a leader. There are something like 25 teams with clear team leaders and the Hornets do possess one. However being a leader is not enough if an organisation expects to build a championship roster. A team much have a player so dedicated to winning some doctors would classify them as clinically insane. Their obsession over winning must invigorate team-mates to do similar and instill a belief that cannot be rivaled. Chris Paul is such a person. Teams like the Knicks, Nets and Magic all want a player like this to build around, it does make things a bit easier on a general manager. The Hornets cannot, must not waste this opportunity. Having a longer term vision is all well and good, but players like Paul need to see progressive improvement over that period. It’s no sense plugging your roster to the point of salary cap explosion, having flexibility and roster prowess is a tricky balance and Dell Demps must prepare the team for such an equation.
After the leader there are usually two other players that can significantly help contribute, these are usually in the form of a 7 foot center/power-forward and proficient scorer. Having such components is necessary to consistently work different areas of the floor. Having a facilitator is all well and good, but if there’s no inside presence or outside scoring available, his value is rendered useless. Looking at the Hornets roster one is somewhat disappointed with what they see. David West is a great player but his post presence isn’t in as dominating as we’d all like it to be. Emeka Okafor has been playing better of recent, but his punishing inside game isn’t as good as it needs to be. Looking for a scorer? Well the Hornets do have that, but that man is on the bench most of the time and rarely sees the floor (Marcus Thornton).
Don’t be completely disenchanted however because it appears the team is in a position to make some moves. Although there doesn’t appear to be the best of trade bait it seems all this team lacks is depth. The Hornets do not possess a roster like the Lakers, nor do they have the youthful promise of the Thunder. I wouldn’t be writing such things if I didn’t believe we had a chance to build towards something. Sure there is a lot of external problems with the team but I do believe if we can acquire just one big piece, or even one big-time contributor the Hornets can make something of themselves.
To review there are three basic things that are needed in terms of a competitive playoff roster.
- A winning leader
- A 7 foot center and scorer
- A reliable and explosive bench
Indeed these are all basic components and we all know there’s much more that goes into it than just three aspects. I do think teams need to have a coach that is focused, level-headed and strong willed. I think Monty Williams is just that. Sure he’s got a long ways to go in terms of the pure form of coaching and game management but that will come with time.
There is still a lot that needs to be done (like finding Chris Paul some shooters), especially in the rest of the season. But I feel that for the first time since 2009, this organisation’s on the court product has a plan to build for a championship in the next two or three years.