There was big news amongst Hornets nation yesterday when the organisation traded the fan-favourite Marcus Thornton for the former Sacramento King, Carl Landry. A lot of bickering and all out disgust was happening on twitter yesterday with Hornets fans sad to see one of their favorite Hornets (of all time) go. I myself was upset to see “Buckets” leave the team. It is no doubt that his energy, spark and flair were something that all New Orleanians could relate to. We all hoped he could blossom in to something big, but the reality is he most likely will not be an All-Star caliber player.
For weeks we as fans have been calling for Marcus to receive more consistent playing time. Monty Williams undoubtedly left a sour taste in our mouths and minds with the way he played him. I think though we must move on and assess whether this makes the Hornets, as a team, better prepared for the immediate.
A Statistic Comparison
I’m not usually a big stats guy but I feel that sometimes it’s the best source of evidence to support an argument. Directly comparing the players is shaky in its basis. Both play completely different positions, but efficiency is efficiency. Also go and check out Rohan’s comparison over on At The Hive. It’s a great breakdown of our sentimental feelings outweighing the numbers, as they bring us back to reality.
Before we get to the numbers let it be known that both players are having somewhat unproductive years. Both haven’t been used in the roles that they should, but you get the feeling that since they are both under producing that the comparison is warranted.
- The first number that jumps out in front of you is the defensive rebound percentage. Marcus Thornton, a guard posts a 17.1% rebound percentage this season, while Landry posts a mediocre 10.6%. For a big-man that’s very embarrassing for a big-man especially a quality player like Carl. Two notes that go with that though are one, Marcus has been in a defensive rebounding system while Carl has not and two over a larger career wide sample size Landry has posted a 14% D-Reb-Rate while Thornton has a 10% rate.
- Something that was lacking for the Hornets thus far in the season has been offensive consistency. While it’s be-known to the Hornets community that Marcus is a “scoring-punch” he hasn’t delivered this season due to poor coaching and inconsistent minutes. It appeared that was unlikely to change, but that’s not to say that the same thing hasn’t been going on for Landry. An offensive rating of 109 is just above the league average (according to Rohan over on At The Hive) of 107. Thornton significantly misses that spot posting a 99.
- Over his career Landry has given, on average each season, 6.6 wins per season. (Wins Share over career divided by number of full seasons played).
On comparison both players are both fair value targets. The Hornets felt that they had a log-jam at the 2-guard and had problems in the front court. Sacramento wasn’t touching Marco Belinelli or Jarrett Jack, so Marcus Thornton fit the bill. I know it’s tough to swallow but this trade makes sense on paper.
Fitting Into His Role
For a long while the Hornets have always needed a third, quality big-man into their rotation. I have been one to promote this as a must for any playoff contending team. The Lakers have, on paper and practice, the best example of this. Their three headed juggernaut of Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom offer them the flexibility and skills needed to stand up and dominate opponents.
By no means is our rotation like that in the slightest, but it’s a solid variation of it. Having an Emeka Okafor-David West-Carl Landry big-man rotation is decent and it allows Monty an ability to mix and match. The skill set of Carl Landry fits perfectly into the Hornets rotation. I am content with that being our big-man rotation and Aaron Gray filling in the blanks.
If we address his bench role he can act as an isolation post up that can get points in that variety. The bench needed this desperately as they didn’t seem to know how to get points out of the pick and roll game. It gives it an alternate dimension that has been lacking for a long while now.
Placing Landry with Chris Paul is also a nice fit. He has a nice jump-shot that can space the floor but he also can work it inside with what is known as the lethal head-pump-fake. On paper he sounds like a nice fit, but in practice? That’s any-one’s guess.
The Future Beckons
The big deal about this trade is that Landry’s contract expires after this season along with David West’s. While it may seem to the outsider that West is set to leave and Landry is set to stay it’s more likely it’s the other way around. If the Hornets make a run in the playoffs (which we might not even make) then Landry might re-sign with the team knowing it will be competitive. If his role works out as it should, the team wins and does well in the playoffs his future with the team is bright. I just don’t think that scenario will play out with Jarret Jack and Marco Belinelli still on the team.