I always think that something that doesn’t get more heavily scrutinized is the title to which some journalists and sports commentators hold. Such a title is “expert.” Now there is a lot of NBA commentators and journalists that know a lot about the business, the day-to-day processes of the league. Some know particular teams over others, so it’s no surprise that many national NBA “experts” haven’t got a clue as to the Hornets situation.
Before the season started you had the usual season predictions, so I thought it’d be fun to reflect on where people thought we would end up, and where we actually finished.
So let’s head over the jump for some reflection.
So before we get into the ESPN predictions let’s just run over a few interesting points. The highest any of the “experts” had the Bees finishing was 8th (Thank you Chris Broussard) and the lowest was 12th (twice selected).
- J.A. Adande: 11th in West
- Tim Legler: 12th in West
- Chris Sheriden: 12th in West
- Chris Broussard: 8th in West
- Chad Ford: 8th in West
Those are just some of the picks, here’s my favorite quotation from the bunch:
The Chris Paul situation is distracting and demoralizing. This is a team that could be on the brink of collapse, depending on what happens with CP3. They’re going to take a significant step back. –Tim Legler
Not all were negative, and it’s hard to imagine just how the situation looked to outsiders like Legler. He took a guess as to how bad it was, and he figured, “Hey, it seems like a disaster.” What he didn’t know was just how competitive Paul, West, Ariza and even Okafor were. Overall, ESPN had us pegged to finish 10th out West (overall).
Yahoo Sports — Kelly Dwyer
The great work of the blog “Ball Don’t Lie” had the Hornets to finish with a 44-38 record, which actually seems about right. To be honest it was as pinpoint a guess as you’ll have. In fact his comments about what our stength’s and weaknesses were and are, seem pretty astute:
And that’s really all I have in New Orleans’ favor right now. This team has a very good starting five, and with Paul on board in a seven-game series anything can happen…This is a team to root for, because Paul is so brilliant, and there are so many underrated parts (everyone really needs to watch Emeka Okafor, now that he’s been needlessly humbled). But the ceiling is limited, even if Paul and David West are a two-man act for our time.
Well done Mr. Dwyer, you actually know what our team does well, and what they struggle with.
Hornets247 –Michael McNamara, Ryan Schwan and Joe Gerrity
Sorry guys, had to do it. Seeing as Hornets247 is the quintessential New Orleans Hornets blog (behind this one of course…) it is only fitting we have a look-see into how they thought the season would fair.
Michael McNamara: 40-42, 11th out West
If Melo gets traded, Yao gets hurt again, Jefferson doesn’t fit in Utah, the Hornets stay completely healthy, Thornton gets back on track, and we move Peja for another quality piece or two- then the Hornets are a top 7 team out West.
Ryan Schwan: 47-35, 9th out West
Look at the season 2 years ago when the Hornets won 49 games. That season the Hornets got the most minutes from Paul, West, Butler, Peja, Posey and half a season of Chandler/Armstrong. If Paul can’t push this much more solid roster to at least 47 wins, it’ll be fairly shocking.
Joe Gerrity: 47-35, 7th out West
There are going to be a lot of teams above .500 out in the West this season, and if Chris Paul can stay healthy he should be able to navigate the Hornets to more than their fair share of close wins.
Despite the fact that McNamara was a few wins off the Hornets final regular season total both Schwan and Gerrity were on target (MM still banked on the fact that the aforementioned series of events wouldn’t happen, when in fact most of them did, so in a way he’s right). Great job guys!
At The Hive — Rohan Cryuff
Over on the other Hornets sister site, Rohan Cryuff used a number of formulated data sets to predict the final outcome for New Orleans. It turns out he was also right on track with the predictions.
Prediction: 46.5 to 52.5 wins
Not a solid number but a decent estimate. Although it never accounted for trades and such, it still was a great rough idea of where the team would finish up as the core group of players never really changed.
SBN –Mike Prada
Prediction: 38-44 overall record
Another pessimistic writer, Prada feels like the Hornets had just to much going on and would falter thus not appeasing Chris Paul. An out-take:
But the Hornets’ roster doesn’t really stack up to the other top teams in the West, and they’re also working in a first-time coach and general manager. What happens if the Hornets get off to a slow start? What happens if Williams is unable to reach Paul? What happens if Thornton and Bayless don’t improve? Will Paul once again demand a trade through back channels? The uncertainty makes New Orleans tough to predict…I’m pessimistic about New Orleans’ chances with so many new pieces in the fold, and will predict a 38-44 record, which certainly won’t be enough to appease Paul.
The glaring statement out of all of that is the uncertainty part. Since Prada isn’t an avid New Orleans Hornets follower his take is a bit more gauging as to where the public placed the Hornets before the season started. The uncertainty had everyone stumped. Could this be a 50 win team? Maybe if things went their way, but because we had no clue it was better to bet on the safe side.
Swarm and Sting — James Grayson
Okay, it’s only fair, what did I predict? What were my bold statements for how we would fair?
We need to remember that this really is a two year process. If the Hornets tread water, maybe make the playoffs and get knocked out in the first round they can still be patient and maybe then pull the trigger on some moves…I don’t really want to throw out a specific number of how many wins we’ll get but I think Hornets fans need to be constantly looking at the number 8 spot, looking at how many games we are behind (or in front).
So it seems I also was pretty spot on as to where we would finish (even though I didn’t really have the guts to put a raw number on it). The fact is, I thought that this was a two-year process. The fact we made the playoffs says a lot to Chris Paul and might give him hope for the future. However, it was such a struggle just to get in it may make him rethink his longevity in the Bayou. All in all, it’s a building block and what I thought and what happened actually has me kind of happy.
I think J.E. Skeets (The Basketball Jones) summed it up best, “the Hornets are a difficult bunch to pick. Can they recapture some of that ’08 magic? Or are they destined for another sub-500 season? I honestly have no idea with this team, here’s my best guess (41-41).”
All in all looking back at what everyone said it’s fair to say that some were more pessimistic than others. I do think though that looking back adds more value to just how much this team has accomplished this season. Sure they didn’t end up in the top-4 in the West, but only 2 or 3 “experts” had the Hornets actually making the playoffs, while everyone else was much more reluctant.
No one knew that the defense would be this good, nor did they see the crazy ups-and-downs that proceeded. But that’s just how tough predicting is, no one really ever knows.
My best advice to me and others heading forward would be to get to know the team better. Rather than gloss over the box-score statistics and headline news, really get into the facts, the itty-bitty details that make a team. Once we do that we can probably understand just how far a team will really go.