The Hornets need to find Chris Paul a knock down shooter/scorer. Peja Stojakovic is confused.

Finding Chris Paul A Scorer and Knock-Down Shooter A Must

Just a little opinion piece today (a double-post fun!), nothing to big. I was watching the Hornets vs. Mavericks Game 5 last night and something occurred to me. The Hornets need to find a knock-down shooter.

Now I know what you’re thinking, “What about Marco Belinelli?” Well folks that’s true, he’s a nice shooter, but he isn’t great. The Hornets in this 2008 game, did a great job of getting the rebound, steal or block and pushing it up the floor. Chris Paul would dash up, draw defenders and Peja Stojakovic would trail. You almost knew exactly what was going to happen, you saw Peja floating to the right, you saw David West cut to the basket from the left. Paul drew his defender, kicked it to Peja who knocked down the wide open three.

The amount of times that Marco Belinelli would be presented with a similar opportunity is endless, yet he wouldn’t deliver.

It’s not just on the fast break either.

The Hornets got the rebound, Paul pushed it up the floor and had Dirk Nowitzki on him. David West had Jason Kidd on him, so mismatch. CP was on the left side of the court, West coming from the top of the three. David then tried to do his “fake-screen-and-roll” thing that he loves so much. Meanwhile Peja was positioned opposite in the corner for three. Paul then, before West passed him, kicked it to Peja cross-court as the entire Maverick defense hedged over to the left side because of the Paul-Nowtizki match-up. Stojakovic knocked it down.

My point is this. Marco Belnelli needs to find a better way of becoming the knock-down shooter that Peja Stojakovic was before. My problem is that I’m not sure if he is the problem…

If we have a look at that 2008 lineup it was Chris Paul, then two shooters/scorers on the wing, David West in the post/pick-and-pop and Tyson Chandler for the pick-and-roll. In a lot of ways it was the perfect team for Chris Paul. He had bountiful scorers, but also had a defensive juggernaut at the Center position.

I don’t think the problem lies with Marco Belinelli, I think it might lie with Trevor Ariza.

There’s no doubt that Trevor Ariza is a fantastic NBA-defender. He’s athletic, cuts to the basket well, gets steals and runs the floor. But, he can’t shoot. At all. His scoring ability is limited, looks frenetic.

My point is I don’t think he fits well with a highly oiled Chris Paul team. Those days in 2008 were predicated on defense, but they had guys on offense to help Chris Paul and allowed him to operate with the room and ease he so needs.

So whether Ariza is with the Hornets or not I still think that the team needs to find another shooter who can play along side of Belinelli, but not be liable on defense. I guess it’s why I like Danny Granger so much for this team…

Tags: Chris Paul Danny Granger David West Marco Belinelli New Orleans Hornets Peja Stojakovic Tyson Chandler

  • lottoni81

    James, you’re suggesting that Belinelli remain a starter and the problem is Trevor Ariza? I don’t understand…

  • JamesGrayson

    @lottoni81 Well whether Belinelli is the starter or not is up to management. I don’t think Belinelli SHOULD be the starter, he should be coming off the bench. I just don’t think Ariza fits in well with Chris Paul, unless he starts to shoot better.

  • Mr. West

    I completely agree with you that a Paul/Granger/West trio would put fear into the rest of the NBA. A question: If we got Granger but no new 2 guard, would you prefer the lineup of Beli at the 2 and Granger at the 3, or Granger at the 2 and Ariza at the 3?

  • JamesGrayson

    @Mr. West That’s a good question. Like I said, let’s think back to that 2008 team. On the wings we had Morris Peterson and Peja Stojakovic, not notorious defenders. On the inside we had a terrific defensive center that crushed anything into the lane. Now, I’m not saying Okafor is in the same defensive category, but he’s not far off. My preference would be a lineup of Paul-Belinelli-Granger-West-Okafor, that way we have scoring on the wings balancing with defensive talent at the center position. I’m sure that Monty Williams could get more out of Granger defensively.

    All I’m really trying to do is think about how Paul played best, and who he played best with. When he had shooters/scorers on the wing, he seemed to operate much better than before. What do you think?

  • Mr. West


    Hm a fantastic point of view there. (No sarcasm lol) As much as I love Beli as a person, I really think he would flourish in a sixth man role. Coming off the bench and not having to play defensively against starters would be good for him. The main reason I would hate to lose Ariza at the starting postion is because Okafor is a presense inside and I hope that we keep him personally, (but thats a topic for a different day) he can’t cover Lebron, Wade, Kobe or Melo. Picturing Marco/Granger having to have the headache of guarding Kobe would kill me. But God bless us, if we picked up Granger or Ellis or some other star to play alongside Paul and West, I could live with any rotation they came up with.

  • JamesGrayson

    @Mr. West I really agree that Belinelli could do better coming off the bench. A more perhaps realistic or more likely outcome is if we go after Nick Young as our two-guard option. Then Beli can go to the bench, Ariza can sort of stop taking 15 shots a game and so on. It’s a hopeful view, but I really like Nick Young.

    I still think that we’re being very optimistic when we say the names Young, Granger or Ellis but we need a scorer along side of CP one way or another.

  • Mr. West


    Oh of course I know we are miles away from those players I named I was just making conversation. Nick Young I think would thrive with Chris Paul.. He would really be the only SG we had ever had next to Paul that could create his own shot and not rely on Paul to find him wide open. He is young, tall, and athletic and not bad defense. The biggest contribution he would bring would of course be scoring though.

    Other fans say Aaron Affalo would fit perfectly here as a classy guy who can shoot the three well and has great defense. While he would be a great pickup, I really think what we need is more along the lines of Young. Someone who can drop 30 any given night and can take alot of the pressure off West and Paul. Let Ariza be Ariza and defend the Kobe’s, Okafor be Okafor and be a defensive power in the middle, and leave the scoring to Paul Young and West. I may be crazy in thinking so, but I truley think adding Young would make us a contender.

    So in short, I don’t think we will get him, but yes I completely agree that Nick Young is probably our best shot at getting a semi “elite” SG next to Paul.