Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets makes Sports Illustrated's Top-100 list, but which other Hornets did?

New Orleans Hornets in Sports Illustrated's Top 100 NBA Players


A great pickup from Sports Illustrated this evening, they have just run their Top-100 players in the NBA. Three Hornets made the cut into the Top-100 compiled by Zach Lowe. The list is a combination of tireless and arduous work on the part of Lowe, and for most of it I agree.

So without further adieu here’s who made the cut!

  • No. 69: Emeka Okafor

Age: 28
2010-11 Stats: 10.3 PPG, 57.3 FG%, 56.2 FT%, 9.5 RPG, 0.6 APG, 1.8 BLK

Okafor is a bit of mooch, in an endearing way, on offense: He’s dependent on Chris Paul to find him on cuts and pick-and-rolls, or to draw so much attention from defenses that no one is there to block him out. He’ll post up now and then, but he’s not an elite back-to-the-basket force.

Okafor’s defense is what really gets him this ranking, though. Opponents shot just 20-of-80 against him in isolation and just 82-of-203 (40 percent) on post-ups – elite numbers, per Synergy. At 6-foot-10, he’s not a disruptive pick-and-roll defender on the level of Dwight Howard orTyson Chandler, but he’s a force of a different kind.

  • No. 31: David West

Age: 32
2010-11 Stats: 18.9 PPG, 50.8 FG%, 80.7 FT%, 7.6 RPG, 2.3 APG

West’s ugly knee injury, which cost him the final month of last season, did not really affect his ranking. He should be able to recover just fine, and explosiveness hasn’t been a huge part of his game for years. West is like an anti-Josh Smith - totally unspectacular, but spectacularly reliable.

He’s a pick-and-pop beast on offense. He also ranked among the league’s top 50 in points per possession last season on both isolations and post-up chances, according to Synergy. He’ll function well without Paul, if it comes to that, though perhaps not quite as well. West is unselfish and a good passer.

  • No. 6: Chris Paul

Age: 26
2010-11 Stats: 15.9 PPG, 46.3 FG%, 38.8 3PT%, 9.8 APG, 4.1 RPG, 2.4 STL

Scour this blog and you won’t find a single reference to any other player as the league’s greatest point guard, not even while Rose was running away with the MVP. Even easing his way back from a serious knee injury, Paul led all point guards in PER and proved with a couple of masterpieces in the postseason that no point man can match his combination of deadeye shooting, patience, vision and defense.

He is knocking on the 50-40-90 door (50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range and 90 percent from the line), and the idea of Paul’s morphing into a Nash-level shooter should terrify the league because it will make him even more dangerous and lengthen his career by allowing him to pick his spots for drives to the hoop. He shot the ball better than Rose from all over the court, and he shot it less often, opting to involve his teammates more. Rose supporters will point out that Chicago’s middling supporting cast forced the MVP to shoot more. But I look at the Hornets’ lineup, and I see Marco Belinelli, Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor, and I wonder how they ever scored enough to win. Paul was the reason. He knows how – and where, and when – to create the best looks for each of his teammates.

A great pickup from Rohan over on At The Hive for this one.

My two-cents, it’s great to see Okafor on the list, and hopefully some of you guys can appreciate Okafor’s defensive work from the statistics given. It also scares me to see West listed as 32 years old, in a lot of ways it makes me not want to re-sign him, then I realise we don’t have much of anything else in the way of a Robin to Paul being Batman.

The italicized and bold-ed part in the Paul excerpt is something to take away and throw in the face of Chicago Bull fans. This is the reason he’s the best point-guard in the league, thank you very much.

So what do you make of the list? We might need more players from the Top-100 to help Chris Paul out, hey?

Tags: Chris Paul David West Emeka Okafor New Orleans Hornets

  • daThRONe

    Haven’t looked at the entire list, but where the Hornets are seem accurate. The great/scary thing about CP3′s ranking he clearly wasn’t 100%just this season.

    I have always given Okafor his props as a on ball/post defender. It, like the article mention, that fact that he sucks on offense and isn’t a great helpside defender and he’s due 12mil next year is why we need to trade him.

  • JamesGrayson

    @daThRONe I know where you stand dathrone. You’re right that Okafor is being well overpriced and I have a piece coming up soon that deals with it, or perhaps a way of dealing with it ;)

  • lottoni81

    Okafor??? Wow…

  • Mr. West

    @lottoni81

    Okafor is a top 10 center in this league. Don’t let his bad playoff series convince you otherwise. The guy is a defensive and rebounding machine and too many people focus on the fact that he is overpaid and don’t actually look at what he does.

  • daThRONe

    Emeka is an average rebounder. Kevin Love is a rebounding machine.

  • lottoni81

    @Mr. West Rebounding machine??? What Andrew Bynum think about it? I think Okafor a mediocre player. He has some defensive talent and nothing else. And he has one of the most absurd salaries in the league. We need to get rid of it.

  • Mr. West

    @lottoni81

    Emeka’s contract is awful. Simply awful. He is way overpaid and the fact that we traded a fantastic center who was paid less and was taller, stronger and a fan favorite for him is just salt in the wound. But unless we get a darn good SG for him or a center of equal value, I would be against trading him. I mean there are 4 decent free agent centers out there: Marc Gasol, Tyson Chandler, Nene, and Dalembert. I seriously doubt that any of them are coming to N.O (though I would love to be proven wrong). Trading Okafor for a straight up salary dump would leave us centerless.

  • daThRONe

    @Mr. West @lottoni81 Being that were almost certain to end up with a firmer if not out right hard cap player salaries become just that much more vital. Paying a guy 12mil for services we can get for a third that money will cripple this team moving forward more than anything short of trading CP3 for salary dumping purposes.

  • daThRONe

    Looking at this list I disagree with a lot of the ranking. In all fairness it’s hard to rank 100 players like this.

  • lottoni81

    @daThRONe@mr Exactly. I think CP3 will leave New Orleans as soon as possible. So I see no reason to go with horrible Okafor’s contract. I know many people here don’t agree with me. But I think the wisest thing to do is trade Paul + Okafor. Would receive something good in return for CP3 and, at the same time, we got rid of the absurd Emeka’s contract.

  • daThRONe

    It really all depends on the next CBA. If big market teams are allowed to operate like they do now, then yes there’s a strong chance CP3 bolts for a more win now franchise. But if we get a firmer/hard cap Chris may be better served just staying here.

    For example if we do get a hard cap of 65mil where is Paul going to go? LAL has 25mil in Kobe alone, NYK has 36mil invested in Melo & Amare, and ORL has 47mil invested in Howard, Arenas, and Turkoglu. These are all the teams rumored to be destinations if Chris were to leave. The problem would be these teams will be forced to shed salary and in no position to take on Paul’s 16mil. Under a cap of 65-75mil Chris is better staying here. Because the new cap would drive players asking price down and we would have the cap room and roster space. As long as if we let D.West walk or don’t over pay him and trade Okafor for cap space and bodies.

    I have a off season moves that would leave us a title contender. Now and maybe for the next 5 years under a 65-70million dollar hard cap. I put the link to it after I’m done.

  • Mr. West

    @daThRONe

    I would love to see this offseason move. And I know I’m new here but I just wanted to make sure you fellas know I’m not hatin or downing your ideas just getting into a spirited debate. Hope we have many more in the future.

  • daThRONe

    @Mr. West http://www.hornets247.com/journals/2011/08/20/the-best-most-realistic-offseason-move/. It’s cool that’s the beauty of sports talk. If we all agreed all the time about everything there would be no need to discuss anything.

  • daThRONe

    Can’t believe these people didn’t rank Carmelo in the top ten. Amare ranking is incredibly low. Must be Knick haters.