Remember that magical 2008 season? Seems like long time ago for Chris Paul and those Hornets. Something about that season always sticks out to me. The crazed hunger from every single member of the team. They all had something to prove, no one was at the top of their game. They all wanted to be right next to the greats.
Chris Paul had to win best point-guard honours as well as best player ones too. David West was still greatly unappreciated around the league. Tyson Chandler was considered a bust by most. Peja Stojakovic couldn’t stay healthy. Morris Peterson was past it and no longer a scorer. Byron Scott was still a mediocre coach at best.
Most importantly though, all of these traits reflected the city of New Orleans at that time. They were fighting for not only their own careers, but the city they played in. Sure it wasn’t sold out all the time, but the large amount that were supported them to the very end.
Moving into the present it seems a lot of that spunk, fire, whatever you want to call it, is gone. Chris Paul still has something to prove, but has already climbed to the top once before. David West has received the respect he deserves, yet is coming off an injury. Emeka Okafor has done nothing in his career of great significance and it doesn’t appear likely to change. Trevor Ariza has won a championship and Marco Belinelli is still prone to mistakes that over-rides any progress.
Next season, if there is one (it doesn’t seem like there will be) I want to see that passion from 2008. Whether that’s bringing in some new guys (Carl Landry was a great complement to last seasons team, he had that fire) or whether it’s starting from scratch, the Hornets must find a deep, talented pool of players that all have something to prove for themselves and the city of New Orleans.