The Hornets ended their preseason on a good note by beating the Miami Heat on Friday night 96- 89. Even though the Hornets lost 4 games in a row, it was a pretty good preseason for them. The Hornets finished with a 4-4 record and were without star player Eric Gordon. The Hornets were without other key players for the majority of the preseason. Players such as Jason Smith who only played in 1 game and Hakim Warrick who only played in 2 games will play significant roles for the Hornets come regular season.
After winning 3 games in a row to start off the preseason the Hornets were looking poised for greatness, then again for those 3 games their opponents were the Orlando Magic and the Charlotte Bobcats twice. Then the four game skid came against the Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks, and the Houston Rockets twice.
Without Eric Gordon on the floor the Hornets offense looked very stagnant at time as no other player on their roster is a dominant pure scorer. On many offensive possessions the Hornets were forced to either take contested 3 point shots or tired to force the ball into Anthony Davis or Robin Lopez down low. Luckily for the Hornets they have great 3 point shooters in Ryan Anderson and Roger Mason. While the 2nd option usually resulted in a turnover or missed shot. Austin Rivers should be able to develop into a great scorer like he was in college but he needs to get use to playing in the NBA, and stay off the injury report.
Even with the Hornets losing 4 of their last 5 games and Austin River injuring his ankle twice in the past week, they have a lot to look forward too. 1st overall pick in this years draft Anthony Davis played accordingly well and led the team in most points per game and rebounds per game. Davis played in 7 of 8 games and averaged 14.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks in 32.4 minutes per game. Davis did not shy away from being the focal point of this teams offense, he even shot near 50% from the floor with a .467 fg%.
New additions Ryan Anderson and Robin Lopez also did not disappoint. Anderson played in all 8 games as was very productive. He played 25.1 minutes per game and averaged 12.5 points and 7 rebounds. Anderson also averaged 2.75 3 pointed made per game with a .431 3point%. Anderson mainly came off the bench in the preseason and I would expect to play a 6th man role for the Hornets going forward with Robin Lopez starting at center. Lopez also played in all 8 games and was probably the most consistent player for the Hornets in the preseason. Lopez averaged 9.8 point, 7.5 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game. If it wasn’t for Jason Smith recording 2 blocks in the single preseason game he appeared in, I’m sure Lopez would have led the team in most blocks per game.
Grevis Vasquez is the lone true point guard on the Hornets roster, as a result he saw a lot of minutes this preseason and will continue to see about 25+ minutes per game during the regular season. Vasquez was good facilitator and averaged 7.38 assist per game while scoring the same amount of points, 7.38 points per game.
It is extremely hard to predict the Hornets or any teams regular season based of their preseason. Especially considering the Hornets were without Eric Gordon and have 2 rookies playing big minutes that will do nothing but continue to get better.
2012-2013 Preseason Averages
Stat Table via RealGm.com