Southwest Division Advanced Stats
New Orleans Hornets
Pace: 90.7 (30)
OffRtg: 98.3 (26)
DefRtg: 102.3 (16)
NetRtg: -4.0 (24)
There are a few reasons to be bullish on the Hornets this season.
First and foremost, they have the one rookie -- Anthony Davis -- who can make a real impact right away, even if it's just on defense. Second, coach Monty Williams seemingly got the most out of a depleted roster last season. Third, they were pretty good (+5.2 net rating), especially offensively, in Eric Gordon's limited minutes last year.
Finally, new addition Ryan Anderson has come to prove that he doesn't need to be playing next to Dwight Howard to be effective. Over the last two seasons, Anderson's effective field-goal percentage with Howard on the floor (55.5 percent) was only slightly higher than with Howard on the bench (54.8 percent).
The most interesting question in New Orleans could be who gets the bulk of the minutes at point guard. Austin Rivers was taken with a lottery pick, but doesn't have the skill set of a true point, and the Grizzlies weren't so bad (-0.4 net rating) with Greivis Vasquez on the floor last season.
They were even better when Vazquez was on the floor with Al-Farouq Aminu, who should be the Hornets' starting small forward after New Orleans dealt Trevor Ariza to Washington. In 906 minutes with both Vasquez and Aminu on the floor, the Hornets were a plus-22 and allowed just 98.5 points per 100 possessions.
If you put those two together with Davis, that's a pretty good defensive lineup. Throw in Gordon and Anderson and the Hornets can score. There are a lot of other questions, but the numbers say that the Hornets could be competitive just a season after trading away Chris Paul.