Scouting the NBA: Week Four — A Knickerbocker, A Golden Nugget and a CP3
James Grayson -- Hornets247.com
A big week ahead the New Orleans Hornets face some very tough NBA opponents including the Knicks, Nuggets and Clippers.
Tuesday 20th vs. New York Knicks — Fox Sports New Orleans, 7pm CST
The red hot New York Knicks come into town sporting their superstars and no doubt a number of bandwagon fans. Be prepared to brace yourself for the game because no doubt you will see the odd, “Well, my Dad is from Queens and I went to Times Square once who was born and raised in New Orleans,” Knicks fan.
Yes the exist and yes they are as bad as those Celtic and Laker fans in Louisiana. Nobody wants you here.
- Player of Interest for the Hornets: J.R. Smith
Oh the eternal fire and ice that is J.R. Smith, why would we want him back? I’ll tell you why, because he’s red-hot and looking like the player many predicted he’d be coming out of college.
While he’s probably going to cool off, Smith has transformed the way he prepares for games and is seemingly the consummate professional. He probably isn’t, but just don’t listen to what Knicks fans have to say.
Regardless, JR is on a very nice contract and is a shooting-guard the Hornets so desperately need. It’s not like we spent over $50 million dollars on the position already, why not throw another $50 million at Smith?
Okay maybe not.
- Best Matchup for the Knicks: Tyson Chandler vs. Anthony Davis
I don’t think Davis will be ready to go in this game as he apparently suffered an ankle injury. If he does play expect Chandler to try and get after the rookie.
I remember in the off-season that Davis’ goals was to win rookie of the year, be defensive player of the year and make the playoffs. It’s looking like only one of those is a plausible possibility.
Duh, the playoffs.
Anyway, Chandler will really go after Anthony and I don’t know whether he can handle it as the Unibrow has been very lackadaisical on defense so far this season. Not exactly what we expected.
- Best Matchup for the Hornets: Greivis Vasquez vs. Raymond Felton
This is only a maybe. I mean, all the Knicks are playing really well. New Orleans is going to have to construct a perfect gameplan that contains shooters but also controls the pace. The Knicks are playing well on defense.
DEFENSE AND KNICKS DO NOT GO TOGETHER.
But they do this season. So far…
Anyway, Vasquez might be able to exploit Felton defensively and might be able to contain him on the other end. Really, I’m not sure where the Hornets have an advantage.
As much as I want to kick the losing streak it’s not going to be stopped. Monty Williams proved last week that his defensive scheme has a long way from being successfully implemented.*
Teams have controlled the tempo and been able to grab offensive rebounds at a ridiculous rate. Until those things are fixed, expect the New Yorkers to win another game.
Wednesday 21st @ Indiana Pacers — Fox Sports New Orleans, 6pm CST
- Player of Interest for the Hornets: Danny Granger
Michael and Ryan have mentioned it before so I’ll bring it up again. A Granger for Gordon trade, who would do it?*
I think maybe now it’s a bit more tenuous as both Granger and Gordon are injured. While Granger may have a lower ceiling would people trust him to play over Gordon? I still haven’t given up on Eric probably because
I don’t see ANYONE taking his contract on so we might as well go with him.*
If Granger could be acquired for an affordable price I’d take him.
- Best Matchup for Indiana: Lance Stephenson vs. Austin Rivers
Until the rookie can show he can play defense then I’ll continue to remain sour. I supported him last week prior to the Bucks and Thunder games, but after that I really have lowered all expectations for Rivers — for this year.*
Sure we might as well run with him, but that doesn’t mean I can’t slap my desk every time I see Rivers get beat.
- Best Matchup for New Orleans: Al-Farouq Aminu vs. Paul George
If you were to say heading into this season who would be the better player, ten-out-of-ten times you’d pick George. That might have changed somewhat as Aminu is actually playing a
little*better than Paul, not by much though.*
The thing is, many Pacer fans thought George would be an All-Star, now he has guys like Aminu looking as good, maybe even better than he.*
Must have confidence and at the start of the Hornets first road trip I think they get the win. Yes, on a back-to-back.
Friday 23rd @ Phoenix Suns — Fox Sports New Orleans, 8pm CST
- Player of Interest for the Hornets: A Sign-and-trade from*yesteryear
- Best Matchup for the Suns: Goran Dragic vs. Greivis Vasquez
The talent he displayed late in Houston has not disappeared and the Suns managed to recapture a player getting better with every game. Vasquez once again finds himself out-matched and there’s little we can do about it here at Hornets247.
- Best Matchup for the Hornets: Al-Farouq Aminu/Anthony Davis vs. Michael Beasley
You can just tell that Beasley is one of those players with untapped potential that’s never going to be fulfilled. Suns fans were super high on Beasley coming into this season, while the rest of us in reality knew better.*
A swing game that could go either way I see the Hornets plucking two-from-two on the road trip so far. I think I also have an uncanny face like Homer Simpson.
Sunday 25th @ Denver Nuggets — Fox Sports New Orleans, 7pm CST
- Player of Interest for the Hornets: Javale McGee
Ugh… I really wanted Javale McGee on this team. It’s probably just me and my sour grapes (awful lot of sourness on today’s post…), but a front-line of Anderson, Davis and McGee.*
Okay so back to reality, if the Nuggets see themselves rebuilding and don’t wish to pay a guy 10,000,000 a season to come off the bench then Demps should go after Javale.
- Best Matchup for Nuggets: Ty Lawson/Andre Iguodala vs. Grevis Vasquez/Austin Rivers
They’re fast, they’re strong. No that’s not the Hornets back-court, that’s the Nuggets and if they don’t push the tempo against us George Karl is going to want to move to a team that will. The gameplan should be to attack the Hornets guards as it’s no doubt already in every NBA scouts package.*
We have an awful backcourt.
- Best Matchup for Hornets: Robin Lopez vs. Kosta Koufas
I think that Lopez and Koufas are very similar players. Having said that Lopez has been decent of late and might be able to continue in this one.
Monday 26th @ L.A. Clippers — Fox Sports New Orleans, 9.30pm CST
- Player of Interest for the Hornets: Christopher Emmanuel Paul I
When the Hornets traded away Chris Paul who thought they’d be in a position to get him back, with a roster beaming with talent and potential. CP3 will probably see it another way because it’s likely he’ll position himself for Lebron to join him or if the Clippers show something in the playoffs this season.*
Regardless Demps should have him there as a guy to give a call should Paul decide to enter free-agency. It would be a little ridiculous for him to return, so like Pacer fans we should return to reality.
- Best Matchup for the Clippers: DeAndre Jordan vs. Robin Lopez
There’s something that might stagger most and that is that DeAndre Jordan is coming into his own in the NBA. This might be influenced by Chris Paul’s ability to raise the talent around him, but regardless Jordon deserves props.*
I expect Lopez to contend but likely will be outmatched.*
- Best Matchup for the Hornets: Roger Mason/Brian Roberts vs. Willie Green
In a battle of the old-guard Mason and Green will go head-to-head. I say this because Rivers has been pretty awful recently and Williams has seen more from Mason and Roberts than Doc’s son. Expect these two-guards to get more time than Rivers over the coming weeks.
- Prediction: Clippers by 9
A shame to end the week like this, but unfortunately I see the Los Angeles Clippers winning this one. While Eric Gordon remains in LA for reasons that are awfully suspicious (we do know he came from LA in the trade right and is now rehabbing there?) I think the Clippers can do it without EJ.*
Motif of the Week