Thursday, September 01, 2005

Offseason Overview: New Orleans Hornets

OK, well, I’ve decided against making any particularly insensitive remarks about the current disaster in New Orleans, comparing it to the disaster that is the New Orleans Hornets. But really, there’s not much to look forward to this year for the Hornets, for either their fans or fantasy owners. Much like the Dallas Mavericks, the Hornets have now gotten rid of 2 of their Big Three from two years ago, and got very little in return. Unlike the Mavs, they got rid of the best of those three (Baron Davis), and the one that remains (Jamaal Magloire) is extremely unhappy and isn’t really a guy to build around anyhow. But there may be some gems to be found:

The stud: Jamaal Magloire, F/C
After the 03-04 season, Magloire looked like he was ready to break out last year. He was averaging a double double, and was performing particularly well down the stretch. Then, last year happened. His PPG fell, his shooting percentage dropped, and his attitude hit the floor. Oh yeah, and he only played in 23 games, after playing all 82 games the previous three years. The subject of unfulfilled trade rumors all summer, he could be a nice sleeper in the middle rounds this year.

The support: Chris Paul, PG
Paul may be the first rookie taken in fantasy drafts this year, battling with Andrew Bogut for that honor. He could very well lead the team in points and assists, and it’s not like they’re going to sit him for Speedy Claxton, I would hope. He’ll be a nice 2nd PG, but I wouldn’t count on him as your main assists guy.

The supporting support: JR Smith, SG
Smith showed plenty of promise last year, progressing through the year from an obviously overwhelmed high schooler to a nice scoring threat by the end of the season. He could be good for anywhere from 12 to 18 ppg this year, with one or two 3’s and a steal. The problem is that he doesn’t help whatsoever in boards or assists, but there’s always a chance that with a full year under his belt, he’ll be able to improve those numbers.

The sleeper: Chris Andersen, F/C
Sure, he got some grief at the dunk contest, but taking a look at his numbers from last year, Andersen could have plenty of value if he got 30-35 mpg. In 21 mpg, he put up 7.7/6.1 with 1.5 blocks. Project that to 30 mpg, and those numbers go up to 11/8.7/2.1, and suddenly he’s a great midseason pickup. Getting those minutes, however, is another story.

The slacker: PJ Brown, PF
This has gotta be it for PJ, right? I mean, nobody’s been more consistent over the last 3 years, but he’s such a borderline fantasy player, only really helping in rebounds. And now he’ll be 36 when the year starts … nothing against the guy, but at some point you’re better off drafting on potential. That time might be now for PJ.

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