2008-2009 New Orleans Hornets Season Preview
2008 New Orleans Hornets preview from the Maddux Sports experts. If you are a sports bettor you will love Maddux's NBA lines page where you can compare daily odds
The New Orleans Hornets (56- 26) were the surprise team of the season. Last year, the Hornets seemed destine to leave the City of New Orleans. Their attendance was dismal at the start of the 2007- 2008 season. The team signed an agreement with the city that if specific attendance projections weren’t hit, the Hornets would no longer call The Big Easy home. As the team continued to win and ticket sales swelled, the franchise became the darling of the town. One major reason for the team’s success was guard Chris Paul. The aggressive, athletic and talented third-year player had a breakout season and his teammates followed suite.
The team lived on three-pointers and ball control. They didn’t throw the ball up all the time but when they did shoot from downtown they hit 37% of the time. But the lack of turnovers, fine ball movement and smart passing was what made this team a standout. They had the second-best turnover rate on offense, giving the ball up just 12.8% of the time. The club ended up fifth in offensive efficiency. The Hornets were seventh in defensive efficiency. They excelled in two areas—rebounding and giving the fewest fouls in the league. The club’s dream season came to an end when they lost to San Antonio in round two of the playoffs.
The Hornets sold their 27th draft pick to the Portland Trail Blazers and with the cash acquired free agent swingman James Posey. Posey is a veteran defensive specialist who has two championship rings—one with the Heat and the other with the Celtics. No rookies are on the team’s roster.
Forward David West commands the frontcourt, having grabbed 8.9 RPG and scored 20.6 PPG. He hit 48% of his shots and 85% of his free throws. Forward Peja Stojakovic, a ten-year vet, scored 16.4 PPG in 2007- 2008. Seven-foot-one Tyson Chandler is the team’s center. His numbers include a double-double averages of 11.7 RPG and 11.8 PPG. It’s hoped that Armstrong, who is now entering his third season, can offer the defense exactly what they need.
In the backcourt, guard Chris Paul is a dominant force. He scored 21.1 PPG and dished off 11.6 APG. The Hornets extended his contract for three years, ensuring that they will have a powerful player who can get them to the Promised Land. The problem with rostering a player like Paul is that he demands solid support and if he doesn’t get it, then he’ll try to do it all himself. After awhile that type of commitment simply wears a player down. It’s hoped that veteran shooting guard Morris Peterson will score more than 8.0 PPG this season. That will help relieve the pressure
If this team stays healthy, first or second in the Southwest Division is a good possibility. The addition of Posey gives coach Byron Scott a key weapon, especially in close games. But with Houston’s addition of Artest, the Hornets are still at a disadvantage and look to come in just below the Rockets in the division and in fourth-place in the Western Conference.