The New Orleans Hornets suffered badly from missing Chris Paul most of last season. Even with young stud Darren Collison coming in and playing brilliant, the Hornets were outmatched badly last season and hope to rebound this year with a healthy Paul and the addition of Trevor Ariza. David West must return to his all-star form, as well as the team blending well together, and the Hornets could return to their post season form of years ago.
Chris Paul Over/Under 21.3 ppg
OVER. In his last full season 08-09, he averaged 22.8 and was steadily improving until last year’s set back. Paul knows he must do much more than just distribute the basketball for the Hornets to win games, and the offensive load will be heavy on his shoulders. That said, I think he averages a career high of 23.0 ppg this year, making this a pretty clear ‘over.’
Chris Paul Over/Under 10.7 apg
OVER. Before last season, Paul led the league in assists for two consecutive seasons, averaging 11 assists or more a game. With little to no competition for those assists, he should be back over 11 again, making this another easy ‘over.’
David West Over/Under 19.7 ppg
UNDER. Last year, West was under, with 19.0 ppg, but with Paul returning, he may return to 20+ ppg, as he was for the two seasons prior to last. However, Ariza will take some of the scoring load off, as will second year gunner Marcus Thornton, who looks to be instant offense off the bench. Because there are other options, West will not be counted upon to score 20+ as he did in 07-08 & 08-09. I expect him to be in the 18s.
Marcus Thornton Over/Under 15.7 ppg
OVER. While coming off the bench may sound like a hindrance to this, Marcus Thornton has never met a shot he didn’t like. He’s a fearless gunner and a needed offensive spark for the Hornets. Last season, towards the end of the year, he was regularly scoring 20+ and Chris Paul will probably get Thornton even more easy looks. I think he’ll average between 17 and 19 a game.
Trevor Ariza Over/Under 14.5 ppg
Too many variables to make an educated guess here. While he was a focal point of the Houston offense last year, he probably won’t see as many looks this year, but his efficiency will increase. It remains to be seen how much they actually rely on Ariza for scoring, as he is more of a glue guy than a big time scorer. I don’t know how to project this, and consequently would steer clear from this bet.
Emeka Okafor Over/Under 12.7 ppg
UNDER. I’m not sure why the bar is set so high for Okafor. He only averaged 10.4 last season, and with a healthy Hornets roster and more scoring options, I think he averages close to 10 a game again. His offensive game is limited, and that isn’t where he helps teams. I would be astounded if he averaged more than 12.7
Emeka Okafor Over/Under 9.7 rpg
OVER! He has averaged 11 or more rebounds a game for every year he’s been in the league, except for his second year, when he still managed 10.8. How he falls under ten rebounds a game is beyond me. This is a clear cut ‘over.’
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