The Hornets were probably the most exciting 38-44 team in the league last year.Â They were taken in by Oklahoma City and treated like kings, and it didnâ€™t hurt that Chris Paul turned into a true star right before our eyes.Â You look at their roster and itâ€™s hard to believe that this team was anywhere close to .500, but they pulled it off.Â Not wanting to lose momentum, the front office won the Daniel Snyder Memorial Overspending For Underperforming Players Award in the summer, dishing out huge contracts to a couple of damaged vets and a consistently disappointing big man.Â The new additions mean that theyâ€™re no longer the scrappy team everyone can root for, but that doesnâ€™t mean that thereâ€™s not plenty of value to be found:
The Stud: Chris Paul, PG
Chris Paul was everything the Hornets could have hoped for and more last year.Â He also thrilled his fantasy owners, coming in at 16th on the player rater and immediately establishing himself among the elite fantasy PGâ€™s.Â Still, there are a couple of reasons for concern.Â One, he didnâ€™t improve at all over the course of the season.Â Two, heâ€™s proving to be not much of a three point shooter, which is a concern for a PG.Â And three, heâ€™s going to have to share the ball a lot more this season with all the added talent on the roster.Â But really, heâ€™s a pretty low-risk guy.Â The Hornets have to realize that he is going to be the face of their franchise for the next decade, and so heâ€™ll be given the reins again this year.Â Paul fits very nicely in with the other second round PGâ€™s like Steve Nash and Jason Kidd, but I wouldnâ€™t reach for him in the first, and Iâ€™d make sure I had a couple of good three-point shooters on my squad if I had him as well.
The Support: Peja Stojakovic, SF
Pejaâ€™s days as a top fantasy player may be over, but heâ€™s still got plenty of value.Â The Hornets shoveled a ton of money his way to get him to come play for them (a recurring theme this summer for NOK), so youâ€™d better believe heâ€™s going to play plenty of minutes.Â Peja struggled to find his shot with the Kings last year, but once he was dealt to Indiana he really settled in his FG% came right back up to his career levels.Â The good news was that even when he was struggling, he still put in 2+ threes, had great FT%, and rebounded and scored pretty well.Â The real reason that you canâ€™t consider Peja until the third or fourth round is his injury history â€“ he missed 11 games last year and that seems to be about par for the course for him.Â Still, he showed that he can be effective in a non-Sacramento system last year, so there should be few worries about his new surroundings, and heâ€™s a fine choice in the fourth â€“ and worth taking in the right situations late in the third.
The Supporting Support: David West, PF
West was probably the best breakout fantasy player of the year last year, coming out of near-obscurity to be a legit Top-60 player and a nice asset in four categories.Â He was the leading scorer on the Hornets last year, and developed a nice repor with CP3.Â The question facing West is whether or not heâ€™ll be able to assert himself in a suddenly more-crowded offense.Â Heâ€™s going to need to see at least 10 FGA per game to have value, and thatâ€™s questionable right now.Â Â Still, he should see at least 30 mpg, so heâ€™ll be worth taking at least as high as the sixth or seventh round.Â If he is still a 17 ppg kind of guy, heâ€™s worth consideration in the fifth.Â That will be determined during training camp.
The Sleeper: none of the above.
I know this is a cop out, but thereâ€™s really nobody on the squad worthy of being a sleeper.Â This is a team who was incredibly thin last year, so guys like David West and Rasual Butler got a chance to show their max value.Â Now that the roster has more talent, minutes are going to be harder to come by.Â I guess if I had to pick one guy it would be Bobby Jackson, but heâ€™s not a sleeper â€“ he wonâ€™t see any more than the 25 mpg he saw last year, and heâ€™s 33 years old and injury prone.Â
The Slacker: Tyson Chandler, FC
Other than Nene, Chandler probably made the most money this offseason by simply being tall.Â He rebounds pretty well, but he doesnâ€™t block many shots or contribute anything on offense.Â Sure his FG% is nice but when you shoot the ball five times a game, youâ€™d better make â€˜em count, and his FT% is horrendous to boot.Â Chandler may see an uptick in minutes, but he will undoubtedly be way overvalued this year by some folks in your league.Â Heâ€™s fine as a third center, but odds are youâ€™re going to have to overpay to get him, and heâ€™s just not worth a mid-round pick.
Double Dribbles: Hilton Armstrong and Cedric Simmons will battle Chandler for time in the front-court, and odds are they will all cancel out each otherâ€™s value â€¦ Desmond Mason was an absolute disaster last year, and I canâ€™t figure out why.Â Heâ€™ll be sitting on the bench the majority of the time this year until Peja hurts himself, at which point, heâ€™ll continue to waste his time on the court â€¦ Jannero Pargo is a possibly better version of Bobby Jackson, and if he sees minutes will be a nice source of threes, but the odds are slim.
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