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Team Preview: NOK Hornets

The Hornets were probably the most exciting 38-44 team in the league last year.  They were taken in by Oklahoma City and treated like kings, and it didn’t hurt that Chris Paul turned into a true star right before our eyes.  You look at their roster and it’s hard to believe that this team was anywhere close to .500, but they pulled it off.  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.  The new additions mean that they’re no longer the scrappy team everyone can root for, but that doesn’t mean that there’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.  He also thrilled his fantasy owners, coming in at 16th on the player rater and immediately establishing himself among the elite fantasy PG’s.  Still, there are a couple of reasons for concern.  One, he didn’t improve at all over the course of the season.  Two, he’s proving to be not much of a three point shooter, which is a concern for a PG.  And three, he’s going to have to share the ball a lot more this season with all the added talent on the roster.  But really, he’s a pretty low-risk guy.  The Hornets have to realize that he is going to be the face of their franchise for the next decade, and so he’ll be given the reins again this year.  Paul fits very nicely in with the other second round PG’s like Steve Nash and Jason Kidd, but I wouldn’t reach for him in the first, and I’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
Peja’s days as a top fantasy player may be over, but he’s still got plenty of value.  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 you’d better believe he’s going to play plenty of minutes.  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.  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.  The real reason that you can’t consider Peja until the third or fourth round is his injury history – he missed 11 games last year and that seems to be about par for the course for him.  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 he’s a fine choice in the fourth – 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.  He was the leading scorer on the Hornets last year, and developed a nice repor with CP3.  The question facing West is whether or not he’ll be able to assert himself in a suddenly more-crowded offense.  He’s going to need to see at least 10 FGA per game to have value, and that’s questionable right now.   Still, he should see at least 30 mpg, so he’ll be worth taking at least as high as the sixth or seventh round.  If he is still a 17 ppg kind of guy, he’s worth consideration in the fifth.  That will be determined during training camp.

The Sleeper: none of the above.
I know this is a cop out, but there’s really nobody on the squad worthy of being a sleeper.  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.  Now that the roster has more talent, minutes are going to be harder to come by.  I guess if I had to pick one guy it would be Bobby Jackson, but he’s not a sleeper – he won’t see any more than the 25 mpg he saw last year, and he’s 33 years old and injury prone. 

The Slacker: Tyson Chandler, FC
Other than Nene, Chandler probably made the most money this offseason by simply being tall.  He rebounds pretty well, but he doesn’t block many shots or contribute anything on offense.  Sure his FG% is nice but when you shoot the ball five times a game, you’d better make ‘em count, and his FT% is horrendous to boot.  Chandler may see an uptick in minutes, but he will undoubtedly be way overvalued this year by some folks in your league.  He’s fine as a third center, but odds are you’re going to have to overpay to get him, and he’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 other’s value … Desmond Mason was an absolute disaster last year, and I can’t figure out why.  He’ll be sitting on the bench the majority of the time this year until Peja hurts himself, at which point, he’ll continue to waste his time on the court … 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.

5 Responses to “Team Preview: NOK Hornets”

  1. Terrance Says:

    i love yr guys new page, its easier to read. I read your posts every morning @ work. ill get off yr sack now.

    i think peja will have a big year, he hasnt played with a point guard, or a player as good as chris paul in his career. (its really too bad that J Oneal got hurt last year right after the pacers made that trade for peja, wouldve been great to see them play together) bibby and webber were good, but the way CP3 penetrates the paint and draws the D in the paint, i look forward to many open shots for peja, reminiscent of his days with c webb in sacramento.

    Anyone notice that Boris Diaw is only eligible @ PF /C this season? Does that hurt his value with anyone?

  2. baller Says:

    We all know who the studs are but could you make a list of all the players that will get you like 13pts and 6ast or 13pts and 8reb.
    And could you also update the top twenty list for this year because my draft is in about a week.
    ps. how will bonzi do this year i mean hes not even on the yahoo roster

  3. bv Says:

    Patience, baller, patience! We’re wrapping up our team previews these next few weeks, and then we’ll start our mock drafts and all that. i would say that most of our “supporting support” guys fall into that 13/8 or 13/6 range, though, if you want to get an idea.

    as far as bonzi wells goes, well, he’s not even on a team yet, so I’d say you can probably hold off on drafting him at this point.

  4. JM Says:

    I see your point abou not reaching for Chris Paul in the first round, however, if you were picking last in a 12 team draft, who would be a better/safer pick?

    In a 9-cat roto league, the top 8 (order depends on preference) are likely:
    Marion, Garnett, Nowitzki, Lebron, Brand, Kobe, Arenas, Wade.

    The next tier I think includes R.Allen,C.Bosh,Y.Ming

    So who would who rather have at pick #12?

    An aging injury risk point guard – Iverson, Nash, Kidd

    Pierce? Billups? Kirilenko?

    All of these options strike me as 2nd round picks. But I guess the last pick of the first round is pretty darn close to being a second round pick :-)
    So who would you pick, assuming the first 11 picks went as I said…

  5. bv Says:

    JM – Interestingly enough, we’re in the middle of doing our mock draft right now, and we faced that very question! I think iverson in particular is a better pick, and you could make arguments for pierce, nash, and maybe even AK47. the real answer will be revealed with our mock draft later this month, though :)

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