I haven’t done a post in awhile and during that time the Hornets made a few moves that have added depth, but not sure what else. In the past few weeks the Hornets have added these players: SF Joe Alexander, G Willie Green, PG Mustafa Shakur, F-C Jason Smith, G DJ Strawberry, and C Daryl Watkins. Green and Smith were traded for as the Hornets sent away F Darius Songalia and rookie F Craig Brackins to the Philadelphia 76ers. And let’s start with the trade.
The trade makes almost no sense to me. Green has been a very poor player throughout his 7 year career. According to ESPN, Green had his best season yet last season averaging a solid 15.3 PER at the point guard position and 11.3 PER at the 2-spot. I can deal with that for a backup, but what I can not deal with is his below average defense and poor mid range shooting, which is what he “supposedly” know for. He does add depth and another decent player at the guard position, which at the start of the off season the Hornets had none. Jason Smith is a young 7-footer with potential, but has yet to show it on a consistent basis. I see him fighting for minutes at both backup PF and C positions.
Getting rid of Songalia was one of the main things I hoped the Hornets do for much of the off season, but the way they did it is surprising. New Orleans does not save much money from the trade, if any at all. But I am slightly happy to see Songalia and his non existent post game leave New Orleans. But what I thought would happen was when Songalia leaves then Brackins would take his spot. He is a similar type player, but young. It surprised me to see Brackins get traded before seeing any action in an actual NBA game. But hey that’s why I am not a GM. I hope that Demps knows something that we do not about him. Problem is that we wasted a first round draft pick on a player who will not play one second in a Hornets uniform.
The other additions of Alexander, Shakur, Watkins, and Strawberry are to add some more depth to a roster that had none. I like the signing of Shakur more of anyone else. Shakur was a shooter and leader in college at Arizona and one that I always saw passion and energy from him. If Shakur can bring that passion and energy to the Hornets bench I will be very pleased. Alexander is just another young player who got drafted in the lottery based on his outstanding athleticism, but he lacks a basketball IQ. And unless he develops one soon he will find it hard to find any minutes on this Hornets team, as long as the Hornets remain healthy and competitive (crossing my fingers). Watkins and Strawberry each add more depth and for the money they are worth the shot.
Here is the updated Hornets depth chart:
PG- Paul, Shakur
SG- Thornton, Green, Belinelli, Strawberry
SF- Ariza, Peja, Pondexter, Alexander
PF- West, Smith
C-Okafor, Gray, Watkins
*I see Green playing some minutes at PG as well. Smith will also see some time at center.
When I look at that lineup I see a glaring weakness that was not there prior to the trade for Smith and Green. Jason Smith is our backup power forward!? That is to say the least a poor backup. At least before we had a young PF and veteran PF behind West (even if they both play a soft PF). Now we have a unproven player who is playing out of position. Smith is more a center than power forward. Maybe new coach Monty Williams knows more than we do. Which is the second time I have said that. I hope the Hornets know more than we do, because with an injury to Paul, West, Okafor, or Thornton and I see this team as it is made up today as a 45 win team at best. That will not be enough to make the playoffs, which of course is what we all want.
On the other hand the one thing that the new front office and coaching staff is doing is making changes in order to make this their team, not Jeff Bower’s or Byron Scott’s team. Let’s just hope the rookie GM Demps and rookie Coach Williams will have some beginner’s luck.
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Written by Andrew Tressler