Not much news for the Hornets these last few weeks. A quick rundown of the latest proceedings, or lack thereof:
We'll start with Mr. Paul. First, check out this short interview with Olympians Carlos Boozer, Carmelo Anthony, and CP. Paul mentions that he shares a sports agency with Michael Phelps among other things. But the funniest part is Boozer's and Paul's grasp of the English language compared to Carmelo Anthony's. Take, for example, this gem from 'Melo:
People that I would never thought.. a lot of people don't understand the preparation that they prepare
The Ryan Bowen news is a bit old, but it was only made official yesterday. My favorite part is how ESPN and Yahoo reported it as "Hornets sign veteran forward Bowen" and how it was the number one headline on both sites. If only they also included "Bowen was one of the premier defenders of the Southwest Division and was last seen by the Hornets in Game 7 of their series with the Spurs."
"We’re very pleased to re-sign Ryan due to his ability to provide a spark off the bench and how well he fits in with our team," said Hornets General Manager Jeff Bower. "Ryan is a great asset to our team both on and off the court. When he is on the court, he has a nose for the ball and is always giving his all to help our team in anyway possible."
ShamSports also offers his take on the Bowen signing and the Hornets' bench in general. A snipper:
The New Orleans Hornets re-signed Ryan Bowen. Yeehaw. The Hornets' bench now reads thusly: Mike James, Rasual Butler, James Posey, Bowen, Hilton Armstrong, Julian Wright, and Melvin Ely. Who out of that lot do they expect to be a sixth man, exactly? They appear to have moved on from Pargo and Bonzi Wells, two players always willing to fashion a shot, even if they're not always a good idea. So who's going to provide the bench offense here? I'm aware that Chris Paul is basically Jesus, who could get even me an easy basket, but the real Jesus had a few days off, too.
Interesting take. I hadn't thought of our bench in the context of a sixth man before. I suppose Posey's the first guy off the bench, right? Wasn't he Boston's 6th man this year? They kind of just won a championship.
Let's move on to the Jannero Pargo saga. Last week, the Times-Pic reported that the Hornets no longer had their sights on JP. The San Antonio Express then reported that the Spurs had offered him a 2 year, estimated 4 million deal. It's been a week, and that deal is still apparently on the table. Why hasn't Pargo taken it then? The Phoenix Suns might be the reason, according to recent speculation.
A guy who the Spurs drafted and then sent to the Phoenix Suns on draft night may have a lot to do with why free agent Jannero Pargo has not yet signed with San Antonio.
[A]ccording to two Phoenix area newspapers, the East Valley Tribune and the Arizona Republic, if [Goran] Dragic stays in Europe, Phoenix might be making a play for free agent Jannero Pargo—the same player the Spurs have been after since finding out that he wouldn't be returning to the Hornets.
Hmm. I'm not really sure why Phoenix would want Pargo. He's basically a terrible shooting version of Leandro Barbosa. Why not sign a 3rd string point guard at the minimum, instead of throwing 2 million dollars at Pargo? Either way, I'm dying to post my Pargo write-up. I've had it finished for a week just waiting for a deal to go down.
The preseason is fast approaching, and the Hornets will be traveling to Europe for a couple game. From the Associated Press:
The Hornets take on the Washington Wizards on October 14 at the O2 World in Berlin, Germany. The game will be one of the first major sporting events held at the arena, which opened last fall. The team will close out NBA Europe Live on October 17 at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona, Spain.
Cool stuff to be sure. Also of note: many of the Celtics players credited their pre-season experience in Italy as an integral part of their success this year. Can Berlin/Barcelona do for the Hornets what Rome did for the Celtics?
And now, time to end with a flurry of Chris Paul stories. First, for those of you into fantasy basketball, CP warrants some serious consideration at the second overall spot:
Where does that leave us now with the #2 pick? Happily calling on the name of the point guard who can shove Superman to the curb, that’s where... If you are lucky enough to draft Paul for your team this year, smile early and often and build a great team around him.
I remember drafting Chris Paul his rookie year in the 6th round or something. Nobody knew who he was, and he promptly proceeded to dominate every point guard not named Steve Nash. That was also the year nobody drafted T-Mac, and I picked him up off waivers... now that I think about it, maybe I need to start playing in some harder leagues...
An ESPN reporter documents his Beijing experiences. It's highly amusing and a great read. We get this CP-related nugget:
I'm going to let you in on a little secret. There are not a lot of black folks running around Beijing. A Chinese man stopped me and asked to take my picture. Within moments, I was posing for pictures with a steady stream of men, women and children. I wondered whether they had never seen a black guy or whether they thought I was an athlete. Hey, I can flatter myself. I'm trying to figure out which athlete I could be. How about Chris Paul? Sure, I'm a good 20 pounds heavier. OK, 25. But we're about the same height, and we have brown eyes and nice smiles. Chris Paul. Hmmm. Sorry, Chris.
Haha, that would be awesome if Chris Paul ran into this guy signing autographs as "Chris Paul."
Lebron, Kobe, and D-Wade have all chimed in about possibly playing abroad. Finally, we get Chris Paul's take on moving overseas:
Sick of CP3 yet? No? Okay cool, I'm just getting started. Inside Hoops has a Q&A with Paul after the China game (but before today's Angola contest). A slice:
Question: Describe the atmosphere in the arena.
Chris Paul: It’s crazy. This is bigger than a playoff game. This is two countries playing against each other. The best of the best. All the anticipation leading up to the game … this is three years coming. It gets you ready to play. When the jump ball came there were a lot of emotions going through our heads. For the first couple minutes we were playing off emotions, but then we settled down and got going.
Doug Collins mentioned during the USA-Angola broadcast that one of the reasons Atlanta passed on Chris Paul (and Deron Williams) was Joe Johnson wanted to play the point. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Sekou Smith contends that's not the real reason:
The reason the Hawks didn’t take either of those point guards, and they worked both of them out, is that they were convinced that they needed a veteran point guard (huge mistake). They didn’t think Williams or Paul was ready to lead a team from the first day of training camp (another huge mistaken evaluation).
In fact, my notes from interviews with Knight, Woodson and other members of the front office staff at that time went something like this: "Paul’s just too little. He’s going to be a liability on defense and he’s not a great shooter. They liked Williams better, he’s bigger point guard, but his body type worried them. He didn’t look to be in great shape during the workout. Not sure he’s a good enough shooter for what we need, though."
What I can say with certainty is that neither Knight nor Woodson was sold on those point guards. That’s why they passed on them.
Thanks, Atlanta Front Office. You guys rock.
A Bleacher Report writer gives his take on things that would make the NBA awesome next season. Number one on his list:
Chris Paul shows us we haven't seen nothing yet.
That'd be awesome. I'm going to do a post in the next few weeks analyzing if CP's last season was an anomaly or not. But if he continues to improve at his current rate, he could definitely make a run at the G.O.A.T.
I'm in favor of the last item on that list as well:
Ray Allen legally changes his name to Jesus Shuttlesworth.
And last but not least, check out HornetsHype's Chris Paul-specific recap of USA-Angola.
The announcers spend most of the rest of the quarter talking about how CP sparked the team tonight, and then to prove their point, The One picks up a loose ball and throws in his trademark tear-drop over four outstretched Angolans, to lead the team to a 81-53 lead after three. Memo to Coach K and Cavs fans: Team USA looked 100% better after Lebron sat down and CP was able to get guys to play together.
The LBJ ball dominance was something I noticed during the pre-Olympic games. I didn't see the Angolan game, but it sounds like that happened again. I guess "global icon" comes before "not playing the point when the best PG on the planet is on your team"?