Thankfully, Hurricane Gustav didn't do nearly the damage some predicted it might. And the Saints kicked off their season in style. So in sum, not a terrible week. On to the sparse Hornets news...
The Hornets have been getting involved more in the community, post-Gustav. As detailed by The Houma Today, a few players swung by the Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center yesterday.
Dozens of Hornets employees — including head coach Byron Scott — passed out T-shirts, posters, deflated basketballs and books for kids to the drivers and passengers... Hornets forward Julian Wright passed out hot meals, cooked by North Carolina Baptist volunteers.
This is the first time he’s helped out in disaster relief. "I looked on Youtube actually," Wright said, when asked what he knew about Houma and the hurricane. "Someone posted something that it got hit with strong winds. I knew that I wanted to help."
The organization announced Tuesday that the Cox Network will once again carry 65 live games this season. As Chad Shinn noted on the official release on Hornets.com, this will allow for more televised games than last season:
"We are ecstatic to be able to continue our great relationship with CST in providing 65 regular season games to our fans in Louisiana," said Hornets Executive Officer of the Board Chad Shinn. "When you factor in our 13 National TV games with the 65 CST games, our fans will be able to see the Hornets 78 times on television this season!"
Since the Hornets head off to Europe this preseason for a couple games, they've opted to start Training Camp a little early. According to the Times Picayune
It [September 27th] is the earliest start for the Hornets since relocating to New Orleans in 2002.
Most teams will not open camp until next month, but the Hornets, Miami Heat, New Jersey Nets and Washington Wizards can begin this month because of their participation in NBA's Europe Live.
Chris Paul attended the Wake Forest-Missouri football game last Saturday in Winston Salem, and his Demon Deacons won off a game-winning field goal. The Times News has more:
Paul, a former Wake Forest basketball player, received a huge ovation, even with fans from Mississippi joining in, when he was introduced on the field prior to the start of the fourth quarter. Because he plays for the NBA's New Orleans Hornets, that might have been some of the reason Rebels fans reacted in such a manner. The Hornets and New Orleans Saints are as close as anything to pro teams for Mississippians to follow.
ESPN posted its 2008 predictions today. I'll quote the Hornets' section in its entirety:
The Hornets might win the 2008-09 NBA title if ...
• Newly acquired James Posey plays tight D and hits clutch 3s like he did in Miami and Boston.
• Chris Paul improves on his MVP-worthy season from a year ago.
• The young squad learned some valuable lessons during its impressive postseason run.
The Hornets might not win the 2008-09 NBA title if ...
• They don't find someone to fill the void at 2-guard.
• Chris Paul, David West and/or Tyson Chandler has one of those seasons in which he misses a big chunk of time due to injury.
• The West is the wild, wild West again. Last year eight teams won 50 or more games, and with many squads making roster tweaks, the West is expected to be as competitive as ever.
I disagree with number 2 on the "might win a title" list. CP really does not need to improve his record-breaking play from last year. In my mind, help defense is the one thing that needs to be improved more than anything else. The back-up big play will also be more important than the off-guard position, given Byron Scott's affinity for the 2 point guard look and the signing of Devin Brown. And the reasons they might not win are highly generic: they might not win if they sustain injuries? They might not win if other teams win more than them? Really? Thanks, ESPN.