I was trying to find a way to find hope in a lost season, and I think that a trip to the 2nd round, much like last year, would make this season a success.
Anyway, looking at the Hornets roster, I clearly see 3 major problems:
1.) lack of another big man(bench)
2.) there is a plethora of wingmen - some over utilized ( ehem, Brick Brown), some under utilized( Wright and Peterson).
3.) we lack a 3rd or 4th(if Peja is still considered) player who can create on his own consistently. The keyword here is consistently - butler has some nights, Posey has some nights, and as bad as he as been, Brown even has some nights.( this 3rd or fourth option can go the bench)
Therefore, what can be done to improve this over the offseason?
first, I believe the untouchables for this group are the following: Paul, West, Chandler, Wright.
we can trade one or two of our 6 wing men( Butler, Stojakovic, Posey, Wright, Peterson, Brown),
resign Marks to the same contract, and let Ely and Bowen go( both are seldom used, although i would like Bowen to stay).
Bower should not pull out another bobby jackson for James for Daniels for (put name here with a average, non expiring contract PG).
therefore, I have thought of possible scenarios I like( well I hope you like too).
- consider that the Hornets have the 7th worst record in the 16 playoff teams( only DET, CHI, PHI, MIA, ATL and UTH have a worse record). therefore we may possibly get the 21st pick in the NBA draft. according to 82games.com, on average the 21st pick has produced a 13.1 which is a more than average role player.
- consider too that Paul's extension kicks in next season so we may be pushed well into the luxury tax. this may become a factor in my analysis of potential moves.(signings)
- consider that we have the Bi annual exception( i dont think we used it in the 2008 - 09 offseason) and a midlevel exception. I estimate that both are approx. 1.75 and 5 mil, respectively,
- we also take into consideration the fact that many teams will lobby for an expiring contract(much like us) and also prepare for the summer of lebron, wade, blablabla.therefore, we have a few expiring contracts( Sool, Armstrong, Daniels, Brown(if option is taken), Wright( if option is taken).
here are all the things we can do to improve on the off season.
- hire a shooting coach(much like lebron, calderon, parker etc) to work with Juju in Chicago( hometown). This should be imperative as we need him to improve big time in shooting. Also, tell Scott to work with Juju one on one on training camps to help with his defensive rotations. I believe the reason Juju is lost defensively sometimes is because he did not participate well in the training camps with his injury. this might change this off season.
- Trade Peja for Dalembert. What does this move do for us? well we basically would solve the first two problems but complicate the 3rd problem and also save a 1 million or less( Peja's contract is slightly bigger). I do believe that the 76ers might agree to this why? They clearly play better small, they have Speights improving and they need 3 pt shooting, and clearly, if your going to spend money, why not improve your weakness? i clearly see the 76ers sporting a lineup of Miller, Green, Iggy, Young and Brand with Williams, Speights, Green and Peja the first guys of the bench with sporadic minutes for evans and ivey( along with Marshall if he resigns).
if we do trade peja, we still have a draft pick, and butler, armstrong as trade baits.
therefore, here are some things we can do...
a.)Draft Blair, Hansbrough*update include Patrick Patterson( according to nbadraft.net) - i see blair as a "Millsap" with more refined post moves. hansbrough can become a better Bowen for us - hustler, rebounder, and Great basketball IQ( which bodes well for his relationship with Scott because Coach doesnt usually play rooks and sophs with low basketball IQ: see Juju, JR Smith). this solves problems 1 and 2 even more. Drafting Blair, I believe kind of cures our problem 3. i see him, along with Posey, as the primary scorers of the bench. Hansbrough is basically a Bowen with more offensive moves, so again solves problem 3 but again not totally.
Lineup: Paul, Peterson, Butler, West, Chandler
Reserves: Daniels, Wright, Posey, Blair/Hansbrough, Dalembert.
b.) draft Teague, sign Novak, Mashall, or Diogu to less than 1 mil. I like this better because we stock pile on talent( Teague) and at the same time solving our bench problems( Novak and Marshall are basically the same, Diogu is great in the post but bad on defense - complements well with Dalembert).
Lineup: Paul, Peterson, Butler, West, Chandler
Reserves: Daniels, Wright, Posey, Novak/Marshall/Diogu Dalembert with spot minutes to Teague(if Daniels or Wright play badly)
This is all considering we will not use our Mid level and Bi annual exceptions, to save money. but if Shinn gives Bower the permission to use them( that is a very BIG IF), we have a lot of possible targets.
1.) Ben Gordon( unlikely), Varejao( if Peja - Sam does not go through -> unlikely), Bass(unlikely), Andersen(unlikely), CJ watson( restricted), Singleton, W. Bynum( unlikely Pistons do not exercise his Team option), Kleiza, Jack( I like this one although restricted), Wafer(unlikely) Ariza and Shannon Brown( both unlikely), Juan Carlos Navarro!!( unlikely) and Warrick( unlikely), Bobby Brown, Carney, Gortat, Matt Barnes(unlikely), Jackson( if possible, only 1 or 2 years), Gooden( i also like this one -> we then draft Teague :D), Delfino and Parker( both unlikely)...
however i did not delve deeper into the mid level exception and bi annual exception because it is highly unlikely that we can use them( with the luxury tax in shinn's mind). that is why i had analyzed those cheap ones( the Peja - Sam and draftings and lineups) thanks to 82games.com...
we should keep Hilton and Daniels( allow their contracts to expire) and Butler( obvious reasons).
so basically, Hornets are not really doomed, we just need to become like the Spurs, rely on our drafts to get good role players, and Denver, rely on our cheap signings to get good role players.
Dream playoffs: NO in 6 against Denver, NO in 6 against HOU, NO in 6 against LAL, NO in 6 against CLE