Have you ever encountered an individual, or in this case a group of individuals, and find yourself unable to comprehend what's truly going on with that particular person or peoples? One minute you're sitting back, enjoying a beverage of choice and talking about the good times when that person suddenly begins to cry. Their crying then develops into anger, and you're wondering whether you should approach the person in humor, as you did moments earlier, or allow them to let their emotions out. You sit back and realize that this individual doesn't have a full grasp on their emotions and you wonder what could be triggering that. Scientists describe this frequent change in personalities to be a bi polar disorder. However, I'm not referencing the person with the wide range of emotions in this post. I'm finally figuring out what triggers that person's wide range of emotions. That person who is laughing, crying and then angry isn't manic depressive. It's me. It's me watching my manic depressive New Orleans Hornets.
The most reliable source on the internet, Wikipedia, describes manic depression as a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a category of mood disorders defined by the presence of one or more episodes of abnormally elevated energy levels, cognition and mood with or without one or more depressive episodes. That, in a nutshell, describes the kind of season that the Hornets are having. I haven't been this frustrated with a Hornets team since... 2009. So I guess it hasn't been that long. But I think I speak for everyone else at ATH when I say that I simply don't know what kind of team we have here.
This isn't even about the 11-1 start. Most of us figured that level of play was unsustainable over an 82 game schedule for a team with as many question marks coming into the season as New Orleans had. Most people took to blaming our offense, the coach, Chris Paul, Willie Green and the NBA's purchase of the team. All in all, the Hornets, obviously, haven't played well since that start, going 10-13 since. But even in that 10-13 span, we've seen signs of the team returning to form followed by efforts that have you wondering if the Hornets could even make the playoffs. Is it just a matter of matchups? Is it the lack of talent on the team? For instance, during that 10-13 stretch the Hornets have been on the receiving end and on the giving end of two big comebacks. Last night, the Hornets were up by 13 in the second half against the Warriors, up by ten in the fourth quarter and lost to a Warriors team that hasn't performed well for about the past month. This isn't an isolated moment either. Need I remind everyone of the Spurs game at home that saw the Hornets up by 17 at halftime only to see them lose by double digits in a game that wasn't even a tightly contested contest? Earlier in December, the Hornets were down by 23 to the Kings and came back to win that game. Never have I ever longed for just a consistent game for four quarters.
The manic depressive diagnosis is in relation to the many moods we've seen from the Hornets this season. On one hand, we walked into the season seeing a potentially terrific offensive team. We then saw at the beginning of the season how well this team could perform defensively. What's followed is a fluctuating result from both ends of the floor, albeit with the defensive production remaining the closest to form. I've tried to describe how to figure this team out. On one hand, Chris Paul and David West truly are the only consistent options the team can rely on. But, on the other hand, the supporting cast isn't LeBron James in Cleveland bad.
We've seen incredible highs this season for the Hornets; initiated by the hot start. Since that start, we saw the team play a two game stretch on the road where they lost at Minnesota but won at Boston. We've seen them dominate Utah by 30 at home but lose to Detroit on the road. We've seen the Hornets dominate Atlanta in the second half but get dominated by Golden State in the second half; both at home. So what gives? Is there any way we can truly diagnose this team? If you step back and look at it, the Hornets are the only team in the league to hold victories over Boston, San Antonio and Dallas (the three best teams in the league). In addition to that tidbit, they also have losses to Indiana, Detroit, Minnesota and Philadelphia.
To sum my entire rant without a conclusive result, I'm staring blankly at the Hornets schedule and trying to figure out how this works:
Teams the Hornets have beaten: Denver, San Antonio, Dallas, Miami, Portland, Utah, Atlanta Boston
Teams the Hornets have lost to: the Clippers, Philadelphia, Detroit, Indiana, Minnesota, Golden State
I think it's safe to say that, no matter what statistics you look at, no matter how you try to evaluate this team and no matter what explanation you give, we may go all season without figuring this team out.