Basketball Prospectus Predicts 36-46 Record for New Orleans, On Sale Now

Kevin Pelton

Basketball Prospectus' Kevin Pelton has announced that the 2013 Prospectus is now on sale.

The 2012-2013 edition of Basketball Prospectus is now available for purchase.

I will say this much - it's easily the best $10 an NBA fan can spend all season. At its essence, PBP is a statistical projection of the 2013 NBA season, but it easily (easily!) transcends numbers and stats. Kevin Pelton and Bradford Doolittle are fantastic, accessible writers, and the Prospectus contains an excellent (mostly non-statistical) preview writeup for every single player in the NBA. It's an outstanding tool to have in front of you as you watch basketball.

As has been the case the last few years, I've got a (very, very minimal) blurb in the Hornets section.

Here's a sampling of the Hornets section:

[P]rojection 36-46 (West 10th)
Projected Offensive Rating 108.9 (13)
Projected Defensive Rating 110.7 (24)

While Monty Williams' career record took a hit in his second year on the sidelines, he continued to build his reputation by keeping an overmatched New Orleans team competitive all season long. Our Neil Paine found that the Hornets overachieved relative to the past performance of their players (as measured by advanced statistical plus-minus, calculated by Daniel Myers) more than any other team in the NBA. By slowing the game down, Williams has put together sound defenses.

The top of the Hornets' roster is ready to contend for the playoffs now. Davis, Gordon and particularly Anderson all rate strongly by the numbers. Just two teams--Denver and Oklahoma City--are projected to have three players all more valuable than New Orleans' top three next season in terms of WARP. After that, the Hornets' depth falls off quickly. New Orleans can throw out a competitive lineup with Aminu or even Anderson at small forward and Greivis Vásquez--a revelation last season who will share minutes with Rivers--at the point. Beyond those five and Lopez, who will likely start at center, the Hornets do not have anyone else who projects as noticeably better than replacement level.

Add in the likelihood of Rivers having a tough rookie season and New Orleans doesn't quite look capable of competing for a playoff spot in 2012-13, especially in the deep Western Conference. That's OK because this is the youngest rotation in the league, with a projected weighted age of 24.0. Vásquez, who will turn 26 during the season, is the old man among the Hornets' core group. Everyone else is younger than 25. Much of New Orleans' improvement will come from within as players develop their skills.

After a long year, there are basketball reasons for excitement among Hornets fans. Davis gives them a superstar to dream on, and all the key pieces are under team control through at least 2015-16. Fans also know that their team is secure in New Orleans for the long run. Now it's time to sit back and see just how good this Hornets team might become.

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