It's the dawning of a new era in New Orleans basketball, and with so much attention paid to matters off the court this season, I believe it's time to evaluate how our franchise performed during its time on the court. As a result, I want to begin an evaluation of the front office, the roster and the coaching staff and see how they performed, what could happen going forward, and whether or not you approve of their job this season. Without further adieu, the next player we're going to look at is Carl Landry.
Fifth season in the league (Second with the Hornets) out of Purdue University (Unrestricted Free Agent)
41 Games, 8 Starts, 12.5 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 79.9 FT Pctg., 50.3 FG Pctg., 18.2 PER, 111 Offensive Rating, 107 Defensive Rating
Best Game this Season: April 9th vs. Los Angeles Lakers (20 Points, 11 Rebounds, 5 Assists in 30 Minutes during a 93-91 loss)
Acquired last year for the ultra popular Marcus Thornton, Landry stepped in and eventually became the starting power forward for the Hornets during last year's postseason after incumbent David West was lost for the season with a torn ACL. Landry performed very well in the postseason and entered the off season as an unrestricted free agent. With the uncertain ownership situation, with the Chris Paul trade and with other teams showing outward interest in Landry, it was surprising to see Landry return. Just as he assumed more of a role than expected last year, though, he didn't live up to what was expected of him this season.
Coming into the year, the plan was for Landry to become the team's starting power forward and one if its few reliable offensive weapons. Landry was able to do that for a few games before losing his starting power forward job to Chris Kaman. After that and the emergence of Jason Smith and Gustavo Ayon, Landry was the one who, inexplicably, got lost in the shuffle and saw a huge decline in his minutes. There was a three game stretch in January when he never got past 11 minutes in the game. Landry, however, came back, assumed his role and looked prime for the Hornets to potentially find suitors for him at the trade deadline. But then Landry sprained his MCL in a game against the Detroit Pistons on February 4th and would not play again until March 24th.
When Landry was on the court and given good minutes, he performed to the level he has throughout his whole career. His defense and his rebounding have both always been questionable for someone playing at his position, but his size limits what he can really do in those departments. His strengths, however, have always lied with his low post scoring and his ability to produce offensively. He's gotten much better at his mid-range game to fit into the David West role on the team's offense and he still does a great job at getting to the line and then converting when he's there.
Landry, though, did seem to draw the ire of Coach Monty Williams down the stretch when he suffered a sprained ankle in the last couple of weeks of the regular season. Monty felt that Landry could have played if he wanted to and, had it not been for injuries to the front court, Monty talked about wanting to limit Landry's minutes. But Landry played and he played very well and he goes into this off season following a very strong season for New Orleans. However, due to his relationship with Monty and, also, with the development of the other front court players in New Orleans, it doesn't seem likely that his next contract offer will be in the Big Easy. But time will tell.