Preseason usually doesn't mean much. Typically, a player or two will show up out of shape, provoking much amusement, but that's as far as it goes. Preseason especially hasn't meant much for the Hornets in recent years, the team remaining largely static through the Chris Paul era and the Baron Davis era prior to that. Toss in a lack of exciting rookies, and the cupboard's been particularly bare. Tomorrow all of that changes.
The Hornets have largely been in flux since 2010, this summer providing the first semblance of stability. With the foundation for a new era at last in place - new owner, new coach, new stars, new roleplayers - we finally get to see how the various pieces fit together. The backcourt, given health, looks set; beyond that, there are questions at all other positions. And preseason, one way or another, will provide the answers.
There's still much debate to be had regarding the various lineup combinations possible with this roster; David touched on an interesting possibility in his Friday column. For now, here are the players themselves sorted by position:
- Point Guard: Greivis Vasquez, Brian Roberts
- Off Guard: Eric Gordon, Roger Mason Jr., Xavier Henry, Austin Rivers
- Perimeter Forward: Al-Farouq Aminu, Ryan Anderson, Darius Miller
- Post Forward: Anthony Davis, Ryan Anderson, Jason Smith, Lance Thomas, Hakim Warrick
- Center: Robin Lopez
I've listed Anderson on the perimeter and in the post for his shooting and rebounding abilities; he'll likely see time in both areas of the court. Of the 14 players currently on the roster, 7 are forwards, 4 are shooting guards, 2 are point guards, and 1 is a center. The rookies are the wild cards. However unlikely it appears at this point, the hope is that Austin Rivers can transition into a combo guard. Meanwhile, there are some great arguments for Anthony Davis seeing time at the center, outlined particularly well in this fanpost from June.
New Orleans opens preseason play tomorrow at 1:30 CST in Mexico City against Orlando. My guess is we'll see some combination of Greivis Vasquez, Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson, Anthony Davis, and Robin Lopez start. As the preseason wears on, we'll surely see Davis and Anderson receive some minutes at the center, Rivers at point guard, as well as some time for Aminu with the rest of the projected starters. The uncertainty feels like a negative at this point, but each player's fuidity with respect to position ultimately makes rotation construction a far easier task for Monty Williams. Positional ambiguity is something the Hornets clearly targeted this summer. The next four weeks are critical in introducing a necessary modicum of order to the intended chaos.
Check out the Hornets' full preseason schedule here. And make sure to join us at 1:30 PM CST tomorrow afternoon for our first At the Hive gamethread of the 2012-2013 season. Go Hornets!