Damn Lies Fantasy Preview: New Orleans Hornets

The New Orleans Hornets are lean and predictable. Stacked at point guard this offseason, the Hornets shipped 2009-10 Fantasy Waiver Wire MVP Darren Collison to Indiana in a four-team trade that landed them small forward Trevor Ariza. Ariza joins a starting lineup of Chris Paul, Marcus Thornton, David West and Emeka Okafor. None should be challenged by a backup for playing time. We can probably write in 35-40 minutes for each starter and pretty sweet fantasy stats for each to varying degrees. Isn’t this easy?

 

"Dude, you are making me look bad. Flirt with a triple-double again and I'm having you exiled to Indiana or something."

 

LIES
Collison proved to be fantasy basketball’s Olandis Gary last year, a backup who stepped in for a superstar without missing a statistical beat. That superstar is back, and Paul immediately returns to his perch near the top of all cheat sheets. Two years ago, he was essentially the best guy, and there’s no reason to think he won’t challenge for that honor should he remain healthy. What excites us the most is the other Hornet who blew up last year in his absence: Thornton. If Collison was the No. 1 waiver wire pickup in ’09-10, Thornton was 1A, a long-range bomber who immediately became a stud fantasy two-guard. The end of the Mo Peterson era depresses exactly no one. New Orleans finally has a shooting guard.

DAMN LIES
Another aging veteran will be riding off into the sunset this season, as Ariza makes Peja Stojakovic expendable. Unfortunately, Peja is owed about $77 million this year, so he’ll stick around and provide a shooter off the bench. Ariza should thrive playing with Paul. He’ll be more efficient, concentrate on defense, and become the strong everyday fantasy play we couldn’t quite count on in Houston. West is also doing cartwheels that Paul is back to feed him the rock. While West’s perpetual scowl annoys me as a viewer, as a roto player I’m targeting him at the end of the third round in drafts with no hard feelings.

STATISTICS
Okafor had a terrible season even by his mediocre standards, but with no real competition for minutes he just needs to stay healthy to be a serviceable big man. Can he pull down 10 rebounds and block two shots a game? If so, he’s got a place on the outskirts of my roster. Okafor’s backup is Aaron Gray, a decent player who poses no threat in even the deepest of leagues. Only Marco Belinelli is a potential option should injury strike Thornton. He could be the team’s sixth man. Darius Songaila is actually a perfect 12-minute-per-game backup power forward. Like I said, this team is lean and devoid of positional battles. Draft these starters with confidence. The rounds? Paul in the first (no later than the 3rd pick); West in the late third (roto), early fourth (H2H); Thornton and Ariza in the sixth (Ariza is higher in H2H than in roto); Okafor in the ninth or so.

DEPTH CHART
PG – Chris Paul, Mustafa Shakur
SG – Marcus Thornton, Marco Belinelli
SF – Trevor Ariza, Peja Stojakovic
PF – David West, Darius Songaila
C – Emeka Okafor, Aaron Gray

Up Next: Utah Jazz

Full Schedule

Advertisements

2 responses to “Damn Lies Fantasy Preview: New Orleans Hornets

  • Greg Fox

    did you say Mustafa Shakur? Wouldn’t it be great if he were a pitcher and came out to Hit ’em Up?

  • Harmanator

    I see Ariza shooting +45% this year. With Chris Paul running the show and David West 2nd in command Ariza won’t need to command the ball as much as he did in houston. The main killer of his % was his 3 point shooting. Hopefully he either:
    1. hits more 3’s or
    2. takes less 3’s
    A career 32.1% from 3 point territory isn’t too pretty. All in all I think being a 3rd/4th option will workout well for Ariza. Him and D Rose should practice 3 pointers together

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: