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Bobcats vs. Hornets Preview

Opponent: CharlotteNew Orleans Hornets (3-1)
Efficiencies: Offensive: 107.5. Defensive: 102.4. Differential: +5.1.
Last season: New Orleans wins season series 2-0. Game 1: Hornets win 99-85. Game 2: Hornets 112-84.

Efficiencies in last season's games:
Offensive: 90.9. Defensive: 116.6. Differential: -25.7.

At The Hive should have a preview up sometime today. And it should have some answers from me about the Bobcats in it.

Opponent Blogger Q&A with Adam from AtTheHive.com:1. Do you laugh directly in people's faces when they try to argue that Deron Williams is as good as Chris Paul, or do you humor them, while laughing inwardly?

I gotta go with laughing inwardly. Chris and Deron's rookie year, I'd argue vehemently why Chris Paul was obviously better. But at a point, logic only gets you so far. Now, I simply find the Deron is better than Paul arguments midly amusing, if nothing else.

2. Do the Hornets have the front court depth needed to win a title? I know that the Bobcats are not a good measuring stick, considering the low number of NBA ready big-men, but the Western Conference playoffs are a whole other animal.

If you had asked me that question last week, I would've said no. Unequivocally no. But Byron Scott has been using James Posey differently from what I anticipated. Posey's been playing the 4 a ton, and very effectively too. Essentially, that allows the backup 5 spot to be manned by a Armstrong/Ely platoon. Neither is that good, so minimizing their total time played may prove a wise move. I'd still say the front court depth isn't there, but Posey gives the Hornets an opportunity to respond to that strategy-wise as opposed to personnel-wise.
Overall, I'll be very surprised if GM Jeff Bower doesn't look into adding one more front court player in season. New Orleans does have an extra roster spot, so they might as well use it on a minimum deal. Juwan Howard was just released, so the Hornets may look into acquiring someone like that.

3. Are there any trades you would like to see the team make? Any trades you would make if the “fair trade mode” was turned off and this was a video game?

A trade for a decent front court player or point guard would be nice. Problem is, the Hornets literally have no pieces other teams might be interested in. Rasual Butler and Mike James have pretty poor contracts… the only viable trade piece is probably Morris Peterson. The Hornets were reportedly interested in Ben Gordon during the offseason, but definitely didn't have the tools to negotiate a sign and trade.

4. Keys to the game – I know the Hornets beat down the Bobcats last year, but humor me. It is still early, and optimism abounds.

Haha, well the Hornets laid a few beatdowns on the Hawks last year too… and then lost at home a couple nights ago to them. So I guess anything could happen. New Orleans has struggled on the glass last year with Tyson Chandler being shuffled in and out. That's something the Bobcats could take advantage of.

As noted above, the Hornets did not have much trouble with the Bobcats last year. With both teams back relatively intact, this will be a stiff challenge for the Bobcats – but it is not like the Hornets are alone in that regard, the Hornets have gotten to be that good (and yes, it is not fun writing about them – I am still bitter). Adam mentioned that an area where the Bobcats may be able to exploit the Hornets is the on the glass – and yes, it is technically true they do not have great post depth, they have rebounded the wall very well in the early going, grabbing 73.4% of available defensive rebounds.

This will be a good game to watch, to see how the Bobcats are picking up Larry Brown's defense. New Orleans is going to pick and roll with Chandler and Paul, and it will be interesting to see how the Bobcats handle that and their rotations on it. With Peja, Peterson, and Posey for the Hornets ready to shoot from deep, it will be imperative that the Bobcats get out on these shooters. Show us that you have been learning something guys.

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