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Just The Sports: My Officially Adopted NBA Team

Just The Sports

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

My Officially Adopted NBA Team

With the NBA season quasi-beginning tonight and really beginning tomorrow, I think it is the time to officially adopt my NBA team for the year. My adoption of this team really does not mean anything particularly special. In fact, the adoption will not mean my life will change in any way so let's think of it as a ceremonial title that will allow me to, at the end of the season, point at something tangible and say that I predicted this team would give a good accounting of themselves for 82 games. Without further adieu, my officially adopted NBA team for the 2006-07 season is the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets.

As with every basketball team, a good team needs a good point guard and in Chris Paul, the Hornets have one of the best. If not the best point guard in the NBA already, Paul will be within the next two seasons. His assist rate to turnover rate is out of this world (more than 3:1), he is a very efficient offensive player, and he also has a very good rebound rate for a point guard. Once his improves his outside shooting touch, there will be nothing that Chris Paul cannot do on the basketball court.

Moving on to shooting guard, the signing of Peja Stojakovic accomplishes two very important things. The first is it made Speedy Claxton expendable and in getting rid of Claxton, the Hornets rid themselves of a player who dominated the ball too much for his limited talent level. The second is it gave the Hornets another efficient backcourt player to play along with Paul and Stojakovic is a better defensive player than he is given credit for.

Playing Desmond Mason at small forward is the only position where the Hornets have a real weakness. Mason is a supremely athletic player with great measurables, but for his career, his physical attributes have not translated into good statistical output. I doubt he will have as poor a year as last year, but Mason will not be a star on this team. It's a good thing for everyone he's not being asked to be.

Power forward is yet another strength for the Hornets and they were right to lock up David West long time because he will be an NBA star for years to come and is the second-most important player on the Hornets behind Chris Paul. In his three seasons, West has a player win-loss percentage of .626 and it is only that low because he had a horrible sophomore season when he only played thirty games. Take that away and his player win-loss record is a sparkling 10.5-4.4.

Finally, allow me to rekindle my love affair with the NBA center named Tyson Chandler. The Bulls wrongly let him go in the prime of his career when he is only going to get better and I am sure will come to regret their decision after Ben Wallace begins the decline phase of his career. Even though I love Chandler, my love does not blind me to his faults. He turns the ball over too much and he will need to average 12 points per game to make my prediction of him becoming a force to be reckoned with to come true. I don't think he will let me down there.

As for the bench, the Hornets will have young players like Cedric Simmons and Hilton Armstrong to contribute. Most of what they will bring on the court will come in the way of defense and rebounding, but that will be enough for a team who will get premier scoring from at least three of their five positions. Bobby Jackson's presence on the bench excites me less so I will not waste words talking about him.

Despite being in the Southwest Division, the Hornets will win at least 50 games and go to the playoffs, making me feel like a stepfather who watches his stepchild succeed. He may not have created the child, but he realized the child's potential and is proud to have watched it blossom under his watch.


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