In the world of football when you talk about the teams in New Orleans and Atlanta you are talking about playoff contenders in the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons. In the world of basketball not so much. This post looks at two articles regarding the New Orleans Hornets and the Atlanta Hawks. There are additional links at the end.
The New Orleans Hornets have added yet another piece to the playoff puzzle with their recent trade for Ryan Anderson, the NBA’s reigning Most Improved Player and one of the sweetest-shooting big men in the game.
Anthony Davis hasn’t even signed his rookie contract with the New Orleans Hornets yet after going No. 1 overall in the 2012 NBA draft, and the unibrow is already permeating throughout the culture of this franchise.
Much like those extra hairs in the middle of his singular eyebrow are all about winning, the Hornets are now adopting the vaunted “win now” and “win at all costs” strategy typically employed by the traditional powerhouses of the NBA.
Sending Gustavo Ayon to the Orlando Magic to complete a sign-and-trade for Ryan Anderson is a move that makes that perfectly clear. The Hornets can taste the playoffs, and they’ll stop at nothing to take a bite out of them at the conclusion of the 2012-2013 regular season.
This move all but ensures that the Hornets won’t be bringing back Carl Landry or Chris Kaman, who are both free agents this summer. New Orleans doesn’t need them now that they have two big men who complement each other quite well.
Davis is sure to block a massive number of shots in the paint, while Anderson can stretch the court and force opposing players out to the perimeter as they strive to keep him from knocking down triples. Between the two of them, this is a frontcourt to be reckoned with.
There’s a solid chance that Al-Farouq Aminu blossoms into an above-average small forward as well, which would make this set of forwards on the roster even more impressive, even though they’re a bit undersized and might struggle against the more physical lineups they face.
The backcourt may be just as impressive if Eric Gordon’s services are retained.
143507910_crop_650x440 Harry How/Getty Images
For all the pre-draft gripes about the Hornets’ needs at point guard, Jarrett Jack is still a good option who distributes the ball well, gets to the charity stripe and plays defense bigger than a 6’3″ floor general normally can. He’s not elite, but he doesn’t need to be.
That’s the job of the shooting guard rotation on this roster.
New Orleans has seemed intent on bringing back Gordon throughout the free-agency process. Despite the offer sheet set forth by the Phoenix Suns and the subsequent quote by Gordon about how he wanted to move to the desert-based organization, the Hornets have steadfastly maintained interest in retaining the shooting guard’s services.
Plus, you’d have to believe that a move like this one increases Gordon’s desire to stay in Bayou country. Trading for Anderson shows that the Hornets’ brass is committed to winning right now.
The addition of Austin Rivers with the No. 10 pick in the draft only increases the scoring output from the position. Rivers will likely serve as a high-scoring rookie combo guard and the team’s sixth man, backing up both Gordon and Jack.
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From 1 through 5, the Hornets are solid across the board and should be able to not just sneak their way into the Western Conference playoffs, but even clinch a spot with more than a few games left on the docket.
This team is already eight players deep when you remember that Greivis Vasquez and Jason Smith will come off the bench and provide quality minutes, and it’s sure to get even deeper as the free-agency period progresses.
New Orleans finished dead last in the West last season with a putrid 21-45 record during the lockout-shortened season, but they’ve added a significant amount of talent.
With a healthy Gordon playing throughout the next campaign, two rookies who are ready to compete from day one and could potentially finish near or at the top of the Rookie of the Year voting and the addition of the reigning Most Improved Player, don’t sleep on these Hornets.
Since taking the general manager job last week, Atlanta Hawks GM Danny Ferry has pulled off the most drastic makeover of the off-season thus far.
The Atlanta Hawks have been a respectable if unspectacular team the last five years, making the playoffs every season since 2008.
They built a team slowly through the draft, but this year it became clear that a Joe Johnson-led Hawks team would never be a real contender in the East.
This week, though, Atlanta has taken the first steps toward a prosperous future that could include Dwight Howard and Chris Paul.
First. Ferry somehow found a suitor for six-time All-Star Joe Johnson, a shooting guard past his peak who was still owed $89.3 million dollars over four years.
Looking to appease unrestricted free agent Deron Williams, the Brooklyn Nets agreed to send the expiring contracts of Anthony Morrow, Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro and Jordan Williams, as well as DeShawn Stevenson and the Houston Rockets’ lottery-protected first-round draft pick in 2013, which Brooklyn owned.
Though that seems like a lopsided deal at first, the end result is hugely favorable for the Hawks. They shed the massive contract of a 31-year-old player and will have a ton of salary cap flexibility to offer superstars max contracts.
Later in the day Monday, Ferry stuck gold once again. The Hawks agreed to trade big man Marvin Williams, still owed $15.8 million over two years, to the Utah Jazz for point guard Devin Harris, who is entering the final year of his contract at $8.5 million, according to ESPN.
The deal accomplishes two things for the Hawks. First, Atlanta gets rid of Marvin Williams, who never became more than a mediocre forward after being drafted No. 2 overall in 2005. Second, the Hawks acquire a solid starting point guard in the last year of his contract, again giving Atlanta maximum flexibility.
So what’s the end goal for Atlanta? Well, first, the Hawks instantly become a player in the Dwight Howard saga, and Ferry reportedly is willing to offer two-time All-Star center Al Horford and speedy point guard Jeff Teague, among other pieces.
Even if Orlando doesn’t agree to the trade, Atlanta will have the salary cap space to offer Howard and one other player a max contract in the summer of 2013 — and after Chris Paul declined to sign an extension with the Los Angeles Clippers, Ferry will likely try to pair Howard and Paul in Atlanta with Josh Smith and Al Horford.
Like it or not, we’ve entered the era of the superteam in the NBA, and if Atlanta can assemble a team built around those four players, it could be the most dangerous of them all.
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/danny-ferry-atlanta-hawks-roster-trades-2012-7#ixzz205wnWVVl