Can the New Orleans Hornets Make a Deep Playoff Run?

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Can the New Orleans Hornets Make a Deep Playoff Run?

Chris Paul is regarded as the man in New Orleans and rightfully so. 

The young point guard is one of the best players in the league and is the unquestioned team leader.

CP3 has upped his game to a new level this season as he is shooting, rebounding, and stealing better than ever.

Last season, Paul was able to lead the Hornets to their best regular-season finish ever and to a game away from the Western Conference Finals with the help of David West, Tyson Chandler, and Peja Stojakovic.

David West used a deadly mid-range jump shot and good rebounding skills to help land his first all-star appearance. 

Tyson Chandler used his athleticism to dominate the glass. He was the league's best offensive rebounder and one of the best overall rebounders in the NBA.

Peja Stojakovic shot daggers from all over the court, especially threes.

The problem for Paul is that his teammates haven't upped their games this season.

 

David West

 

Off. Rebounds

Def. Rebounds

Total Rebounds

Points per Game

2007-'08

2.4

6.5

8.9

20.6

2008-'09

1.4

5.7

7.1

19.7

 

Tyson Chandler

 

Off. Rebound

Def. Rebounds

Total Rebounds

Points per Game

2007-'08

4.1

7.7

11.7

11.8

2008-'09

3.4

4.7

8.0

8.8

 

Peja Stojakovic

 

FG%

3FG%

FT%

Points per Game

2007-'08

0.440

0.441

0.929

16.4

2008-'09

0.405

0.431

0.862

13.1

 

While it is fair to point out that Chandler and Stojakovic have battled injuries this season, I think that something else has led to a decline in production from CP3’s supporting cast: expectations.

Entering 2007, the Hornets had suffered three straight losing seasons. There were questions circling the team as to whether or not they would stay in New Orleans after poor attendance.

The 2007-'08 Hornets snuck up on a lot of teams. There’s no sneaking up on anyone this season.

One thing that separates superstars, like Chris Paul, from other above average players is that they can handle the pressure of expectations. Not only can they handle it, but they thrive on that pressure. 

Chris Paul, as great as he is, can’t do it all alone. If his supporting cast doesn’t step up, they are going to have a tough time beating any of the contenders in the western conference come playoff time.

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