The New Orleans Hornets are currently a dismal 3-13 and at the bottom of the Southwest Division.
Coming into the 2011-2012 season, the Hornets knew they would be rebuilding. They lost All-Star players in David West and Chris Paul. It was going to be tough to compete in the Southwest regardless of who was on the roster on opening day.
However, this team has all of a sudden gotten a load of talent for the future. In the CP3 trade, the Hornets picked up Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu and an unprotected first-round pick that belonged to the Timberwolves.
New Orleans already had some talented players in Jarrett Jack, Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza and Marco Belinelli. We can add in the three guys mentioned above and then possibly two early, first-round picks in the next draft and the Hornets could be stacked.
This young Hornets team could begin to look a lot like a Los Angeles team that has played in three of the last four NBA Finals and won two of them.
The Lakers have not won less than 57 games in a season since the 2006-07 year, and they could continue that type of success in 2012.
The Hornets may not be able to compete very well this year, but next year they could look to begin a streak of their own.
New Orleans has a young, talented shooting guard in Gordon who has said he wants to stay with the Hornets for the long-term. We have already mentioned some of the other young talent in the organization, but the Hornets also have veteran players that can provide leadership for the young guns.
Can the Hornets become successful in the near future?
Players like Ariza, Kaman and Okafor have been in the league for a while and know what it takes to be successful in the NBA.
When we add on a coach like Monty Williams, then the Hornets become especially dangerous in the future. This season the Hornets may be 3-13, but they are still one of the best defensive teams in the NBA.
They are currently eighth in the league in points allowed and they are fourth in rebounds. The problem with the Hornets is that they simply can not get the offense going. However, I believe we will see that change immediately whenever Gordon comes back from his injury.
New Orleans can use this shortened NBA season to build some steam heading into next year. They will bring in some more young talent from the draft, and hopefully lock up the guys that are currently on the roster. If they can do this, then the talent will be in place to make a run at a title.
We see teams like this all the time in sports. A club that seems to be a non-competitor will play teams close throughout an entire year. Then the next year takes the league by storm on their way to a successful campaign.
The Hornets themselves did it back in the 2007-2008 season. They finished the year before with a record of 39-43, but came into the 2008-2009 campaign on fire. They finished the regular season at 56-26, behind only the Lakers, and made it to the Western Conference Semifinals.
That team did not have nearly as much talent as this one does, and honestly may have not been as well coached. New Orleans is slowly putting each piece together and may have a championship-caliber team before we know it.
The Hornets may not win the NBA Finals next year, but I would not be surprised to see them in the Western Conference Finals. That's how a dynasty gets started—by winning. I look for this franchise to start winning in 2012 before really taking off next year.
Before we know it, the Hornets could be the next dynasty in the NBA.