The New Orleans Hornets have seen a troubling season come their way. They're far out in the Southwest division. Also, the Hornets have lost six or more consecutive games three times.
With the poor season that the Hornets have had, they've put together poor numbers in many areas. They're 20th or worse in scoring, three-point field-goal percentage, assists and steals.
Jarrett Jack and Trevor Ariza are the only Hornets players averaging 30 or more minutes per game and 10 field-goal attempts per game.
Meanwhile, as many bad teams do, the Hornets have surprisingly luminary statistics to go with their bad statistics. Jarrett Jack's scoring average is one of them. Few would argue that Jack would lead a good team in scoring.
Following is a discourse on that and other misleading statistics by the Hornets and Hornets players.
Jarrett Jack is having his first season leading a team in scoring.
Someone needs to lead the team with the worst record in the NBA, and Jack is the guy to score for the Hornets.
Jack's previous scoring high was 13.1 points per game in 2008-09 when he was with the Indiana Pacers.
Now, he's leading the Hornets with only 15.2 points per game.
Consider Jack's minute load. He's playing 35.7 minutes per game. His previous high was 33.1 per game in 2008-09. Trevor Ariza, the only other player for the Hornets, plays 33.8 minutes per game.
Similarly, Jack puts up 13.2 field-goal attempts per game, which stands 36th in the NBA. Ariza, second on the team in field-goal attempts per game, takes only 10.5 per game.
Typically, teams have more than two players shooting the ball more than 10 times per game, but the Hornets don't have aggressive shooters or natural scorers.
Further, consider that once Eric Gordon returns to the court, Jack won't be leading the team in scoring, nor will he be getting many minutes. Having Gordon out helps his scoring figure tremendously.
The Hornets have one of the better scoring defense averages in the league.
They rank 11th in the league, giving up 93.3 points per game.
A few things make this misleading. First, the Hornets give up relatively few points while allowing teams to shoot a breezy 45.2 percent from the field (ninth-worst field-goal defense).
Second, with two solid rebounders in Chris Kaman and Emeka Okafor, the Hornets don't allow many second-chance opportunities. New Orleans allows the second-fewest offensive rebounds in the league.
Third, the Hornets play slow ball. The Hornets have the second-lowest pace in the league at 88.2.
Fourth, the Hornets' nice scoring defense is offset by their poor defensive rating (105.3, 22nd in the NBA).
Fifth, the Hornets' poor scoring margin (minus-6.1) allows opponents to put them away early and coast to the end of the game, as the Chicago Bulls did against them on Wednesday after claiming a 15-point second-quarter lead en route to a 90-67 win.
The Hornets have a remarkably low turnover rate for a bad team.
Their 13.8 turnovers per game are less than the league average (14.7).
Jarrett Jack and Greivis Vazquez are in the top 26 in assist-to-turnover ratio.
Two things are fishy here. First, the Hornets get away with few turnovers by playing at a slow pace and scoring few points.
Playing slow makes them less liable to turn it over, since it's safe. Also, when a team scores only 87.2 points per game, opposing defenders aren't apt to try to steal the ball as much.
Hence, the 7.6 opponent's steals per game, 12th-fewest in the league.
Second, perhaps as a result of the slow pace, Jack is playing more efficiently than ever. He has his best assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.94, seventh-best in the league. His previous best is 2.53 in 2009-10 with the Toronto Raptors.
A point guard has a much easier time facilitating the offense when the opposing team isn't trying as hard on defense.
Also, the Hornets' 14.9 percent turnover rate ranks only 21st in the league, showing that the Hornets, while playing slower than most teams, turn it over more frequently than most.
Many of Gustavo Ayon's numbers are eye-popping.
While he averages 4.7 points and 3.4 rebounds per game, his player efficiency rating (21.0), block percentage (5.5 percent), win shares per 48 minutes (.175), field-goal percentage (58.8 percent) and offensive rating are remarkable (.175).
A Moneyball general manager might look at his numbers and demand Dell Demps a trade for him.
Then again, a closer look would be required. Ayon is generally a backup. The Mexican big man plays against poor competition when he hits the court.
Also, he plays only 13 minutes per game. Playing such few minutes, it's easy for him to drop buckets and post impressive advanced metrics.
Ayon's game was exposed when he started against the Sacramento Kings on February 6 in place of Jason Smith. Ayon scored four points on 2-of-6 from the field, along with nine rebounds and two blocks in 32 minutes. Sunday was his first NBA game playing 30 minutes, and he didn't manage to shoot decently.
Ayon was even quieter on Wednesday in his start against the Bulls, scoring six points on 3-of-5 shooting, along with three rebounds and two steals in 19 minutes.
Catching a great game in a significant number of minutes is difficult for a player who plays insignificant minutes.