New Orleans Hornets Midseason Awards, 2008-09

Dave GentileContributor IJanuary 18, 2009

The Pickpocket Award

Currently sitting in fourth place in the Western Conference at 24-13, the New Orleans Hornets have had no shortage of excitement this season. Without a doubt the MVP of the Hornet’s season thus far is CP3, Chris Paul.

On Dec. 18 against San Antonio, Paul broke Oscar Robertson’s record of 106 consecutive games with a steal. This record is extraordinary when considering that Paul’s main statistics are assists and points. Averaging 20.7 ppg, 11.1 apg, and 5 rpg Paul is atop the Hornet’s in nearly every category.

Although his streak ended shortly after, he is still averaging a freakish 2.8 steals per game. 


The Beneficiary Award

One prime example of the sheer dominance of Paul’s play this season has been the elevation of David West. Last Year West had a breakout year and got voted onto to the Western Conference reserves. West’s strong play continued into the playoffs and propelled them to the third round.

However, this season, with Tyson Chandler struggling on the offensive end, David West has excelled beyond all expectations. Averaging 20 ppg, and seven rebounds a game, West has more than stepped in to fill the Hornet’s hole at center.

If West continues to improve at the hands of Paul, West may be the Hornets answer to the Lakers’ Andrew Bynum.


The Houdini Award

After displaying a hound-like instinct for the ball last season, as well as an increasingly soft touch, Chandler seemed to be the other half of the Hornets’ Twin Towers. When the season began the Hornets seemed primed for another deep playoff run with Paul at point guard, and West and Chandler cleaning up the boards.

Although at this point in the season the Hornets are still playing consistently, the fact remains that Chandler’s game has been largely absent.  Chandler has seen a decline in his points (from nearly 10, to seven) as well as a tremendous decline in his rebounds per a game (from 12 to eight).

At this point in the season it seems Chandler’s potential and upside has nearly vanished.


The Heart and Soul Award

Having seen improved statistics in only two players this season, contrasted with marked decline by nearly the entire bench, the Hornet’s have kept pace with the Western Conferences super powers San Antonio and Los Angeles.

The catalyst behind this? Chris Paul. Paul has essentially willed the Hornets into their current position in the Western Conference. It is truly remarkable to see such a commanding performance on a regular basis by a player. Which leads me to the next award…


The Best Individual Performance

This is a toss-up between Chris Paul, CP3, and Paul, Chris. Okay so I ran out of ways to say it, but Paul has on three separate occasions this season had a triple double. While any player achieving this is an outstanding achievement, the fact remains that Paul is a point-guard, which makes it very difficult to do so unless you are Jason Kidd.

However, when it boils down to it the single best performance was on Jan. 14 against the Dallas Mavericks. Finishing the game with 33 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds, and seven steals, Paul entirely stole the show. In true symbolism, Paul literally passed former All-Star guard Jason Kidd up and down the court.  


And for good measure:

The CP3 Award

Chris Paul.