The 2011-12 season was a rough one for the New Orleans Hornets. They traded their franchise point guard, Chris Paul, to the Los Angeles Clippers before the season started. The main piece they received in return, shooting guard Eric Gordon, played just 9 games for them and they finished with a putrid 21-45 record.
This season, things are looking up for the Hornets. They parlayed the third-worst record in basketball into the No. 1 overall pick, where they selected potential franchise-changing big man Anthony Davis. They used the No. 10 overall pick, acquired in the Paul trade, to snag Duke shooting guard Austin Rivers. They re-signed Gordon and added forward Ryan Anderson and center Robin Lopez.
New Orleans also bid farewell to pricey veterans such as Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza and Jarrett Jack, which gave the team some much needed cap flexibility. With all the moving and shaking, the Hornets have managed to go from a sinking ship to a team with some promise in the span of a couple months.
The question is, where will all of that promise get them this upcoming season?
The NBA released its schedule last week and gave Monty Williams' boys the tough task of opening against perennial championship contender San Antonio. It will be a classic battle between a group of seasoned pros and intriguing squad of young talent.
Today, I will break down the Hornets' 82-game slate, highlighting key contests and conjuring up the best- and worst-case scenarios for the team in each month. There will also be some predictions on how New Orleans will fare, which may or may not lead to me eating a healthy serving of crow by season's end.
What do you say we get to it, shall we?