While the preamble to the NBA regular season is often overlooked, training camp is where we get an idea of what to expect when the games actually count. Those October scrimmages and practices are where team chemistry is built and rookies cut their teeth.
For a young team breaking in as many new faces as the New Orleans Hornets, this year's training camp may be the most crucial one in years. The team returns one starter from last year's opening day roster and that's shooting guard Eric Gordon, a man who has played all of nine games for the franchise.
The Hornets spent the offseason overhauling the roster and opened camp earlier this month with a slew of questions. Is Gordon healthy? How will the learning curve affect 19-year-old No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis? Can rookie Austin Rivers play point guard? What role will forward Ryan Anderson have? Are Greivis Vasquez and Al-Farouq Aminu adequate starters?
We won't know definitive answers to those questions until we are deeper into the regular season. For now, the Hornets have looked like a team with a ton of promise as well as a ton of growing up to do. New Orleans went 4-4 in the preseason, but finished strong with a 96-89 win over the defending champion Miami Heat.
The win saw Davis come of age with a 24-point/11-rebound performance. It also saw fellow rookie Austin Rivers injure his ankle for the second time in a week. It was the type of game that gave Hornets fans a reason to be excited and a reason to cringe.
How the Hornets' preseason exploits translates to the regular season remains to be seen. Still, there were important aspects to take away from this exhibition period. Whether it was rookies emerging out of nowhere or keeping a watchful eye on the team's injury report, this month has given us a better understanding of this Hornets team.
While we can be here forever breaking down every nugget, I broke down the most important revelations from camp and the preseason down to a list of five.
Here are the five critical revelations that stemmed from Hornets training camp.