For a young team like the New Orleans Hornets, periodically grading individual performances is a good way to track how the team progresses throughout the season. The Hornets have gotten off to a nice start, going 2-1 in the season's first week.
There are a couple of interesting things to consider about the Hornets' unlikely record. First, they opened the first week of the season facing three playoff teams from last year and were a bad fourth quarter against the Spurs away from being 3-0.
Second, they've managed to take care of business despite franchise guard Eric Gordon still out with a knee injury and No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis missing time with a concussion. In their most recent win over Chicago, they hardly ever trailed against the Bulls even with their two best players injured.
That's a strong testament to both the depth of this young team and the remarkable coaching of head coach Monty Williams. Williams was tasked with a Hornets roster that was next-to-last in terms of NBA experience at an average of 2.79 seasons per player. He responded by transforming them into a solid unit that will give opponents a run for their money going forward.
Williams and the Hornets have benefited from some inspired play from unlikely sources. Starting point guard Greivis Vasquez has been one of the season's early surprises. Small forward Al-Farouq Aminu has improved offensively, as has center Robin Lopez. When healthy, Davis has shown the potential that generated so much hype going into his rookie campaign.
With the team heading into a clash with yet another playoff team in Philadelphia, I handed out grades for all of the young players on the roster based on their performances in both the preseason and regular season. None of the guys on this report card are older than 26 years old.
Here's a look at how the members of this Hornets team have fared in the season's opening week.