The New Orleans Hornets still need to work out some kinks in their rotation before they can start the long journey back to respectability. After their most recent loss, a 96-89 heart-breaker to Memphis, New Orleans falls to a paltry 5-13 on the season with a showdown with the defending champion Miami Heat on deck.
The Hornets are going to continue to struggle as long as they are playing without their two best players. No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis is coming along in his recovery from an ankle injury, but it might be a few more games before the talented big man returns to the lineup. He did participate in the walk-through with the starters prior to the Grizzlies game, according to Hornets courtside reporter Jennifer Hale.
#Hornetshttps://twitter.com/search/%23Hornets">#Hornets> Anthony Davis running up & down court w/trainer today! Still no contact drills, but did participate in walk through w/starters. — Jennifer Hale (@JenHale504) https://twitter.com/JenHale504/status/277093396512911360" data-datetime="2012-12-07T16:53:08+00:00">December 7, 2012
Shooting guard Eric Gordon hasn't played a second for New Orleans yet this season. He's still battling with the same troublesome knee that kept him out most of last season. The initial timetable on Gordon's return was four-to-six weeks, as of early November, which would project his return to be right around the end of December. Still, there's definitive date as to when the former Clipper will be suiting up.
The absence of those two key guys has been a huge blow to the Hornets, particularly offensively. Gordon is the team's best offensive weapon and Davis was the team's leading scorer prior to getting injured. The team doesn't have enough quality depth to be able to play admirably with Gordon and Davis sidelined.
Those aren't the team's only issues. The small forward position is a mess. Head coach Monty Williams announced shortly before the game against Memphis that Xavier Henry would be getting a surprise start at the 3. Incumbent Al-Farouq Aminu registered his first DNP of the season, while rookie Darius Miller is still coming along slowly.
Any playoff aspirations for this Hornets team seem like a distant memory now. Assuming they won't be at full strength until at least the start of the new year, it might be time to do some more tinkering with the rotation and see what works going forward.
Here are five things New Orleans must do to fix the biggest holes in their rotation.