Final Regular Season Grades for Each New Orleans Hornets Player in 2013

Ryan Clutter@@RyanCluttContributor IIIApril 23, 2013

Final Regular Season Grades for Each New Orleans Hornets Player in 2013

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    The New Orleans Hornets finished the 2012-13 season with a 27-55 record, 31 games behind the Southwest Division champion San Antonio Spurs.

    In a year when the most dynamic players on the team missed time with injury, there wasn’t much to expect from an overall standpoint. 

    A few players managed to exceed expectations, turning in solid individual numbers. First-year starting point guard Greivis Vasquez finished atop the league in assists, while sixth man Ryan Anderson was second in the NBA in made three-pointers.

    Still, the majority of the roster turned in a subpar season, which has resulted in poor grades.

    This article will evaluate each player’s individual performances and numbers, taking into account the contributions (or lack thereof) to the team.

    Here are the final grades for each New Orleans Hornets player in the 2012-13 season.

Al-Farouq Aminu

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    Al-Farouq Aminu had a career year on all accounts. The 22-year-old started 71 of the 76 games he appeared in. 

    Missing a handful of contests in December, he averaged over 27 minutes per game, scoring a respectable 7.3 points and grabbing 7.7 rebounds per game. 

    His value came from his defense. His 6’9” frame gives him great length on the wing, allowing him to steal 1.2 passes per game. He has a knack for crashing the defensive boards and helping out his teammates around the rim.

    Starting at the small forward position, Aminu recorded just 10 double-doubles thanks to his stagnant and inconsistent offense. He has no long-range jumper (21.1 percent from beyond the arc) and a mediocre mid-range jumper, receiving the majority of his points in the paint. 

    Though he has a considerable amount of size, he wasn’t aggressive with the ball and didn’t get to the line enough, averaging just 1.8 free throws per game.

    Overall, he proved to be of great value for New Orleans. His offense hurt his grade, but he was reliable all season, something that can’t be said about some of his teammates.

    Grade: C+

Lou Amundson

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    Lou Amundson was signed in early March to replace Jason Smith, who went down with a season-ending shoulder surgery. The Hornets were his third team of the year. He started with the Minnesota Timberwolves, appearing in 20 games, then played in one game with the Chicago Bulls.

    In 18 games off the bench in New Orleans, the 6’9” power forward averaged 11.6 minutes, 3.2 rebounds and 2.4 points per game. 

    The journeyman played well in his short stint in New Orleans but was nothing more than a veteran presence who saw time because of the numerous injuries. 

    He made the most of his opportunity, but with 176 minutes played and 42 shot attempts, there's not enough to accurately gauge his contributions.

    Grade: Incomplete

Ryan Anderson

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    Ryan Anderson was one of the few bright spots in New Orleans this year. His dynamic shooting from beyond the arc put himself in the conversation for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year. 

    Anderson finished with 213 three-point field goals, second in the league to Stephen Curry, who set the NBA single-season record with 272 threes.

    Coming off the bench in all but 22 games, Anderson averaged 16.2 points and 6.4 rebounds in 81 games and just over 30 minutes per contest. He eclipsed 20 points in 24 games this season.

    Anderson made a number of contested, off-balance shots that he made look easy. His gifted shooting ability gives him tremendous value in the Hornets frontcourt. However, there were two games in which he failed to make a single shot from the floor.

    The 6’10” former first-round pick by the New Jersey Nets shot 42.3 percent from the field and 38.2 percent from beyond the arc. 

    Known as a shooter, Anderson can hold his own on the defensive side of the ball. While he doesn’t jump too high and isn’t the quickest defender, he has rebounded at a steady clip all season.

    Though he isn’t considered a great defender, he wasn’t a liability on that end this year. This season, despite a new role of coming off the bench, ended as the best in his career.

    Grade: A

Anthony Davis

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    The No. 1 overall pick in last year’s NBA draft, Anthony Davis was highly touted out of Kentucky. Battling shoulder, ankle and knee injuries throughout the length of the season, Davis showed remarkable improvement down the stretch before a sprained MCL ended his season three games early. 

    Starting his rookie campaign as a teenager, Davis scored 21 points on 6-of-12 from the field in the first game of the season, showing early the type of player he can be. 

    His body proved to be fragile—as critics said he was too skinny—and he missed 18 games over the course of the season.

    When he was on the court, his presence alone made the Hornets a better team. Shooting 51.6 percent from the field, Davis averaged 13.5 points per game in 28.8 minutes. He has a great mid-range jumper and is quick enough to get to the rim. 

    It seemed like coach Monty Williams took it slow with Davis at times, but with his injury-prone body, that will prepare him for the years ahead. He has a tremendous skill-level, displaying steady progression as he became accustomed to the talent of the NBA. 

    His own talent lies with his defense. He had a team-best 8.2 rebounds per game. Displaying a superb ability to block shots in college, Davis managed to block 1.8 shots per game in his first NBA season. He had a season high of five blocks in two separate games.

    There’s a lot of growth left for Davis, but his rookie season, despite the injuries, was very impressive and a sign of things to come.

    Grade: B+

Eric Gordon

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    Eric Gordon has been highly disappointing during his tenure in New Orleans. His knee problems caused him to miss the first two months of the season and negated him from playing in back-to-back games all year.

    Despite this, he was still the team’s leading scorer. He is explosive and quick to the basket. In 42 games, Gordon averaged 17 points per game while shooting 40 percent.

    He also had 3.3 assists per game with just under two rebounds.

    Overall, Gordon was a headache. He was benched after an on-court screaming match with coach Monty Williams, which summed up the agonizing year. 

    The 24-year-old turned in positive results at the end of the season, but it was a lost cause at that point.

    Hopefully he can stay healthy for an entire season. His grade is only so high because of his production while on the court.

    Grade: C-

Terrel Harris

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    Terrel Harris came over mid-season from the Miami Heat. After two 10-day contracts, the Hornets signed him for the season. While in New Orleans, he averaged just 8.3 minutes in 13 games. 

    The 25-year-old shooting guard couldn’t find his way onto the floor. This might be because he was 2-for-19 from the field for the season.

    There was a three-game stretch where Harris played 61 minutes, but he managed to score just four points.

    To put it into perspective, Harris also had 17 rebounds, 14 fouls and 13 turnovers.

    It’s a small sample size, and I can’t give him a grade for just 107 minutes. 

    Grade: Incomplete

Xavier Henry

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    Xavier Henry had trouble establishing himself. Somehow, he had plenty of opportunities from Williams. 

    Eric Gordon was hurt for the first two months, but Henry’s sporadic play and poor shooting couldn’t keep him on the court. 

    Appearing in 50 games, he managed just 3.9 points and 1.8 rebounds in 12.5 minutes per game. His PER was a modest 7.65.

    Henry shot 41 percent, but just 63 percent from the free-throw line. When you’re a player trying to earn minutes, you have to hit your free throws. 

    His minutes increased over the final six games, but his production stayed the same. His best game came April 10, when he scored 15 points on 5-of-7 from the field and 5-of-8 from the foul line.

    This season, much like his career, he failed to make the most of the opportunities awarded to him. 

    Grade: F

Robin Lopez

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    The 25-year-old Robin Lopez started all 82 games for the Hornets this past season. Standing at 7’0”, Lopez was brought in to be a force on the glass. 

    He managed just 5.6 rebounds per game but was equally effective rebounding on both ends of the court.

    He had a career year on offense, giving the Hornets much more than they expected on that front. Averaging over 11 points per game, he shot 53.4 percent from the field.

    Lopez played hard and gave it his all the entire year. For a team that wasn’t going anywhere, that’s all you can ask for. 

    His production was consistent, and he ended the season with three straight double-doubles. It was a positive year for Lopez. 

    Grade: B

Roger Mason Jr.

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    In his first year in New Orleans, the 32-year-old Mason Jr. played in 69 games. With his experience, he mainly played the role of mentor to his younger counterparts. 

    Logging consistent minutes for much of the season, Mason Jr. was never able to get his offense going. He averaged just 5.3 points in 17.7 minutes per game. Though he shot a respectable 43 percent from the field, he only scored in double figures 12 times. 

    He wasn’t dishing the ball either. His season high in assists was three, and he averaged just 1.1 assists per game.

    The defense for Mason Jr. wasn't anything special, as the Hornets perimeter defense struggled all season. 

    On his sixth team, Mason Jr. was not as effective as the Hornets would have liked him to be. But as I said, he was there to mentor and help develop the young backcourt. 

    Grade: C-

Darius Miller

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    Darius Miller, the 23-year-old rookie out of Kentucky, started two of the 52 games he played in. The highlight of his season was his free-throw production. Though he only had eight attempts from the line, Miller made all eight for a perfect 100 percent from the line after one full season. 

    In 13.3 minutes per game, Miller averaged 2.3 points and 1.5 rebounds. His best game came in a win over the Denver Nuggets on March 25, in which Miller scored 16 points on 6-of-7 from the field (4-of-5 from three).

    He displayed solid ball-handling abilities, and with his 6’8” frame, was able to bring down 78 total rebounds. 

    Miller showed tremendous upside and looks to be an intriguing backup option in the future. His progression throughout the season shouldn't go unnoticed. 

    Grade: D+

Austin Rivers

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    Austin Rivers failed to live up to expectations in his rookie season. The ex-Duke Blue Devil's shooting was sporadic all season.

    He shot 37.2 percent from the field and 32.6 percent from beyond the arc. What didn’t help his individual performances was the free-throw shooting. He shot a dismal 54.6 percent from the line, worse than his 65.8 percent mark in college. 

    Still just 20 years old, this season was one of growth for Rivers. He averaged 6.2 points per game, dishing 2.1 assists in 61 games. 

    He saw ups, when he scored 27 points in a mid-December game against the Timberwolves, and he saw downs, when he failed to score more than three points on 15 different occasions when playing more than 15 minutes.

    His defense was non-existent, and he broke his wrist on March 6, ending his season early.

    He didn’t play the way he envisioned when declaring for the NBA draft after one season of college ball. Maybe a season of growth will benefit the young Rivers. 

    Grade: D

Brian Roberts

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    Brian Roberts, the 27-year-old rookie, played considerably well backing up Greivis Vasquez at point guard. He showed his durability with playing time in 78 games, including five starts.

    He can score, he can assist, and he has great court vision. That was on display in a career game against Denver, in which he had 18 dimes and 13 points. 

    Roberts had to earn his playing time but quickly showed the coaching staff he could play at a high level. He averaged 17 minutes, 7.1 points and 2.8 assists per game. 

    After playing professionally in Germany, the Hornets were the team to give him a chance. He made the most of it and played with intensity every game. 

    Roberts far exceeded expectations over the course of the season, and played so well off the bench, he may have played his way out of New Orleans.  

    Grade: B+

Jason Smith

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    The 7’0” power forward, Jason Smith, was very consistent for the Hornets this season. He played in 51 games before surgery for a torn labrum ended his season.

    He fought for playing time with Anderson, Davis and Lopez, but he was still able to see 17.2 minutes per game. 

    His 8.2 points per game were sixth best on the team, and he grabbed a respectable 3.3 rebounds per game. 

    If the injury didn’t happen, this would in all likelihood have been Smith’s best season as a pro. He found a way to get minutes with so many bigs on this team, showing just how consistent he was. 

    Right before the injury, Smith played 24 minutes against the Mavericks, scoring 22 points on 9-of-15 from the field in what was his best performance of the season. 

    With the way he contributed in his role this year, he should continue to be a solid bench player for New Orleans next season.  

    Grade: C+

Lance Thomas

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    Lance Thomas had great shooting numbers when he had the chance to get a shot off. He shot 50 percent (53-106) from the field in 59 games. 

    Playing just 10.9 minutes per game, Thomas saw a lot of floor time in 2012. When 2013 rolled around, his minutes fell off, and he didn’t play at all in nine of the team’s final 10 games.

    His defense dropped off from the previous season, but the limited minutes didn't allow him to establish a presence on the defensive end. 

    He was consistent when the ball was in his hands, though his progression was interrupted by his lack of playing time. He had a low turnover rate, and his offense is there, he just needs to be more versatile—not just a shooter—if he wants to see regular minutes.

     Grade: D+

Greivis Vasquez

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    Greivis Vasquez may be the most improved player in the NBA. His first year as the starting point guard, Vasquez led the league in assists, recording 704 dimes. He was third in the NBA with nine assists per game, behind only Rajon Rondo (in 38 games) and Chris Paul.

    His court vision was spectacular, as he was able to find the open man seemingly every time down the court. He was no slouch as a shooter, either. Averaging 13.9 points per game, he shot a career high 43.3 percent from the field. 

    He was blessed to be on a team with the amount of shooters the Hornets have, giving him plenty of options to feed the ball.

    Playing 34.4 minutes in 78 games, Vasquez was one of the most reliable players on the team. His healthy 16.3 PER shows to the value he had for New Orleans.  As a point guard, he grabbed 4.3 rebounds per game.

    His defense is a work in progress, however, as he continuously displayed a lack of getting to the spot and contesting a shot. The Hornets perimeter defense struggled all season, and Vasquez didn’t help the cause.

    At 6’6” and 211 pounds, Vasquez doesn’t have the quickness to stick with his man on defense. The point guards around the league blew past him numerous times. His on-ball defense is the one thing Vasquez needs to improve to polish his game. 

    Overall, it was a great season for the only Venezuelan player in the NBA. 

    Grade: A-