Chris Paul was the talk of all things New Orleans in the offseason as it was rumored that Paul was upset with the direction the Hornets were going over the past two seasons.
In 2007-2008 the New Orleans Hornets took the Western Conference by storm behind the stellar play of third year point guard Chris Paul winning 50-plus games but eventually lost in the playoffs to a more experienced San Antonio Spurs (sound similar to a certain team in Oklahoma City?).
With raised expectations the Hornets faltered in the 2008-2009 season, and were embarrassed in the playoffs by the Denver Nuggets.
Last season was worse as injuries kept the team from completely gelling and the bright spots of the year were rookies Marcus Thornton and Darren Collison.
New General Manager Dell Demps was brought in and dealt Collision away in a four-team trade that brought swingman Trevor Ariza to New Orleans and the Hornets were left without a serviceable back up point guard for Chris Paul.
After making a couple minor trades, that brought in guards Marco Belinelli from the Toronto Raptors and Willie Green from the Philadelphia 76ers, Demps was finally able to obtain a back up for Paul in former Portland Trailblazers guard Jerryd Bayless.
Bayless was a lottery pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, but he never found a spot in the rotation in Portland. He is a combo guard in every sense of the word and has great quickness and ability to get in the lane.
In 2008 one of the main contributors to the Hornets success was guard Jannero Pargo. Pargo averaged 8.2 PPG 1.6 RPG and 2.4 APG in 18 minutes per game.
Last season Bayless posted averages of 8.5 PPG 1.6 RPG and 2.3 APG in 17 minutes per game. Bayless could be to this year's Hornets team what Pargo was in 2008.
Bayless had his best year last season and is coming into a familiar system with Monty Williams (former Trailblazers assistant coach and worked closely with Bayless during their time in Portland) taking over as the new head coach of the New Orleans Hornets.
The Hornets bench hasn't been one of the best in the NBA and with Bayless' ability to create shots should help bring some energy into New Orleans second unit.
The rest of the roster isn't the same as 2008 but if the Hornets can keep Chris Paul and David West healthy and Marcus Thornton can build on his season from a year ago the addition of Jerryd Bayless just may be enough to push New Orleans into the NBA playoffs in 2010.
Follow Brandon on Twitter: @jeffeb91
Follow Brandon on Tumblr: http://i-w-r-i-t-e.tumblr.com/