Hornets Buzzing Without A Sting

By Jerold LeVon Hoover
Updated: February 1, 2007

Hornets OKLAHOMA CITY — The New Orleans/Oklahoma City are having a lot more trouble this year living up to last year’s playoff run team. They like several other NBA teams are suffering from the same disease called “injuries”.

The dreaded “I-word” has taken the buzz right out of the two-city/two-state team. Dynamic point guard Chris Paul, who suffered a devastating ankle sprain on December 27 at Seattle, may have all but assured this year’s bunch another trip to the Greg Oden sweepstakes.

Paul was well on his way to that great exhibition game in the desert of Nevada in February until he went down in a dry heap going to the basket.

His team’s fortune and head coach Byron Scott’s future rest upon him. Not only is Paul an exquisite passer and penetrating specialist, but he’s also an unstoppable scorer that was able to make life easier for teammates like Rasual Butler, who has a very capable jump shot when he’s on.

The bench also suffers from the mere fact that someone off the bench has to indeed start in place of Paul. Jannaro Pargo has talent and can be a key ingredient to a team but it should be done as a sub and not a 35-minute a night starter.

Bobby Jackson, another point guard who is a sixth man supreme also went down with a hand injury for an extended period hurt the team with his absence. Needless to say, he’s been injured and out of action for long stretches now for the last three seasons.

The Hornets low post killer David West was lost also for a while as well. Head coach Byron Scott said, “You need your horses, you need your troops. Chris and David are two guys that don’t mind pressure.”

“We have a lot of guys who wouldn’t be in the roles they are in now if we had more guys healthy. When Chris comes back completely healthy, then we’ll start emphasizing how important it is again to reach the playoffs.”

Those are wonderful words from Coach Scott, he must’ve forgotten that his team plays in the Western Conference and not in the junior varsity Eastern Conference.

However, help may be on the way and soon. There is speculation that Paul will play some time within the next two games. Paul’s timing comes as the Hornets have won seven out of their last 10 games including 103-91 victory against the Portland Trailblazers this past Monday.

“I look forward to it”, said forward David West. “I can’t wait to play with him again.” Center Tyson Chandler offered, “That boy is going to have a lot of built-up energy and steam to let loose.”

“I’m not going to be switching on him on pick-and-rolls tomorrow. He’s our general out there.” West added that he’s also optimistic on his team’s chances for continued success.

“We just want to put some wins together and forget what’s gone on in the past”, West added . “We are believing in one another. We have on this ball club and we are going to be relying on different people, on different nights to get the job done.”