Leading up to Wednesday's Hornets season opener, there was a lot of excitement. Richard Cho had been aggressive in retooling the roster in hopes of bettering the team. So in came
Spencer Hawes, Nicolas Batum, Jeremy Lin, Frank Kaminsky and others. And finally, after months of comment section chatter and numerous season previews we were finally going to see the new look Hornets in action.
Well, the game offered some mixed results, which is to be expected given it was the first real game in the team's new direction. After a 27-23 first quarter victory but the Hornets, the team scored just 33 points in the next two, and eventually fell by 10 to the Miami Heat.
Now, you can look at this and see that the Heat are among the favorites in the East, and that the Hornets are still acclimating their new pieces. Or you can look at it and say that this team only played half a game against a team many consider to be a contender in the conference, and let it slip away.
You can question whether Kaminsky was the right move when he played six minutes to Miami's Justise Winslow's -- a player they passed on in June's draft -- 20 minutes. You could pull your hair out over P.J. Hairston not being able to make a shot while Jeremy Lamb gets a DNP-CD. You can even fret over Kemba Walker's 5-16 shooting performance. Or you can bear in mind that it's only one game, and that there are other fanbases out there who should feel worse about their team's performance.
And I say that to comfort, not to be a jerk. Really, I swear! Have a look.
The Pelicans made the playoffs last season despite an injury plagued season behind Anthony Davis. New Orleans was quickly dispatched by Golden State in the first round, but that didn't lower this team's expectations for the season. And yet again, here we are with everyone hurt from Omer Asik, to Ryan Andersen, to Jrue Holliday. On top of that the Pelicans have started the season 0-2. The opening night loss to the Warriors is hard to fault them for, but losing to the Blazers by 18? That's not a great look. Sure, they were on the second night of a back-to-back, but it's the start of the season, and it's not like they had to cross time zones to play in Denver or something.
People looking to get cute with their title pick have looked at the Rockets. And why not? They added Ty Lawson to James Harden and Dwight Howard. Yet, the Rockets lost by 20 to Denver at home while Harden and Lawson shot a combined 9-31. While Dwight Howard was suspended, it doesn't quite account for Denver's entire frontcourt combining for 52 points and 24 rebounds on 19-30 shooting. Considering Denver is expected to be on the outside looking in, and the fact frontcourt depth is considered a strength of the Rockets, that's not a feel good loss.
The Cavaliers were on the second night of a back-to-back after playing in Chicago the night before, and playing the Grizzlies at home. You'd think that the odds would be tipped in Memphis' favor. Yet, the Grizzlies got run out of their own building. Memphis was down by 41-14 at one point in the first half, and eventually lost 106-76. Read the first few sentences before the previous one again, and things suddenly don't feel so bad around here.
Oh, Bucks. What. Was. That. Again, we had another home team lay an egg, this time the Bucks to the Knicks. Now, the Knicks are entertaining, though we're not sure yet if they're actually good. But it's the Bucks that many are expecting to be a playoff team, or at least a pesky young team known for their defensive prowess. The Bucks made up for their poor two point shooting by shooting exceptionally well from three. However, it was their defense that was in question. Playing Greg Monroe 34 minutes and having him shoot 7-17 on one end, and be a -15 on the other end is not what you want out of your big free agent investment. It's like bad defense follows Monroe wherever he goes.
Just like the Hornets' loss doesn't really mean anything either way, nor does it for any of these other teams. Charlotte should still be among the more competitive teams in the East as the team continues to gel together. Of course you hope to hit the ground running, but sometimes that doesn't happen. Now, if this is still a trend around Thanksgiving, then it may be time for concern. For now, I'm willing to chalk it up as an isolated incident.