Lets start with the Hornets…because they can still be helped this season (at 7-7 help for the Saints will come next year).
Stopping the Hornets is becoming very very simple. Catch Peja Stojakovic on a slow night…or just slow him down on a good night.
Remember last season’s western conferecne semi-finals? Games 1 & 2 Peja goes for 24 and 26 points and the Hornets cruise to victory. Games 3-7 Bruce Bowen locks-down on Stojakovic and the Hornets lose the series.
Each game this year that Peja has scored 20-plus points…the Hornets win.
Last night while watching the Hornets Celtics game ESPN analyst Hubie Brown made a great point. He said for the Hornets to win Paul, West and Peja have to combine for 60 points. Brown was comletely accurate with his analysis. If only Paul and West score their usual 20 a night the Hornets fall short offensively. Tyson Chandler is not an offensive threat…neither is MoPete or Rasual Butler. James Posey will hit big shots but he’s never going to go for 20 a night. So, if Peja is off, the Hornets lose.
It’s that simple. So how do the Hornets fix this problem?
Go make another trade for a scorer!
The team traded Mike James for Antonio Daniels last week. Great move to help the bench but not a move that will put the Hornets over the top.
The Hornets need another scorer. A guy who can start at the shooting guard position or log heavy minutes as a swing player.
Charlotte is reportedly shopping Gerald Wallace. Maybe the Bobcats would take Julian Wright, Hilton Armstrong and Morris Peterson for the former University of Alabama Crimson Tide stand-out and his bloated contract.
Wallace scores 15 points and grabs 7 rebounds per game.
FROM THE I TOLD YOU SO FILES:
Look back at my blog.
I told you that Delonte West was going to have a big season for the Cavaliers. West is averaging 11 points and 5 assists per game coming off the bench for Cleveland. I lobbied all last summer for the Hornets to obtain the combo guard to serve as Jennaro Pargo’s replacement. No one listened and now the Hornets had to trade for Antonio Daniels to pick up where Pargo left off.
My good friend and Saints insider Jeff Duncan wrote another great article today about what the Saints have to do to get better for the 2009 season.
Duncan says shoring up the secondary is priority number one.
I agree. But I also think the Saints have to find an every down runningback!
I do not believe that Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush are the guys capable of carrying the rushing attack.
To me, Bush and Thomas are the same player! They’re not thunder and lightening…they’re lightening and lightening.
That said, I would not have a problem if the Saints reached for a player like Iowa runningback Shonn Greene (if the junior declares for the NFL draft) in the first round.
Green is a 5’11, 235 pound bruiser who won the Doak Walker award this year.
Greene rushed for a school-record 1,729 yards and 17 touchdowns. He gained more than 100 yards in every game, the nation’s only running back to do so.
If the Saints feel like they don’t have to draft another offensive weapon in the first round they could wait until round 4 and hope two more hefty runningbacks are still on the board.
LSU’s Charles Scott and Oregon’s LeGarrette Blount (assuming both of these guys declare for the draft).
So, if the Saints draft a power runningback what happens to Reggie Bush?
I say Reggie gets utilized more as receiver. Am I crazy?….but why don’t the Saints send Bush deep the way the Bears send Devin Hester deep? I know Devery Henderson is the Saints deep receiver but why not Bush?
If the Saints pick-up a power back I say that player and Pierre Thomas form the thunder & lightening combination.
Am I crazy (part II): Could veteran cornerback Mike McKenzie be moved to free safety? Several veteran cornerbacks have moved to safety and performed nicely at the position. I’ve got to believe McKenzie would be a huge upgrade over Kevin Kaesviharn and Josh Bullocks (both of whom probably won’t return for 2009).
Tracy Porter could start at one cornerback spot and the Saints could grab another starter at corner through free agency.