The New Orleans Hornets are just six wins away from tying last years win total. Albeit, there were 16 less games in 2011-12 than there are in a normal regular season due to the lockout, the Hornets are on pace to get to about 30 wins.
In my opinion, there is no reason they should stop at 30. New Orleans started the season without their star player, Eric Gordon, and since he has returned from injury, he has been close to what they expected when they acquired him.
In 13 games, Gordon has scored 16.8 points, dished 3.1 assists and grabbed 1.7 rebounds per game– all of which are below his career averages. The Hornets, however, are 8-5 in the games since he has returned and are 4-2 when he plays more than 30 minutes.
Gordon can carry this team to a winning record in the second half of the season if he stays healthy, but that is a big ‘if’. When he’s healthy, he’s productive and can give this team another scoring option that they desperately need. With him in the lineup, the Hornets have been scoring close to 98 points a night which is enough to give any team a chance to win.
Well, Gordon may be the best scoring option, but if Ryan Anderson keeps shooting lights out, the Hornets will be solid. Anderson is hitting about 40% of his three-point shots and close to 50% field goals overall. He averages 17 points and 6.7 rebounds a game, giving the Hornets a much-needed and dependable lift.
There have been two pleasant surprises for the Hornets that lead me to believe this team is on track for positive things. Point guard Greivis Vasguez has been as good of a point guard as any when it comes to ball distribution in the NBA, averaging 9.2 assists per game to go along with his 13.8 points.
Big center Robin Lopez has been overshadowed by twin brother Brook Lopez since the two came into the league together. They may be on two different talent levels, but Robin is slowly becoming the player people thought he might be. The 7-foot, 255-pound center has been better than he ever has this season for the Hornets. He averages 11 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game this season– all good enough to crush his career averages.
These are just a few players that will lead the Hornets to a better record in the second half than they had in the first half of the season and look for this team to finish at 34-48.