Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Best Idea Ever?

As of today, the Hornets 2006-2007 roster looks like this:

12 Hilton Armstrong PF/C 6-11 235 Connecticut
33 Brandon Bass F 6-8 240 LSU
45 Rasual Butler SF 6-7 205 La Salle
6 Tyson Chandler C 7-1 235 Dominguez High School
8 Bobby Jackson PG 6-1 185 Minnesota
44 Marc Jackson 6-10 253 Temple
43 Linton Johnson 6-8 225 Tulane
24 Desmond Mason G-F 6-5 222 Oklahoma State
15 Jannero Pargo PG 6-1 175 Arkansas
3 Chris Paul PG 6-0 175 Wake Forest
22 Cedric Simmons F-C 6-9 233 North Carolina State
16 Peja Stojakovic SF 6-10 229 Serbia & Montenegro
Marcus Vinicius F 6-8 225 Brazil (we're supposed to be signing him this week)
30 David West PF 6-9 240 Xavier

Notice anything strange about that team? If you said that Byron Scott's squad does not have one single shooting guard, you'd be right. And if you said we should have drafted Rodney Carney, you'd also be right. Only one of those wrongs, however, can be righted in the coming weeks.

Hey, you're not Rodney Carney. That's a pretty gangsta brick wall though.
How come no one has mentioned this need for a shooting guard or seen it as a problem? Peja has been penciled in at the 2, but he'll definitely be playing out of position, unable to use his size and chasing after quicker players on defense. He was ineffective when he moved to guard in Sacramento, and he has been vocal about preferring small forward. I supported the signing as much as anyone--sure, we overpaid, but we kind of have to now for people to come here. It's like Utah, only with flooding and political corruption. So it's cool that we have an untradeable shooter inching towards thirty, but I want him playing to his potential at the 3. (Also, could someone come up with a snarky nickname for him? I don't want to have to keep writing Stojakovic.)

Of course, we had Kirk Snyder on the bench, who was an unexciting option but an option nonetheless. That is, until about a month ago when we sent him to Houston for a conditional second rounder. Have you ever even heard of a conditional second round pick? Second round picks are garbage anyway, and they're going to keep it from having any value at all? That's Houston for you: I guess they were paying us back for the thousands of refugees we crapped onto them.

The good news is that there's an open roster spot to sign a shooting guard; the bad news is that we don't have much money to throw around. Plus, all the top free agents have been signed. Perhaps the solution lies in a coaching vacancy.

You see, Byron Scott also has a spot open on his coaching staff and is expected to hire an assistant later this week, which plays perfectly into my plan.

Open tryouts. Vince Papale style.

New Orleans is a city full of ballers. Go to any playground in town, and there's a pickup game full of Jimmy Chitwoods. 6'8", black Jimmy Chitwoods. And shooting guard is the easiest position to cast in this type of situation. So why not hold open tryouts for fast, tall, scorers? Just to have an athlete on the bench. And hire a scout as an assistant coach just to evaluate all this talent for a few weeks. You're telling me you couldn't find someone capable of spelling Peja or Bobby Jackson for eight or nine minutes a night? There's no one in town that could live up to the high standards of Jackson Vroman, who at one point had more fouls than points last year? Compound that by the hometown appeal, the need for this city to get behind someone. Having a man of the people on the team (happy to be paid the $932,000 league minimum) would generate so much press and excitement around New Orleans. What's the worst that could happen? You would rather keep that open spot and do nothing with it? Think about it the two people who read this blog.


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