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Thank You, Chris Paul and David West: Fan’s Perspective
The 2011-12 NBA season will signal the start of a new era for the New Orleans Hornets. The old hive is dead. The queen bee (or "king" bee in this case) has abdicated. The Hornets have finally traded Chris Paul and David West has left via free agency. Although it will take some time for the Hornets to rebuild, I certainly hold no ill will towards Paul and West.
This is not LeBron James
I may get this completely wrong, but I do not foresee the city of New Orleans declaring war on Paul and West like Cleveland Cavaliers fans did after the departure of LeBron James. I don't expect to see Hornets fans burning their Chris Paul and David West jerseys. Both of these young men were positive influences on our community and I doubt there will be much vitriol when they return to New Orleans to face the Hornets.
What I will always remember about David West as a Hornet was how many game-winning shots he hit. His jump shot at the top of the key was a thing of beauty. West had a terrific outside game which made it difficult for other forwards to defend him. Of course, when he did play down low, he could rebound and crash the boards with the best of them.
In fact, I loved how tough and scrappy West was with the Hornets. I always thought the Hornets were a collection of nice guys and gentlemen. However, West played with an attitude for the Hornets. I will never forget the crazed look in West's eyes and the scowl on his face when he would get fouled after making a shot close to the basket.
When Baron Davis left New Orleans and the Hornets went 18-64, it looked like the Bees were done in the Big Easy before they ever got started. Then Katrina hit and the Hornets temporarily moved to Oklahoma City. However, the Hornets terrible 2004-05 season did land them a lottery pick which they used to draft Chris Paul.
As I sat at home and watched Hornets games over the next two seasons, I marveled at the skills of Chris Paul. Not only was he an assist machine for the Hornets, but Paul also played shut down defense. One of the most underappreciated parts of Paul's game with the Hornets was his ability to rack up steals.
Finally, Paul and the Hornets returned to New Orleans full-time in 2007-08 and it all came together. Paul led the Hornets to a division title and they advanced to the second round of the playoffs. In addition to West, Paul also fed the ball to Tyson Chandler on countless alley-oops which led to them being known as the "Crescent City Connection."
A sad ending
Unfortunately, what began so well for Paul and West with the Hornets ended very badly. The following year, it looked to me like the Hornets were missing their fire and they lost a playoff game to the Denver Nuggets in historic fashion. Over time, it became clear that both Paul and West were unhappy with the Hornets and they would be leaving.
However, I blame the departure of Paul and West on the culture of the NBA. It has become "cool" for players to "take their talents" elsewhere. And the money is so obscene, leaving for a few million dollars less money is no big deal. So I will remember the good times and thank Chris Paul and David West for all they did for the New Orleans Hornets.
Patrick Michael was born and raised in New Orleans and currently resides in the Big Easy. A loyal New Orleans NBA fan, Patrick was a diehard New Orleans Jazz fan and now cheers for the Hornets. Patrick was in the New Orleans Arena the night the Hornets were one win away from the Western Conference Finals.
"Chris Paul," basketball-reference.com
"David West," basketball-reference.com
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