COMMENTARY | In a season fraught with poor results, the New Orleans Hornets continue to shine individually. In addition to Ryan Anderson leading the NBA in made three-point shots, Greivis Vasquez now leads the league in total assists. Although two key injuries have helped make this happen, this is still a remarkable achievement for the Hornets' point guard.
After backing up Jarrett Jack for most of the 2011-12 NBA season, no one could have imagined that Greivis Vasquez would be this productive for the Hornets this year. Considering the youth around him in New Orleans and Monty Williams' sporadic lineups and rotations, it is nothing short of miraculous for Vasquez to be leading the NBA in assists.
Through 49 games, Vasquez has 460 assists. This is 40 more than his nearest competitor, Rajon Rondo, who will stay at 420 assists for the rest of this season. Barring an injury or an unforeseen stint in Monty Williams' doghouse, NBA point guards will be hard-pressed to catch Greivis Vasquez in assists.
The only other New Orleans Hornets player to lead the NBA in assists was Chris Paul. In 2007-08 and 2008-09, Paul notched 925 and 861 assists respectively for the Hornets. This season, Greivis Vasquez is on pace to post 770 assists. Although this would fall well short of Paul's assists in his prime in New Orleans, the former Hornet PG had a lot more talent around him then than Vasquez has now.
Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo
I am fully aware that the only reason Greivis Vasquez leads the NBA in assists is because of the injuries to Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo. Paul hasn't played since January 21 and Rondo is out for the season. But this should not diminish what Vasquez is accomplishing for the Hornets in any way.
Let's look at an analogy in another statistic. If Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant were to go down with injuries, the new NBA scoring leader would still have to be an incredible player. In the NFL, if Drew Brees and Tom Brady were to get hurt, the NFL passing yardage leader would still be an MVP candidate.
I watch every Hornets game and you don't have to be an NBA expert to see how much better New Orleans plays when Vasquez is on the floor. At 16-33, New Orleans is anything but a finished product. But with the NBA leader in assists and the NBA leader in three-pointers on their roster, the Hornets have the potential to be a playoff contender in the near future.
Patrick Michael was born in New Orleans and currently resides in the Big Easy. Patrick has followed the Hornets since they moved to New Orleans and has covered the team since 2010. He was in attendance the night the Hornets were one win away from the Western Conference Finals. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
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