The New Orleans Hornets finished 21-45 last season and made numerous roster changes in the offseason. The Hornets will look very different in the paint this year, with the additions of several players at the forward and center positions. While rookie Anthony Davis spent his summer playing in London for the Summer Olympics, he is still just a rookie and should not be expected to lead the team like a veteran. Fortunately, the Hornets also brought in Robin Lopez and Ryan Anderson, who should bring a big presence to both the court and the team's roster.
Anderson has been in the league for four seasons, spending the last three with the Orlando Magic. He did not get a chance to really contribute, though, until last season, when he averaged 16.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Anderson is also a threat at the free throw line, maintaining a career free throw percentage of 85.2. While he is more of a forward than a center, Anderson is only 24 years old and still has a great deal of upside.
Lopez has also played four seasons in the NBA, all with the Phoenix Suns. He has not produced like his brother Brook, who has averaged over 17 points per game, but Lopez is a quality NBA center. He has averaged 5.8 points and 3.3 rebounds per game, playing in an average of only 14 minutes each game. In New Orleans his role should be increased, giving him more minutes and more scoring opportunities than he had in Phoenix. Combined with Anderson, Davis and other Hornets, Lopez should help solidify the middle for New Orleans.
I am looking forward to watching the improved Hornets roster, and I believe the additions of Anderson and Lopez immediately make New Orleans a better basketball team. Players like Jason Smith, Darius Miller, Hakim Warrick, Al-Farouq Aminu and Lance Thomas will also provide depth at the forward and center positions. The Hornets will have a deep bench and should be able to keep their big men fresh, both in games and throughout the season.
Mike Patton grew up in New Orleans cheering for the New Orleans Saints, Chicago Cubs, and LSU Tigers. He is a fan of all New Orleans teams, including the Hornets and the UNO Privateers. Follow Mike on twitter @MikePattonGBS.