2012-13 New Orleans Hornets
The Big Easy is in a state of anticipation and excitement over the New Orleans Hornets like never before. However, the Hornets will need a number of factors to go their way to reach the Western Conference Playoffs after the 2012-13 regular season. Monty Williams is an outstanding coach and he has worked his magic before in New Orleans.
Take a closer look at the top five keys to success for the 2012-13 New Orleans Hornets.
5. Home court advantage
Soon we'll see if the buzz in New Orleans translates to 2012-13 Hornets' season ticket sales. Last year, the Hornets had the highest increase in season ticket sales in the NBA. But that was mostly a corporate effort to keep the team in New Orleans. I want to see 16,000 crazy, rabid Hornets' fans in the New Orleans Arena for home games in 2012-13.
Until Hakim Warrick and Roger Mason came to the Hornets, New Orleans had no players over 29 years old on its 2012-13 roster. Competing at a high level for 82 games per season requires a physical and mental maturity that few young NBA players can master. The young Hornets will need to mature quickly to succeed this season.
Not only will the Hornets be young in 2012-13, but they will also have many new parts that need to gel quickly. What makes matters worse is that New Orleans has multiple starters at the same position. Ryan Anderson and Anthony Davis are both power forwards but both must start. There is an even bigger chemistry issue at point guard.
2. Austin Rivers at point guard
I'm afraid Monty Williams has no choice but to try to make the Austin Rivers experiment at point guard work. If Rivers struggles, he can't just move to shooting guard because that's Eric Gordon's position. And the 10th pick in the draft can't log single-digit minutes per game. The 2012-13 Hornets will be a big success if Rivers can play point guard well.
1. Eric Gordon's health
Say what you will about Anthony Davis. Eric Gordon is the best player currently on the Hornets' 2012-13 roster. In two or three years, that honor should go to Davis. All you need to know about Gordon is that New Orleans was 6-3 with him last year and 15-42 without him. If Gordon plays in all 82 games, New Orleans will make the 2012-13 NBA Playoffs.
Patrick Michael was born 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 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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