New Orleans Hornets History
The future of the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets is looking to be one that will definitely affect not only its players and organization, but also the fans, and the NBA community. Tragedy struck the New Orleans area as Hurricane Katrina absolutely demolished the city. In order to continue the season, the New Orleans Hornets had to move and play in Oklahoma City, thus giving them the name the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets.
The event of Hurricane Katrina is forcing the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets to address several issues before the upcoming offseason. Owner George Shinn has expressed repeatedly he wants the state of Louisiana to support him and his losses. He has also asked for new facilities to be built. Sponsorship is also a question yet to be resolved as those same companies are rebuilding too. The situation doesn’t get better as Coach Byron Scott demands a new contract be worked out before the beginning of next season.
Fans haven’t been pleased with Shinn’s actions or statements too. He has said he wants to stay in Louisiana but that decision lies completely with the state. It’s difficult because the rebuilding of New Orleans has been a slow and grueling process. Shinn wants to receive funding for the organization but funds also need to be allocated to other areas. Even commissioner David Stern wants the team to stay in New Orleans but it looks as if Shinn wants to forget about it completely.
On top of that, Shinn has spoken negatively about the city of New Orleans. He has described it as a dirty and crime infested town, with low education ratings, and a city completely dependent on tourism. Shinn speaks of Oklahoma City highly, as a God fearing town and true citizens with more U.S. flags than any other part of the country.
Setting aside front office and state issues, the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets had a surprising and note-worthy season. Expected to finish last in the Western Conference, they won twenty more games than the previous year. They finished 38-44 in a division with three other playoff teams, the San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, and Memphis Grizzlies.
Maybe the only highlights from the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets season came from Chris Paul. After the Hornets made him the fourth player selected in the June draft, Paul came in, took over the leadership role on the club, and the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets rode his selfless ability to a roaring 7-7 start in the first month of the season and continued to play well throughout the year. Paul, a pass-first then shoot point guard, had a knack for finding the open man, setting up his teammates first.
The New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets made headlines in the offseason signing sharpshooter Peja Stojakovic to a deal some experts find questionable. Peja was signed for more than $60 million in a five-year deal, which was well-over what the Indiana Pacers were offering. The Hornets hope to establish an uptempo offense where Peja will be able to do what he does best, shoot. You won't see any defense from him as he has always been a poor defender.
In the NBA Draft, the Hornets had two first round picks, the tenth and fifteenth overall selections. With the tenth, they selected Hilton Armstrong out of Connecticut, and Cedric Simmons out of North Carolina State. Both are Centers with athleticism. The report on the two generally show Armstrong being better offensively of the two while Simmons is better defensively.
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