1. Ryan Anderson- the only Hornet to consistently produce all season. He works hard every night and is becoming a more complete scorer in his 5th NBA season. Lethal from deep, and is developing a step-back jumper that is very effective. This isn’t the most efficient shot in the world, but Anderson primarily uses it as the shot clock is expiring.
2. Anthony Davis- really starting to come into his own as of late. AD is going to be a bona-fide star. Great touch around the rim, runs the floor, and alters shots on defense. Mid-range game is on/off. Still gets beat up by bigger guys, but he’s fighting and holding his ground better than he did to start the season. He has gotten extended minutes since Smith’s season-ending injury, and he’s using them to his advantage.
3. Greivis Vasquez- like Anderson, a scrappy player. I have written a couple of articles detailing how Vasquez is overrated, which he is, but he’s still a fine player.. he’s just being cast into bigger shoes than he can fill. Struggles to get into the paint, but very good at finishing once he gets there. Has a good rapport with Lopez, and is starting to establish good chemistry with Davis as well. A very good spot up shooter, but doesn’t get many opportunities to utilize this part of his game. Assumes a lot of offensive responsibility, and he isn’t afraid to take big shots. A sieve on defense due to his poor foot speed.
4. Eric Gordon- ah, Commissioner Gordon. Very talented, but not asserting himself like he should. When he puts his mind to it, he is a wrecking ball on his way to the basket. Okay shooter. Very good on-ball defender, but a poor team defender. A force in transition, but only when he chooses to be. Injury-prone. If he was healthy, willing, conditioned, and focused, Gordon would be our best player right now.
5. Robin Lopez- Fro-pez sets excellent screens on offense and has been very good finishing at the rim off of Vasquez feeds. He has also developed a fairly consistent mid-range jumper from either baseline. A respectable individual defender, but he gets eaten alive in pick and rolls and also against teams who can spread the ball around the perimeter. But Lopez brings it every night.
6. Jason Smith- what injury? Smith played with a torn labrum for an extended period of time, only to get shut down because he stopped responding to day to day treatment. Excellent defender in space with a consistent mid-range jumper. Pure energy. An ideal role player, and an excellent leader on this young Hornets squad.
7. Al Farouq Aminu- AFA is a tremendous athlete, but does not have the skill to match. Despite being a small forward, he is the best rebounder on the team. Gets caught napping on defense too often. Has great ability to rotate on defense, but has to be tuned in to use it. Terrible jump shooter, but moderately respectable mid-range shot if he catches in rhythm. Hands of stone.
8. Roger Mason- another role player, but has consistently made an impact when given the chance. One of the most pleasant surprises of the season. Doesn’t play every game, but always ready to contribute. A professional in every sense of the word. Shooting at a career-high rate from the field.
9. Brian Roberts- has started playing much better since Rivers’ injury opened up playing time. Very good jump shooter, but not adept at running an offense. He has recently improved a little in finding his teammates. Needs to take more risks in finding his big men in transition.
10. Lance Thomas- a tweener forward and a tireless worker. Infrequently used on offense, but has a reliable mid-range shot. Struggles defending power forwards with size, but has quick feet that serve him well guarding guys who can’t overpower him. Role player.
11. Austin Rivers- very effective since the All-Star Break, but an injured hand spoiled his progress, and he had a rough start to the season. Can get to the rim, but struggles to finish when he gets there. Above-average defender. Not a good shooter, and horrible from the free throw line. Has so much work to do, but the foundation is there. He can beat his man off of the dribble, but needs to learn to finish those opportunities. Once he does that, he will be a valuable piece to the future Pelicans squads.