Hornets Lose Finale, Begin Important Offseason
While Hornets head coach Monty Williams expressed disappointment over his team's 84-77 loss to the Houston Rockets Thursday night, he should be pleased at how his players finished the season as a whole. Plaqued by injuries, the departure of a superstar, an abnormal schedule, no ownership (until recently), and a lack of practice time, the New Orleans Hornets managed to win 8 of their last 13 games.
Thursday night's regular season finale was dominated by the D-League. Point guard Jerome Dyson, forward Darryl Watkins, and forward Lance Thomas have all spent time in the NBA Developmental league. Last night, the three combined to play 129 minutes for the Hornets. Wanting to show Williams, and the rest of the league that they deserve a big-league contract, the trio played admirable.
Dyson led New Orleans in scoring with 15, while Watkins put together the best complete stat line (13 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 assist, 1 block). Unlike Dyson and Watkins, Thomas has spent the majority of the season with the Hornets. He closed out his longest stint in the NBA with 11 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks.
Youngster Al-Farouq Aminu (pictured above) has arguably benefited the most from the extended minutes he received in the latter part of the season. He ended the season with a double-double against Houston (11 points, 10 rebounds), displaying the strides he's made in his game this year.
With the 2011-2012 campaign over, the Hornets now begin one of the most important offseasons in franchise history. Two lottery picks await New Orleans in the June draft. Draft selection will be determined when the lottery takes place on May 30th.