A few days ago, we were robbed of Chris Paul. And it turns out we've been robbed of him for a good while longer. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports is reporting that Paul will miss 1-2 months after planned surgery on his left knee to repair a torn meniscus. The injury is not believed to be season ending, and because he is not
For the Hornets, a rough season that had recently started to look up just took a drastic turn for the toilet. Join me as we examine the flush.
The Hornets had a rough start to the year, after struggling to adjust to a hobbled Emeka Okafor and then rushing out to a disastrous start that resulted in 2008 Coach of the Year Byron Scott being fired. Then after GM Jeff Bower to the reins, the Hornets embraced their rookies Darren Collison and Marcus Thornton, and found themselves back on the winning track. Even after Paul was banged up the other night versus the Bulls, the Hornets rebounded by ending the Grizzlies' home winning streak behind a career performance by first round pick point guard Darren Collison, who by the way, made Mike Conley want to cry into his pillow all night long.
But let's be honest. This was an aging, incomplete roster that just lost one of the top ten (five?) players in the league, and the man many consider to be the best point guard on the planet, for two months. That's going to hurt, so to speak. Even if the Hornets got to play Mike Conley every night, they're still dealing with a rookie handling point guard duties, along with two aging wings and new standout big man Aaron Gray. If by standout you mean, "guy no one can understand why the Hornets traded for him."
It's a long two months in a Western Conference playoff race that features nine teams within four and a half games of the third seed. And without their best overall player, there are likely to be conversations about whether the Hornets should, ahem, re-evaluate their efforts towards the future. But with a roster built to win now, that's equally unlikely as their staying in the playoff race. The Hornets are stock between a rock and the lottery.
Beyond the implications for the Hornets, this is a huge loss for fans of basketball. Paul was having his usual phenomenal year. Offensively, he was within range of the 50-40-90 club (50% FG, 40% 3pt, 90% FT, currently shooting 86% from the stripe), and on pace to lead the league in steals, even with Steve Nash using the DeLorean to go back to 2006. One of the absolute best basketball players on the earth is out for two months. Not cool, fates. Not cool.