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The Hornets solidified their future in June, when Saints owner Tom Benson bought the team for $338 million and the draft yielded stars-in-waiting Anthony Davis (the No. 1 pick from Kentucky) and Austin Rivers (taken 10th out of Duke). Succeeding in the present will be more challenging. New Orleans's offense sputtered last season, averaging 89.6 points per game, second fewest in the NBA. The acquisition of Ryan Anderson—last year's Most Improved Player—in a sign-and-trade with the Magic should at least boost the team's terrible three-point shooting (33.3%).
G.M. Dell Demps re-signed restricted free-agent shooting guard Eric Gordon for $58 million over four years, but he has played in just 65 games the last two seasons and has been dealing with pain in his surgically repaired right knee. If Gordon does stay in the lineup, the 6'4" Rivers will have to make the move from the two to the point, a tough transition for any guard, let alone a 20-year-old.
COACH: Monty Williams (3rd season with Hornets)
2011--12 RECORD: 21--45 (5th in Southwest)
OFFENSE: 89.6 ppg (29th)
DEFENSE: 93.4 ppg (8th)
PICK-AND-ROLL OFFENSE: 26.5 ppg (T-9th)
PROJECTED STARTING FIVE
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