||10-07-2009 10:59 PM
Yahoo!:Less of Paul could net Hornets more success
WESTWEGO, La. – Chris Paul(notes) was spent. His knee ached. His legs felt heavy. He had nothing left to give his New Orleans Hornets. The Denver Nuggets had used their bigger guards to batter Paul throughout the teams’ first-round playoff series, and it showed. In the Hornets’ final two losses – one by a humiliating 58 points – Paul averaged just eight points.
Beaten and bruised, the Hornets exited the playoffs knowing what they needed to do. They had to get Paul some help.
As the Hornets try to reestablish themselves as a legitimate contender in the Western Conference this season, they do so with a new mantra: The less we demand of Paul now, the more we’ll get from him later.
Hornets coach Byron Scott is determined to reduce Paul’s workload, hoping to keep his All-Star point guard fresher for the playoffs. The offseason additions of two speedy newcomers – Bobby Brown(notes) and rookie Darren Collison(notes) – could go a long way in helping him do so.
“No disrespect to the backups that done it before,” Scott said, “but now we have two guys who are the type of players that I’ve needed.”
The Hornets lacked a dependable backup for Paul last season after not re-signing Jannero Pargo(notes). Pargo, who played in New Orleans for two seasons, allowed Paul to manage his minutes and also sometimes use his offensive skills at off-guard. Last season, the Hornets tried to make do with lumbering combo guard Devin Brown(notes) and veteran journeyman Antonio Daniels(notes).
Devin Brown and Daniels couldn’t push the pace as quick as Scott liked. Paul ended up averaging a career-high 38.5 minutes, and during those times when he did leave the floor, the Hornets’ point guard production “dropped big time,” Scott said.
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