The Simple Story of How the Hornets Improved that Sports Illustrated Failed to Mention

A few weeks ago I discussed how the New Orleans Hornets – the last team to lose a game in 2010-11 – managed to improve.  Today – at the Huffington Post – I returned to this subject.  Why am I returning to this story?

In the latest issue of Sports Illustrated, Ian Thomsen spends three pages on this story.  And as I noted at the Huffington Post, Thomsen never appears to mention what I think is the most obvious explanation for the Hornets improvement (if you can’t guess what this is, please click on the link above for my story at the Huffington Post). 

Beyond the big story (again, detailed at Huffington Post), let me also briefly note that Thomsen also fails to mention the name “Emeka Okafor”.  A few weeks ago it was noted that Okafor had improved dramatically this year.  That improvement, though, was based on an amazing level of shooting efficiency.  After a few more games, Okafor has returned to form with respect to shooting and his overall numbers are now about the same as well. 

So Okafor isn’t why the Hornets have improved.  But other players mentioned in Thomsen’s article aren’t a big part of the story either.  The difference between Okafor and the rest of the roster is that after Chris Paul, Okafor is the second most productive player on the roster.  So one would think Okafor would warrant a mention in a 2,000 word article on the Hornets.

Essentially, it is what Thomsen failed to mention that seems to be driving this team’s success.  Now I am not saying the stuff Thomsen focuses upon doesn’t matter at all. But I do think the big part of this story is missing from the Sports Illustrated version. 

– DJ

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