Impact of Chris Paul's Injury

  • Monday, February 1, 2010 8:35 AM
  • Written By: AccuScore

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Since a disastrous 3-8 start that led to the firing of head coach Byron Scott, the Hornets have gone 23-13 to take over the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.  Now however comes the hard part as superstar point guard Chris Paul is expected to miss an extended period of time with a cartilage tear in his left knee.  He is expected to undergo arthroscopic surgeryin the next couple of days.

The timetable of this injury varies with reports ranging from 1-2 months.  Before Paul was injured, AccuScore projected the Hornets to finish with a record of 45-37 with a 60% chance of making the postseason.  With Paul out 1 month, the Hornets are projected to be 2 games worse at 43-39 with a 49% chance of making the playoffs.  Under this scenario, New Orleans would still be right in the thick of the race and could possibly survive this injury.  If however Paul is out 2 months, the Hornets are probably doomed as they are projected to be yet another 2 games worse at 41-41.  A .500 record won’t cut in the West, and leaves the team with just a 34% chance at the postseason.

 

Projected Record

Playoff Probability

Difference

With Paul

45-37

60%

----

Paul out 1 month

43-39

49%

-11%

Paul out 2 months

41-41

34%

-26%

Without the benefit of a top-20 pick, the Hornets quietly had one of the best hauls in 2009 by selecting UCLA point guard Darren Collison and acquiring LSU scorer Marcus Thornton, and it’s a good thing they did.  Collison recently set the team’s rookie assist mark with 18, and Thornton has recently joined the starting lineup averaging 12.2 points and shooting 42% from three-point range in the month of January.

Both rookies will be heavily relied upon now with Paul out for an extended period.  While both have shown flashes of brilliance they both will now have to navigate the tough Western Conference without the steadying presence of a veteran.  Thornton has only recently joined the starting five after a trade sent Devin Brown to Chicago.  Bobby Brown was also sent to the Clippers.  Both moves were for salary cap reasons leaving the two rookies to fend for themselves.  The only other guard currently on the roster is Morris Peterson.  He played just 15 minutes all of January prior to Saturday.  The playoff hopes of New Orleans rest on a pair of rookies in the backcourt, not exactly a recipe for success in the NBA.