New Orleans’ 20-point loss in Denver last night surely was no surprise to anyone, after the Hornets matched the all-time mark for NBA Playoff Futility on Monday. What is surprising is that, on the brink of elimination, the Hornets ignored a fundamental principle of professional sports: once identified as a Fan Favorite, a player will never again be a legitimate contributor.
Granted, there are exceptions to the rule. The Suns’ own Lou Amundson developed a high level of efficiency as his minutes increased over this past season. The Hornets’ Sean Marks, once a Suns Fan Favorite and competing with Stromile Swift for “best NBA rapper name,” himself played 26 useless minutes in the Hornets’ one win in the series. But 90% of most of the time, putting a Fan Favorite in the game for more than 10 minutes is the Kiss of Death unless the game is already a blowout. Now, I do not follow the Hornets and I do not know if their depth chart is Cassell’s-gene-pool shallow or if the fans even know Marks exists. I do know that Marks’ 4-5 with 2 TOs and 2 steals did not keep the Hornets in the game, which ended up being the last of their season.