This time last year, the Hornets were battered, bruised and, at 24-27, just barely better than bad. Now, they're 34-15 and the third best team in the Western Conference. They have two All-Stars in Chris Paul and David West, and Byron Scott will coach the Western Conference All-Star team.
Six more wins and the Hornets will surpass their win total from their best season in Oklahoma City. In a recent phone interview, coach Scott answered my biggest question — why did they wait until they returned to New Orleans to do this? Mayberry: Congratulations on being selected as coach of the West All-Stars. Scott: Thank you. I appreciate it Mayberry: OK, enough of the small talk. Why couldn't you all do this last year? Scott: (Laughter). Well, I could give you a few reasons. No. 1, we didn't have a healthy Peja Stojakovic. No. 2, Chris Paul missed 20-something games, and David West missed 30. I could go down the line. That's probably the biggest reasons. Mayberry: Why does this team still have doubters about it being legit? Scott: Probably because we haven't been there before. Everybody's probably saying, ‘This is still the early part of the season. Nobody's really figured us out. We're kind of sneaking up on people.' You're always going to have doubters. So that's something that we don't really worry about. Mayberry: How do you guard against satisfaction creeping in with all the accolades and prevent a second-half letdown? Scott: The No. 1 thing is just to bring up what happened the past two seasons. We can go back and show the record after the All-Star break the last couple of seasons and show how we kind of floundered toward the end. I think our past experience is the one thing that's going to help us focus on not doing those things again. Mayberry: Are there any players who didn't make the All-Star squad that you would have liked to see make the team? Scott: Tyson Chandler.
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The Hornets' Byron Scott will coach the Western Conference All-Stars on Feb. 17 in New Orleans. Associated press