After missing 37 games last season, All-Star Chris Paul will return to a New Orleans Hornets organization that has undergone an overhaul. New Orleans has replaced Jeff Bower, who served as general manager and head coach last season, with Dell Demps (general manager) and Monty Williams (head coach).
Demps and Williams both spent time honing their crafts with the San Antonio Spurs organization and were even Spurs teammates during the 1995-1996 season. The Hornets hope that Demps and Williams will bring some of the Spurs championship culture to New Orleans.
The Hornets made on-court changes this offseason as well. In a four-team, five-player deal, New Orleans traded Darren Collison and James Posey to the Indiana Pacers and received Trevor Ariza from the Houston Rockets. Ariza will give the Hornets a long, athletic wing with championship pedigree of his own (2009 with the Los Angeles Lakers).
Even with a healthy Chris Paul, establishing a new culture will take some time. The Hornets have until the summer of 2012 to show Chris Paul that they can once again be relevant in a tough Western Conference.
Here are game-by-game predictions for the 2010-2011 New Orleans Hornets:
Game 1, Wednesday, October 27 versus Bucks- Hornets defeat the Milwaukee Bucks to begin their season (Record 1-0).
Game 2, Friday, October 29 versus Nuggets- Hornets get a home win over Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets at New Orleans Arena (Record 2-0).
Game 3, Saturday, October 30 at San Antonio- Hornets fall to the San Antonio Spurs in the second half of their first back-to-back (Record 2-1).
Game 4, Wednesday, November 3 at Houston- Nuggets lose to the Houston Rockets and fumble both steps of the Texas Two-Step (Record 2-2).
Game 5, Friday, November 5 versus Heat- Hornets get an impressive win over the Miami Heat All-Star Trio (Record 3-2).
Game 6, Saturday, November 6 at Milwaukee- Hornets play their third game in four nights and fall to the Bucks at the Bradley Center (Record 3-3).
Game 7, Tuesday, November 9 versus Clippers- Hornets beat the Clippers for the 14th consecutive time (Record 4-3).
Game 8, Saturday, November 13 versus Trail Blazers- Hornets drop a home game to the visiting Portland Trail Blazers (Record 4-4).
Game 9, Monday, November 15 at Dallas- Hornets lose to the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Arena (Record 4-5).
Game 10, Wednesday, November 17 versus Mavericks- Hornets get immediate revenge with a home win over Jason Kidd and the Dallas Mavericks (Record 5-5).
Game 11, Friday, November 19 versus Cavaliers- Hornets end a brief two-game home stand by defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers (Record 6-5).
Game 12, Sunday, November 21 at Sacramento- Hornets begin a four-game road trip with a loss to the Sacramento Kings (Record 6-6).
Game 13, Monday, November 22 at Los Angeles Clippers- Hornets drop a road game to Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center (Record 6-7).
Game 14, Wednesday, November 24 at Utah- Hornets get back on track with a close win over the Utah Jazz (Record 7-7).
Game 15, Friday, November 26 at Portland- Hornets close a respectable 2-2 road trip with a victory over the Portland Trail Blazers (Record 8-7).
Game 16, Sunday, November 28 versus Spurs- Hornets lose to Southwest Division rival San Antonio Spurs for the seventh straight time (Record 8-8).
Game 17, Monday, November 29 at Oklahoma City- Hornets drop a road game to the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Ford Center (Record 8-9).
Game 18, Wednesday, December 1 versus Bobcats- Hornets begin December with a home loss to the Charlotte Bobcats (Record 8-10).
Game 19, Friday, December 3 versus Knicks- Hornets fall to the New York Knicks for the fifth straight time (Record 8-11).
Game 20, Sunday, December 5 at San Antonio- Hornets continue to struggle and fall to the Spurs at the AT&T Center (Record 8-12).
Game 21, Wednesday, December 8 versus Pistons- Hornets get a home win over the Detroit Pistons (Record 9-12).
Game 22, Friday, December 10 versus Thunder- Hornets win a close game over the young Oklahoma City Thunder (Record 10-12).
Game 23, Sunday, December 12 at Philadelphia- Hornets visit the City of Brotherly Love and get a victory over the Philadelphia 76ers (Record 11-12).
Game 24, Monday, December 13 at Miami- Hornets drop the second half of a back-to-back to the Miami Heat (Record 11-13).
Game 25, Wednesday, December 15 versus Kings- Hornets avenge a November loss by beating the Sacramento Kings (Record 12-13).
Game 26, Friday, December 17 versus Jazz- Hornets get a tough win over Deron Williams and the Utah Jazz (Record 13-13).
Game 27, Sunday, December 19 at Detroit- Hornets beat the Pistons and get their third straight win (Record 14-13).
Game 28, Monday, December 20 at Indiana- Hornets keep their winning streak alive by defeating Darren Collison and the Indiana Pacers (Record 15-13).
Game 29, Wednesday, December 22 versus Nets- Hornets get their fifth straight home win with a victory over the visiting New Jersey Nets (Record 16-13).
Game 30, Sunday, December 26 versus Hawks- Hornets defeat the visiting Atlanta Hawks (Record 17-13).
Game 31, Monday, December 27 at Minnesota- Hornets fall to the young Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center (Record 17-14).
Game 32, Wednesday, December 29 versus Lakers- Hornets drop a home game to the NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers (Record 17-15).
Game 33, Friday, December 31 at Boston- Hornets finish 2010 with an impressive road win over the Eastern Conference Champion Boston Celtics (Record 18-15).
Game 34, Saturday, January 1 at Washington- Hornets fall to John Wall and the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center to bring in the New Year (Record 18-16).
Game 35, Monday January 3 versus 76ers- Hornets drop a home game to the Philadelphia 76ers (Record 18-17).
Game 36, Wednesday, January 5 versus Warriors- Hornets defeat the run-and-gun Golden State Warriors (Record 19-17).
Game 37, Friday, January 7 at Los Angeles- Hornets drop a road game to the Lakers (Record 19-18).
Game 38, Sunday, January 9 at Denver- Hornets lose to the Denver Nuggets and fall back to .500 (Record 19-19).
Game 39, Wednesday, January 12 versus Magic- Hornets fall to the Orlando Magic and lose their third consecutive game (Record 19-20).
Game 40, Friday, January 14 at Houston- Hornets get back on track with a victory over the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center (Record 20-20).
Game 41, Saturday, January 15 at Charlotte- Hornets defeat the Charlotte Bobcats and get both halves of a road back-to-back (Record 21-20).
Game 42, Monday, January 17 versus Raptors- Hornets defeat the Toronto Raptors on Martin Luther King Day (Record 22-20).
Game 43, Wednesday, January 19 versus Grizzlies- Hornets get a home win over the visiting Memphis Grizzlies (Record 23-20).
Game 44, Friday, January 21 at Atlanta- Hornets fall to the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena (Record 23-21).
Game 45, Saturday, January 22 versus Spurs- Hornets rebound with a solid victory over the San Antonio Spurs (Record 24-21).
Game 46, Monday, January 24 versus Thunder- Hornets beat the Oklahoma City Thunder and get their 25th win of the season (Record 25-21).
Game 47, Wednesday, January 26 at Golden State- Hornets begin a three-game road trip with a loss to the Golden State Warriors (Record 25-22).
Game 48, Saturday, January 29 at Sacramento- Hornets get back on track with a victory over the Sacramento Kings (Record 26-22).
Game 49, Sunday, January 30 at Phoenix- Hornets beat the Phoenix Suns to close a solid 2-1 road trip (Record 27-22).
Game 50, Tuesday, February 1 versus Wizards- Hornets begin February with a home win over the Washington Wizards (Record 28-22).
Game 51, Wednesday, February 2 at Oklahoma City- Hornets play their fourth game in five nights and just can’t keep up with the young, athletic Thunder (Record 28-23).
Game 52, Saturday, February 5 versus Lakers- Hornets fall to the visiting Los Angeles Lakers (Record 28-24).
Game 53, Monday, February 7 versus Timberwolves- Hornets close a brief two-game home stand with a victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves (Record 29-24).
Game 54, Wednesday, February 9 at New Jersey- Hornets get a road win over the New Jersey Nets (Record 30-24).
Game 55, Friday, February 11 at Orlando- Hornets fall to Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic at the Amway Center (Record 30-25).
Game 56, Saturday, February 12 versus Bulls- Hornets play their third game in four nights and drop a home game to Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls (Record 30-26).
Game 57, Tuesday, February 15 at Golden State- Hornets rebound with a victory over the high-scoring Golden State Warriors (Record 31-26).
Game 58, Wednesday, February 16 at Portland- Hornets head into the All-Star Break with a road loss to the Portland Trail Blazers (Record 31-27).
Game 59, Wednesday, February 23 versus Clippers- Hornets defeat Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers to begin the second half of the season (Record 32-27).
Game 60, Friday, February 25 at Minnesota- Hornets get a road win over the Timberwolves at the Target Center (Record 33-27).
Game 61, Sunday, February 27 versus Rockets- Hornets drop a home game to Yao Ming and the Houston Rockets (Record 33-28).
Game 62, Tuesday, March 1 at Toronto- Hornets start March with a loss to the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre (Record 33-29).
Game 63, Wednesday, March 2 at New York- Hornets fall to the New York Knicks as their road struggles continue (Record 33-30).
Game 64, Friday, March 4 at Memphis- Hornets lose to the Memphis Grizzlies at the FedExForum (Record 33-31).
Game 65, Sunday, March 6 at Cleveland- Hornets get a much-needed win over the Cleveland Cavaliers (Record 34-31).
Game 66, Monday, March 7 at Chicago- Hornets end a disappointing 2-3 road trip with a victory over the Chicago Bulls (Record 35-31).
Game 67, Wednesday, March 9 versus Mavericks- Hornets begin a five-game home stand with a loss to the Dallas Mavericks (Record 35-32).
Game 68, Saturday, March 12 versus Sacramento- Hornets rebound with a double-digit victory over the Sacramento Kings (Record 36-32).
Game 69, Monday, March 14 versus Nuggets- Hornets win a close game against the Denver Nuggets (Record 37-32).
Game 70, Wednesday, March 16 versus Suns- Hornets drop a home game to Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns (Record 37-33).
Game 71, Saturday, March 19 versus Celtics- Hornets lose to the Boston Celtics to complete a tough 2-3 home stand (Record 37-34).
Game 72, Thursday, March 24 at Utah- Hornets defeat the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena (Record 38-34).
Game 73, Friday, March 25 at Phoenix- Hornets get burned by the high-scoring Suns (Record 38-35).
Game 74, Sunday, March 27 at Los Angeles Lakers- Hornets fall to the Lakers at the Staples Center (Record 38-36).
Game 75, Wednesday, March 30 versus Trail Blazers- Hornets begin a five-game home stand with a victory over the Portland Trail Blazers (Record 39-36).
Game 76, Friday, April 1 versus Grizzlies- Hornets defeat the Memphis Grizzlies and get their 40th win of the season (Record 40-36).
Game 77, Sunday, April 3 versus Pacers- Hornets fall to the visiting Indiana Pacers at New Orleans Arena (Record 40-37).
Game 78, Wednesday, April 6 versus Rockets- Hornets rebound with a close win over the Houston Rockets (Record 41-37).
Game 79, Friday, April 8 versus Suns- Hornets drop a home game to the Phoenix Suns and lose the season series 1-3 (Record 41-38).
Game 80, Sunday, April 10 at Memphis- Hornets suffer a road loss to the Grizzlies (Record 41-39).
Game 81, Monday, April 11 versus Jazz- Hornets win their final home game of the season over the Utah Jazz (Record 42-39).
Game 82, Wednesday, April 13 at Dallas- Hornets close the season with a victory over Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks (Record 43-39).
Prediction: While establishing a new culture Monty Williams and Chris Paul lead the New Orleans Hornets to a 40-win season.
More 2010-2011 Game-by-Game Predictions:
San Antonio Spurs 2010-2011 Game-by-Game Predictions
Indiana Pacers 2010-2011 Game-by-Game Predictions
Portland Trail Blazers 2010-2011 Game-by-Game Predictions
Information from ESPN.com’s New Orleans Hornets 2011 Schedule and New Orleans Hornets add GM Dell Demps as Chris Paul ponders future was used for this article.