1. Who is Eric Gordon, and what will the Hornets get out of him?

Injured much of last season and out all this preseason with the same balky knee, coming on the heels of an awkward signing this summer after saying he’d be “disappointed” to be forced to return to New Orleans, Gordon has a long way to go before he’s the face of the franchise.Right now, he’s an enigma. Maybe he’s an All-Star. Maybe he’s a guy who just doesn’t get it.

2. How quickly will Anthony Davis fit into the NBA game?

The Unibrow has an NCAA title and an Olympic gold medal already. The forward is a centerpiece with unique skills. He’s also super skinny and 19 in a league full of big bodies and grown men with a relentless, 82-game schedule. The temporary move to OKC deprived Hornets’ fans the joy of watching Chris Paul grow and blossom in his rookie season; so here’s a chance to watch a young guy develop. He needs to find what he is and not try to be what he isn’t. Tricky stuff to navigate, but Davis’ enthusiasm will be a big help, and the crowds will love that.

3. What will Austin Rivers’ role be?

Where will the combo-guard skills fit? Having Greivis Vasquez to run the point early will help take the pressure off. Then again, Rivers could be better at shooting guard, which would put his game at odds with Gordon’s — but Gordon has proven himself in the league, and Rivers hasn’t. This is where coach Monty Williams will earn his new four-year contract.

4. What does the Benson ownership mean to the franchise?

Tom Benson’s ownership provides immediate stability. The fans had already bought into the “I’m in” marketing campaign even as the team was in limbo and Paul walked away, even for a franchise that had barely taken root before Hurricane Katrina blew it to Oklahoma City, Okla., for two seasons. Winning the draft lottery and taking two exciting picks in Davis and Rivers gives the Hornets more foundation and more hope.

5. What’s Dealer Dell’s next move?

General manager Dell Demps has been adept at swapping players, reconfiguring the lineup (22 players last season) and finding salary cap room. Now, he’s charged with building a playoff team from scratch. And with the holes in this roster, there’s plenty of work to do. He has to balance growing players and constructing the right lineup to surround Davis. Demps has proven to be creative.

Joseph Schiefelbein

Anthony Davis

The prize of the draft class, the phenom is known for his shot-blocking prowess. ... The Olympic experience — finding out how the best players in the world compete and practice — came at the right time in his growth process. ... The forward is best at defending, rebounding and hustling. Those are valuable team skills that won’t translate always into the box score, but fit nicely into Monty Williams’ system.

Ryan Anderson

He’ll be eager to prove he can star away from center Dwight Howard. ... His offensive skills are his calling card. The power forward can knock down 3-pointers with the best of them. ... Plus, he’s also got a solid reputation for offensive rebounding. ... The idea is, he can open up room on the inside that will be valuable for Davis — and every square foot counts in the NBA.

Robin Lopez

After drafting the reed-thin Davis and cutting loose Emeka Okafor, the Hornets needed some size in the middle, and Lopez provides that. He averaged 5.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 14.0 minutes (with no starts) in Phoenix last season. Those numbers should all go up this year, if for no other reason than he’s going to be getting a lot more playing time, because the Hornets need that big body.

Austin Rivers

After one dynamic season at Duke, the son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers joined the NBA. And before the draft, scouts were split on how successful Rivers will be — ranging from solid to spectacular — or even which guard spot he’d man best. He should find minutes on a young team, and those minutes will begin to decide those issues.


All games televised by Fox Sports New Orleans unless otherwise noted.


31 San Antonio, 7 p.m.


2 Utah, 7 p.m.

3 at Chicago, 7 p.m.

7 Philadelphia, 7 p.m., ESPN

9 Charlotte, 7 p.m.

14 at Houston, 7 p.m.

16 Oklahoma City, 7 p.m.

17 at Milwaukee, 7:30 p.m.

20 New York, 7 p.m.

21 at Indiana, 6 p.m.

23 at Phoenix, 8 p.m.

25 at Denver, 7 p.m.

26 at L.A. Clippers, 9:30 p.m.

28 Utah, 7 p.m.


1 Oklahoma City, 7 p.m.

3 Milwaukee, 7 p.m.

5 L.A. Lakers, 7 p.m.

7 Memphis, 7 p.m.

8 at Miami, 6:30 p.m.

11 Washington, 7 p.m.

12 at Oklahoma City, 7 p.m.

14 Minnesota, 7 p.m.

16 at Portland, 8 p.m.

18 at Golden State, 9:30 p.m.

19 at L.A. Clippers, 9:30 p.m.

21 at San Antonio, 7:30 p.m.

22 Indiana, 7 p.m.

26 at Orlando, 6 p.m.

28 Toronto, 7 p.m.

29 at Charlotte, 6 p.m.


1 Atlanta, 7 p.m., no TV

2 at Houston, 7 p.m.

5 at Dallas, 7:30 p.m.

7 San Antonio, 7 p.m.

9 Houston, 7 p.m.

11 Minnesota, 7 p.m.

13 at New York, 11 a.m., no TV

15 at Philadelphia, 6 p.m.

16 at Boston, 7 p.m., ESPN

19 Golden State, 7 p.m.

21 Sacramento, noon, no TV

23 at San Antonio, 7:30 p.m.

25 Houston, 7 p.m.

27 at Memphis, 5 p.m.

29 at L.A. Lakers, 9:30 p.m.

30 at Utah, 8 p.m.


1 at Denver, 8 p.m.

2 at Minnesota, 7 p.m.

6 Phoenix, 7 p.m.

8 at Atlanta, 6:30 p.m.

10 at Toronto, 5 p.m.

11 at Detroit, 6:30 p.m., no TV

13 Portland, 7 p.m.

19 Chicago, 7 p.m.

20 at Cleveland, 6 p.m.

22 Dallas, 7 p.m.

24 Sacramento, 5 p.m.

26 Brooklyn, 7 p.m.

27 at Oklahoma City, 7 p.m.


1 Detroit, 7 p.m.

4 Orlando, 7 p.m.

6 L.A. Lakers, 7 p.m.

9 at Memphis, 7 p.m., no TV

10 Portland, 6 p.m.

12 at Brooklyn, 6:30 p.m.

15 at Washington, 6 p.m.

17 at Minnesota, 6 p.m.

18 Golden State, 7 p.m.

20 Boston, 7 p.m.

22 Memphis, 7 p.m.

25 Denver, 7 p.m.

27 L.A. Clippers, 7 p.m.

29 Miami, 7 p.m.

31 Cleveland, 5 p.m.


3 at Golden State, 9:30 p.m.

5 at Utah, 8 p.m.

7 at Phoenix, 8 p.m.

9 at L.A. Lakers, 9:30 p.m.

10 at Sacramento, 9 p.m.

12 L.A. Clippers, 7 p.m.

14 Dallas, 5 p.m.

17 at Dallas, 7 p.m.