No. 45: New Orleans Hornets

Ultimate Standings 2012

Updated: September 6, 2012, 5:51 PM ET
By Morty Ain | ESPN The Magazine

Last year's rank: 35
Title track: 91
Ownership: 65
Coaching: 22
Players: 37
Fan relations: 51
Affordability: 11
Stadium experience: 92
Bang for the buck: 80

Being owned by the NBA wasn't all that bad. Sure, David Stern had to personally broker the Chris Paul deal (sorry, Lakers), but last season the Crescent City was showered with deals cheaper than a handful of beads. Check out the New Orleans Hornets Five-Game Draw package: Starting at $55 you got your choice of five games and a $25 gift certificate to Manning's restaurant. It's a deal straight out of Hot Tub Time Machine until you learn that according to Statgeek.com, the Hornets had the top two least-wanted sections in the NBA. On average, seats in Section 306 were resold for $8.06, but 50% of those tickets were snatched for under $4, and for 15 games last season some of these seats could be had for $1. Despite being last in the Western Conference, attendance still ticked up over 2 percent. Management also did its best to surround the team with a supporting cast by bringing in Samuel L. Jackson (in Pulp Fiction theme) and Will Ferrell to do the starting lineups: "At forward, 6'10" from Mexico, he doesn't speak a lick of English but we still love him, Gustavo Ayon!" There might not have been much to cheer about last season, but the Hive still found a way. The squad handed Paul an "L" in his homecoming, when the biggest cheer came late in the fourth. After getting ejected for his flagrant-2 foul on Blake Griffin, Jason Smith left to a standing O.