Hollinger's Insider Gems: Jan. 20, 2009

1. Here's where New Orleans' decision to pay James Posey instead of a big man this offseason really stares them in the face. Tyson Chandler sprained his ankle Monday, Hilton Armstrong tweaked his knee and David West sat out with back spasms; there's a chance all three might be unavailable for the next couple of games, leaving an already paper-thin frontcourt down to Melvin Ely and Sean Marks.

Marks started against Indiana on Sunday, and he was either nervous (glass-half-full version) or flat-out sucked (glass-half-empty version), as he missed badly on several wide-open jumpers. Ely has a 4.40 PER this season, while Marks is at 2.52; one of them will probably have to start for at least a few games. Posey came off the pine and played virtually the entire game at the 4, which works against the Pacers but is unlikely to be effective against bigger teams.

This won't be such a problem if it's just a brief absence by West and Chandler, but Chandler's ankle injury is especially worrisome -- if he misses a few weeks and the Hornets are dependent on the rent-a-center crew behind him, they could lose positioning in the West real fast.