I, too, believe that the NO/OKC franchise could be on the rise. Chris Paul and David West are excellent and good young players, respectively. Eventually, Jeff Bower will surround those two with quality teammates. Contrary to some reports, he did not do so this off-season.
By drafting Cedric Simmons and Hilton Armstrong and trading for Tyson Chandler, Bower has almost certainly found at least one useful role player in the frontcourt though none of the three should be expected to contribute much offensively (even with Chris Paul aiding and abetting) in the foreseeable future. As for the rest of the roster, Bower allowed Speedy Claxton, JR Smith, and Kirk Snyder go in order to acquire/retain a passel of offensive players who don't score efficiently anymore (Peja Stojakovic, Bobby Jackson) or never really have (Rasual Butler, Jannero Pargo). Claxton, Smith, and Snyder were probably not going to get the Hornets into the play-offs this year, but Bower has spent a lot of money to make the team older, more expensive, and quite possibly poorly equipped to match last year's 38 wins.