Flying Under the Radar: Bonzi Wells

New Orleans Hornets small forward Bonzi Wells was selected 11th overall in the 1998 draft. It's hard to call him a bust because Wells has been very good defender and solid all around performer throughout his career, but ability was never really the problem with Wells.

The 31-year-old's career has been plagued by attitude problems since he was a key component of the Portland "Jailblazers" and he's been with five teams during his NBA tenure. It seems like the fifth time might be the charm for Wells, who has found a home with the conference leading Hornets.

Since he was acquired by New Orleans just prior to the NBA trade deadline, Wells has been a crucial member for the team. He has averaged 9.2 points and just over 5 rebounds per game, but his contribution on defense has been invaluable. The Hornets already had two solid front court defenders in Tyson Chandler and David West, but neither have the nasty streak that Wells possesses.

At 6'5", 210 lbs., Wells' body doesn't quite match his game, as he likes to bang in the post and is always willing to mix things up. He has a wide body and pound for pound is one of the best rebounders in the game.

On offense Wells is somewhat anemic. He does a lot of his damage on crashing the lane and getting easy looks up close. His jumper is fairly effective, but he lacks range, shooting just 32% from behind the arc through his career.

It is on the defensive end of the floor that makes Wells a commodity. He plays a physical brand of basketball and will get in his opponents face and try to frustrate them. Wells can guard opponents on the perimeter or he can guard a bigger forward in the post as well. Wells is constantly active on D, logging a steal and half a block per game.

The Magic will have to face Wells and his newfound attitude on Tuesday night, as Orlando will host the Hornets. It won't be hard to neutralize Wells on offense, but Orlando will have to find a way to either score over or away from him if the team wants to be successful. Wells will likely guard Hedo Turkoglu, who is a good five inches taller than Wells. If Turkoglu is consistently making his jumper, then there isn't much Wells can do to stop him. However, if Turkoglu doesn't make his shots, other Orlando players must step up around the perimeter.

Wells' stats aren't different than what has become expected of him, but his attitude has certainly changed. Wells has possessed a better attitude since joining the Hornets and is fitting in well with their system. Combining his recent renaissance and his much needed physicality, Wells has been a welcome addition to the Hornets, who are atop the extremely competitive Western Conference.