Shootaround: vs. Raptors
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Updates from Friday morning’s shootaround in the New Orleans Arena:
• On the injury front, Jason Smith (right shoulder sprain) has been upgraded to questionable, while Eric Gordon (right knee soreness) is out. However, all signs point to Gordon making his season debut Saturday at Charlotte.
• Hornets head coach Monty Williams on if Smith will play vs. Toronto: “We’ll find out tonight, but he looked really good today. We want to wait until this evening to make that decision. He’s been doing a lot of shooting, a lot of conditioning. I would guess that he would be available.”
• Smith: “I’d like to (play tonight). We’ll see if (the shoulder) allows me to (play). I’ll have to go with what (trainer Jon Ishop) says and what coach (Williams) says, and trust their judgment.” Smith added that his recent time on the sideline has allowed his thumb injury to heal and improve.
• Williams on Gordon: “It looks like we’ll get him out there Saturday. I’m cautiously optimistic about that. But that’s what we’re planning for.”
• Smith on what the team has accomplished lately by having Gordon participating in practices: “We’re getting him back in. He’s learning the new plays we’ve put in, getting him in shape. Just being around the guys. It’s great to have him back.”
• Although the Raptors are 9-20, they’ve won five of their last six games, with the only defeat coming Wednesday at San Antonio. Williams’ scouting report of Toronto: “They’ve got a lot of weapons. (Jose) Calderon is playing at a high level. (DeMar) DeRozan is a high-level wing. He’s not just a young guy with potential. He’s a high-level wing. They’ve got guys off the bench like (Alan) Anderson who can fill it up. Landry Fields is coming back. (Amir) Johnson is a guy I’ve always liked. He’s got a lot of energy and is physical. (Ed) Davis is starting to find his niche. He certainly can be a handful. They’re very good in pick-and-roll because of Calderon. They run zones and do a lot of things that teams don’t do on a regular basis. They’re a tough team. We’ve got to be ready to play.”