Shootaround: vs. Rockets
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Updates from Wednesday morning’s shootaround at the Alario Center:
• On the injury front, Austin Rivers (ankle), Jason Smith (shoulder) and Eric Gordon (knee) have all been ruled out for Wednesday’s game vs. Houston, meaning 13 players will be available to Monty Williams. Rivers has started at shooting guard in all six games; the Hornets will have another new first string against the Rockets.
• Darius Miller will make his first NBA preseason start at shooting guard, after playing very efficiently throughout the exhibition schedule. He is 11-for-20 from the field and a sparkling 7-for-11 from the three-point line. The second-round pick from Kentucky is averaging 14.3 minutes, a number that will likely increase significantly Wednesday.
• Miller on his stellar perimeter shooting so far: “My teammates have done a great job of looking for me. I’ve gotten a lot of easy shots, so hopefully that will continue. (The key has been) repetition, getting more shots up in practice and staying after practice. That’s mainly what’s helped me.”
• The absence of Gordon and Rivers leaves New Orleans a bit shorthanded in the backcourt, particularly at the two position. Monty Williams was asked if he will consider allowing Brian Roberts (8-for-20 three-point shooting in preseason) to play some shooting guard, but Williams said he wants Roberts to focus on his time at the 1.
• Williams on Rivers: "I'm from the school of making sure guys are right before putting them back on the floor. I'm sure if we were in midseason and he were begging me to play, I'd probably still hold him out. As much as I want to be at full (strength), guys have to be right to play."
• One of the priorities over the next two games for the Hornets will be to reduce turnovers. They are averaging 18.0 per game in preseason (they averaged 15.5 in 2011-12).