Shootaround: vs. Rockets
By: Jim Eichenhofer,, @Jim_Eichenhofer

Updates from Friday’s shootaround in the New Orleans Arena:

• Recent New Orleans shootarounds have been mercifully lacking in health news. For possibly the first time all season, neither the Hornets nor their opponent have any players listed on their injury report (though the suspended Royce White technically is on the Rockets’ rundown).

• Monty Williams declined requests from reporters to list which Western Conference reserves he voted for, but Williams noted that he prefers to reward players who are effective on both sides of the ball: “It’s an offensive award now. Some of the guys who made it, in my opinion, don’t play both sides of the ball. A number of them do, but some of those guys don’t. I try to vote for guys who play both sides of the basketball floor. That’s what we emphasize here, so why would I vote for guys who don’t defend? I put a premium on guys who play both sides. It’s All-Star, right? It’s not Half-Star.”

• Ranked third in the NBA in assists, there was talk that Greivis Vasquez may be under consideration as an All-Star selection, but realistically, no one nationally listed the point guard in their picks. Vasquez, who is only in his third NBA season, was not chosen. Williams: “I’m sure Greivis isn’t whining about it. I’m sure he wants wins more than that.”

• Soft-spoken Al-Farouq Aminu was the featured player interviewee at Hornets shootaround for perhaps the first time in 2012-13. The small forward has been a rebounding and hustling force of late. Aminu: “I just go out there and try to get every rebound I can. Sometimes when there are taller trees out there, it’s harder. I saw (rebounding) was a way that I could help my teammates. I’m going to take pride in it and rebound as much as I can. I would love to be a double-figure rebounder, especially at the small-forward position. I think it helps out our team a lot, when we outrebound other teams.”

• Aminu on the difference between last season and this season for him: “Physically, not too much has changed. Mentally, I’ve grown as a player, gotten smarter, learned the system and things like that.”