Shootaround: vs. Suns
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Updates from Wednesday morning’s shootaround in the New Orleans Arena:
• Although the Hornets officially have a clean bill of health, Jason Smith has been battling a shoulder injury since hurting it while blocking a Kevin Durant shot in Oklahoma City. The 7-foot frontcourt reserve said the injury is something he’ll have to play through; he doesn’t expect it to improve while he is playing. “You just have to manage it the best you can,” Smith said. Following the season, the five-year pro will have to decide whether to have surgery or if rest will be the best course of action. Smith: “We’ll make that decision when it comes. We’ve got to weigh all of the options and make the best decision.”
• Over the past few days since Saturday’s loss at Minnesota, New Orleans head coach Monty Williams has stressed the patience he believes is required with the second-youngest team in the NBA. After the Hornets went on a 6-1 stretch in January, it’s possible players and media began to get ahead of themselves a bit. “I think expectations kind of got a little weird when we won a few games in a row,” Williams cautioned. “Everybody starts thinking ahead. I think that’s where we kind of lost our way a little bit. We’re still in this process of building a team and laying this foundation, no matter how many games we win or lose in a row.”
• Williams watched the entire Phoenix at Memphis game Tuesday night, one of the Suns’ best victories of the 2012-13 season. The Suns have made a few tweaks under new head coach Lindsey Hunter, including trying to score inside at a greater rate. Hunter has also utilized players such as Kendall Marshall and Michael Beasley more than when the Hornets last faced the Alvin Gentry-led Suns in November.
• Hornets center Robin Lopez, who spent his first four NBA seasons with the Suns, made it clear that he has no additional incentive against his former team: “It’s nothing to me. It’s not a slight or anything, but I don’t think about Phoenix that often. I’m enjoying my time in New Orleans. It’s just another NBA game.”