This is the fourth installment of “Twitter Feedback,” a new Hornets.com feature. In this installment, I let New Orleans backup center Aaron Gray directly answer Twitter questions sent to www.twitter.com/Jim_Eichenhofer. I caught up with the 7-footer at a Hornets community event in the New Orleans suburb of Kenner.
From @oceanback: Which part of your game will be most improved over last year?
Gray: The part I think will be most improved is my strength and conditioning, which I’m continuing to work on. That’s the biggest thing – being able to play (extended) minutes against guys like Shaq, Dwight Howard, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Brook Lopez. The centers in the league who are developing their games, obviously I need to keep up with them.
From @oceanback: What is your ideal playing weight?
Gray: I want to be right around 275 pounds. I’m within a few pounds of that right now. We’ve got another month or so to reach that goal and go into training camp as conditioned as possible. It will be no problem to do that – I’ll be working with the coaching staff and have made a lot of physical demands on myself to get into shape. It’ll be great to get there.
From @stormsurgephoto: Do you ever get dizzy from being so tall?
Gray: [laughs] No, but you kind of acquire a natural thing where you always start to duck whenever you enter a room or go through a doorway. You can only hit your head a few times before you start to learn from your mistakes. I think that’s probably a good way to answer the question. [smiles]
From @kamibank: What have you been up to this summer? Have you been working on anything specific?
Gray: Just my conditioning like I said, but also getting those low-post moves down on both blocks, to be able to score the ball down there in the paint.
From @AndrewJuge: How do Hornets fans compare to Bulls fans?
Gray: Obviously Chicago has tradition on their side, with Michael Jordan and all those teams. But New Orleans fans are just as passionate and care just as much about us. At the end of the day, they want us to be successful. We’ve got to work our hardest to have that same type of commitment to them.
After Gray answered the previous fan questions, I threw in a few of my own. So from @Jim_Eichenhofer: You stressed at the end of last season that your preference was to return to the Hornets in 2010-11. What was your reaction to being able to re-sign for next season?
Gray: It was awesome. I feel really excited to be here. I think it’s a great opportunity. I think I can bring a few things that will help this team. Obviously we’ve made a lot of changes, but we’ve made so many positive strides. I’ve sat down with the coaching staff and management, and everything is going in a positive direction. We’ve made some trades and added some young guys who we feel can really help our team. To be a part of it is going to be an amazing experience.
From @Jim_Eichenhofer: What is your first impression of Monty Williams?
Gray: I think he’s great. He has so much knowledge in the game of basketball. He’s going to continue to improve the overall capability of us being able to win this year. It’s definitely going to be awesome to start going to practices and get in settings where we can learn and grow as players and as a team. He’s going to give us a great direction to go in.
From @Jim_Eichenhofer: What was your opinion of adding Trevor Ariza to the roster? Did you know him from both of you growing up in California around the same time?
Gray: You know what? We grew up playing in some of the same basketball camps together. We were the same age. He’s a great guy and I’m really happy to have him. You saw what he did for the Lakers, helping them win a championship, and you saw what he did with Houston last year, when the Rockets didn’t have most of their best players (due to injury). Trevor is a great competitor who does so many things on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. He’s really going to help this team.