Hornets general manager Jeff Bower spoke at a lengthy press conference this afternoon inside the teams downtown New Orleans offices. If youd like to listen to the entire interview, visit Hornets.coms audio section. If you dont have time to take in the comprehensive chat, here were a few of the most noteworthy points Bower touched on today:
Bower began by sharing his thoughts on Wednesday trade acquisitions Darius Songaila and Bobby Brown. On Songaila, Bower said, He has an offensive skill set that fits our style of play. His ability to make shots off pick-and-pops, run the floor and get points in transition (will be helpful)." On Brown: (Point guard) is a pretty strong position for us right now, obviously with Chris (Paul) and Darren Collison and Bobby Brown as a third point guard. Weve got a lot of speed, quickness and scoring that will give us a lot of options.
Shooting guard is the position that seems to have the most uncertainty at this stage of the offseason, with 2008-09 starting two guard Rasual Butler having been dealt, 2007-08 starter Morris Peterson coming off an injury-plagued season, Julian Wrights role to be determined and Marcus Thorntons impact uncertain based on his status as a rookie. Bower expressed support for Peterson, saying I have a lot of confidence in Morris Peterson. He was a starting guard on a franchise-best record (team) that weve had. The essence of what he brings onto the floor isnt so much what he does individually, but the impact on the group collectively. I know what hes done this summer, and the work hes put in. On Wright, Bower said, Julian is a talented player in search of a role. Now hes got a chance to step forward and play a bigger role. His performance will dictate if that happens, (and) to what degree. On Thornton, the GM said, hes a young, talented rookie who has a lot of ability and natural talents. The pace of his adjustment and the learning curve will decide how quick of an impact he can make for us. Bower also said that the option of playing Darren Collison and CP3 together in the backcourt could mean sporadic minutes for Paul at shooting guard.
Another issue that has been debated extensively among media and fans is whether it would benefit the Hornets to have veteran forward Peja Stojakovic come off the bench. Bower didnt seem anxious to see that move made, saying that he expects Stojakovic to have a very strong 2009-10. That will be something that Coach Scott works through during training camp and the preseason, Bower said of the decision-making process of whether Stojakovic will start or become a reserve. (But) I dont think its a necessity, to be quite honest. I expect Peja to be back and better than ever. Peja is the kind of guy who will do anything you ask him to do, one way or another, but I dont think theres been any need to rush to make decisions on something like that.
Asked whether the Hornets are at the level of some of the elite teams in the Western Conference and NBA right now, Bower responded: Probably not. But do we have the ingredients and the makeup to grow to that point? I would say we do.