Gerry V on bigs, Thornton, PGs, new players

Friday, September 25, 2009
By: Jim Eichenhofer,

With training camp beginning Tuesday in Lafayette, I’m spending the latter portion of this week sitting down with Hornets analysts Gerry Vaillancourt and Gil McGregor to get their thoughts on what fans should be keeping a close eye on during preseason.

In the first segment, which you can listen to in the audio section, Gerry V provides his list of what he'll be tracking throughout the eight preseason games. New Orleans opens its exhibition slate on Oct. 7 at Atlanta. The preseason finale is Oct. 23 at the Clippers.

You can listen to the entire 12:15 discussion, but if you don’t have time for that, here is a brief list of the four items Gerry will focus on during his in-game broadcasts for the Hornets Radio Network:
1) The frontline
Preseason will be used to solidify and determine roles, especially since the Hornets are trying to integrate three key new players – Emeka Okafor, Ike Diogu and Darius Songaila. Vaillancourt says the team’s bigs must work to improve New Orleans’ rebounding – at both ends of the floor – as well as shot-blocking.
2) Marcus Thornton
Vaillancourt discusses why defense will be the biggest factor during the LSU product’s adjustment to the NBA. It also bears watching Thornton’s finishing ability on offense and mid-range game.
3) Backup point guards
As has been discussed repeatedly this summer, Byron Scott wants to decrease Chris Paul’s minutes and workload. Darren Collison and Bobby Brown are CP3’s backups and must show an ability to run the offense and prevent a major drop-off and/or drastic change in style of play when Paul exits games.
4) Adjustment by new guys
Gerry V provides thumbnail scouting reports on Okafor, Diogu and Songaila, saying that recent pickup Songaila provides several subtle aspects to help a team.