Big Easy Buzz Blog - September 27, 2008

Posey focused on learning Hornets’ system

Saturday, September 27, 2008
By: Jim Eichenhofer,
Hornets coach Byron Scott estimates that 20 percent of his playbook is brand-new each season, making it one of the more difficult offenses for newcomers to learn. As a result, free-agent pickup James Posey said Saturday that he’ll be devoting much of the early portion of training camp to familiarizing himself with Scott’s system.

“There is a lot of new material,” Posey told the media, after his first practice as a Hornet. “I have to know my playbook and not be left behind, because (most of) these guys already know the system.”

A day earlier, Posey had jokingly asked Scott whether the 6-foot-8 swingman should bring “basketball sneakers or track sneakers” with him to the team’s initial practice. A smiling Scott responded: “Both.”

“It’s on a different level,” Posey described of Scott’s physically-demanding practices. “(But) I knew that coming in. All guys can do is work as hard as possible and be ready for the season.”

In meeting with a few members of the New Orleans media for the first time today, Posey emphasized that it doesn’t matter to him whether he starts or comes off the bench this season. He didn’t mention this during his chat, but he’s already won two championship rings as a reserve. Posey started a total of one playoff game during 2006 and 2008 NBA title runs with Miami and Boston, respectively.

“I’ve been in the league too long to be (focused) on that,” Posey said of whether he is a starter or sub. “Coach will decide how many minutes I play. I have no problem coming off the bench. I always accept my role, no matter what it is, and do the best I can.”

Scott discusses preseason plans for Paul, roster

A whirlwind 2008 offseason for Chris Paul culminated on Aug. 24, when the Redeem Team beat Spain in the Olympic gold medal game. Combined with his various off-the-court obligations, there hasn’t been a lot of extended down time for the Hornets’ 6-foot point guard lately.

With that hectic summer in mind, New Orleans coach Byron Scott has fielded repeated questions regarding how he plans to curtail the 23-year-old’s on-floor duties during training camp and the Hornets’ seven-game exhibition schedule. Scott said he probably won’t use Paul for more than 20-25 minutes in any preseason game.

Scott likely would’ve limited his playing time anyway, because he wants to give Mike James and Devin Brown significant action as they vie for the backup point guard job. “I told (Paul) that I just want him to keep up his conditioning and timing in practice,” Scott said. “(But) he’s such a competitor. He wants to be out there with his teammates. One of my big reasons for resting him is because I want to give Devin Brown and Mike James as many repetitions as possible. Because one of those guys is going to be (Paul’s) backup, and they have to be ready.”

Brown and James are among a large group of players that Scott plans to give substantial playing time in preseason. “I have a bunch of guys that I want to look at,” said New Orleans’ fifth-year coach. “I want to see Sean (Marks), then you’ve got the battle between Melvin (Ely) and Hilton (Armstrong), and I want to see Julian (Wright) and Rasual (Butler). My (smallest preseason) concern is Chris.”

Upon hearing the news that Paul had earned a spot on Team USA, Scott joked with the 2007-08 MVP runner-up that he was happy for him, but hoped he’d receive some bench splinters instead of heavy minutes.

“I called Chris,” a grinning Scott related, “and said, ‘Congratulations on making the team. I want you to play five minutes a game. Don’t you come back here hurt.’

“We laughed about it,” Scott continued, “(but) obviously fatigue is going to be a concern. That’s why I know I’m going to sit him down (during preseason) and give him some rest.”

Paul’s fellow All-Star and close friend David West went a step further, half-jokingly saying that he would resort to extreme measures if he sees the ultra-competitive Paul resisting efforts to rest him prior to the Oct. 29 regular season opener.

“When it comes down to it, I will physically sit him down,” said the imposing 6-foot-9, 240-pound power forward. “I’m not the coach, but personally, I’m not going to let him do things during training camp that aren’t going to benefit us going down the home stretch (of the season). CP understands. He’s our guy. In order for this ship to be sailing in the right direction, he’s got to be the captain.”