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 hell be devoting much of the early portion of training camp to familiarizing himself with Scotts 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 teams initial practice. A smiling Scott responded: Both.
Its on a different level, Posey described of Scotts 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 doesnt matter to him whether he starts or comes off the bench this season. He didnt mention this during his chat, but hes 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.
Ive 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.
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 hasnt 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-olds on-floor duties during training camp and the Hornets seven-game exhibition schedule. Scott said he probably wont use Paul for more than 20-25 minutes in any preseason game.
Scott likely wouldve 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) hes 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 (Pauls) 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 youve 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 hed 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. Dont you come back here hurt.
We laughed about it, Scott continued, (but) obviously fatigue is going to be a concern. Thats why I know Im going to sit him down (during preseason) and give him some rest.
Pauls 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. Im not the coach, but personally, Im not going to let him do things during training camp that arent going to benefit us going down the home stretch (of the season). CP understands. Hes our guy. In order for this ship to be sailing in the right direction, hes got to be the captain.