Okafor, Diogu, Armstrong to sit preseason opener

Tuesday, October 6, 2009
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

New Orleans will be shorthanded in its preseason opener Wednesday (6 p.m., Hornets Radio Network) in Atlanta, missing frontcourt players Emeka Okafor (toe), Ike Diogu (knee) and Hilton Armstrong (thigh) to injury. As a result of those absences, Byron Scott said after practice today that Sean Marks will start at center against the Hawks. Earl Barron will be Marks’ backup.

Scott added that New Orleans All-Stars Chris Paul and David West will play “20 minutes at the most” in the Atlanta game. The sixth-year coach expects to alternate playing time at a few positions during preseason, including sitting some players for entire games in order to get others necessary minutes.

The Hornets expect to take a long look at several players who are vying for reserve roles in the rotation. Scott said one focus of preseason will be to evaluate the team’s potential substitutes.

“That’s been one of our weakest (areas) the last couple seasons,” Scott said. “We think we have better players off our bench that can come in and provide us with a lift. That’s going to be an emphasis, to see how those guys are going to gel together… We have a lot of question marks that we’re going to try to get some answers to tomorrow.”