West, Songaila happy to finally be on same side

Friday, October 9, 2009
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

• Hornets make home preseason debut Saturday at 1 p.m. vs. Oklahoma City.

Since both players debuted in the NBA during the 2003-04 season and play the majority of their minutes at power forward, David West and Darius Songaila have been matched up against each other on countless occasions. As a result, they’ve gained a mutual respect for each other’s skills that can only be acquired from personal experience.

Songaila, who has played for Sacramento, Chicago and Washington, recalls numerous past games in which he believed he was effectively guarding West, only to realize that the stat sheet told a much different story.

“Every time I’ve played against the Hornets, I’ve ended up guarding him,” Songaila said. “I’d like to think I’m doing a good job defending against him, but the way he plays is very quiet. It’s not flashy. It seems like when you play against him, you might glance up at the scoreboard and see that he only has two or four points. Then 10 minutes later, he has 14 or 16.

“It happens very fast and you didn’t even notice it. He will finish a game with 20 points and 10 rebounds, and you’re saying to yourself, ‘I don’t even remember how he did it.’ It’s not flashy or memorable, but it just gets the job done.”

For his part, West is optimistic about the additions of Songaila and Ike Diogu, another player who should add frontcourt depth to a New Orleans team that has often been lacking in that category.

“Darius knows the game,” West said. “He’s a smart ballplayer. He’s one of those guys who are not going to do anything to hurt his chance to be productive. He’s going to do everything within the flow of the team and the structure of it.”

Due to Diogu’s extremely sporadic playing time over four NBA seasons, West doesn’t recall facing him very often, but is interested to see what Diogu can produce when given a greater opportunity.

“Ike is another guy who is going to help us. Hopefully he can get on the floor and show people what he’s capable of doing,” West said. “We definitely brought in guys who are young, talented and can play. We’ve got a group of guys here who are a smarter group. I like the young guys we have. I like the additions we made.”