Following todays practice at the Alario Center, Hornets sixth-year head coach Byron Scott confirmed that Morris Peterson most likely will be the starting shooting guard when the team opens the regular season at San Antonio on Oct. 28.
Right now I definitely think hes going to start, Scott said of Peterson. The sixth-year head coach said the backup point guard competition between Bobby Brown and Darren Collison is still up in the air.
Our first look at Emeka Okafor probably wont occur until the regular season.
I dont anticipate Emeka playing Thursday or Friday, Scott said. We just have to wait and see whats going to happen after that. Okafor said during Saturdays shootaround that there is a 90 percent chance he will be ready to play by the Oct. 28 ESPN game at the Spurs.
Scott is hopeful that the five-year pro will be able to practice by Sunday, giving Okafor three full days of practice prior to Oct. 28. It would be nice if hes out there with the guys (Sunday), Scott said. To me, its going to be hard (to immediately integrate Okafor). For a guy who hasnt been playing this whole preseason, and didnt go through training camp, its going to be tough. And its going to take an adjustment (period) for our guys to get used to him.
Scott said Okafors absence and potential gradual integration would likely result in more minutes for Hilton Armstrong short-term. Even if Okafor is ready to play on Oct. 28, he probably will need some time to get back into full-fledged basketball shape.
Ike Diogu estimated today that his chances of playing Oct. 28 at San Antonio are 75 to 80 percent. The 6-foot-9 power forwards knee has been improving, allowing him to participate in practices. Hopefully everything goes well, he said of the next week. Im responding well to a lot of things. I want to be out there on opening night.
Since 15 Hornets entered training camp with guaranteed contracts, it was going to be a tall order for any camp invitee to make the club. New Orleans released Earl Barron and Larry Owens this afternoon, reducing the roster from 17 to the regular-season maximum of 15 players.
Asked to provide a grade on Julian Wrights progress during preseason, Scott said, If I had to give him a grade, it would probably be a B. Hes still learning, but hes getting better. Hes starting to understand some of the things Im talking about on both ends of the floor. The confidence level right now is OK. Thats one of the things we always talk about: Dont pass up open shots. Shoot with confidence.