Media Day news wrap

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Published: September 29, 2009

Combing through everything I can find from Media Day and dumping the best right here…

First off, video of Byron Scott and Chris Paul speaking with the media yesterday, via the Hornets official Twitter

John DeShazier, New Orleans Times-Picayune:

Each year, [Chris] Paul’s minutes have risen, from 36, to 36.8, to 37.6, to 38.5…

But you can have too much of a good thing. Finally, maybe, the Hornets will be able to use less…

Not that Paul willingly wants to cough up minutes. He’ll play himself into dust if allowed.

“Coach knows I want to play 48 minutes every night,” he said…

Said Scott: “I think if I can keep his minutes at that 34-, 33-minute mark, I think he’ll be a more effective basketball player, because he’ll be fresher. I think there were a lot of times last year where he was just playing on fumes and sheer determination. Hopefully, we don’t have to have that situation this year.

Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com:

Excluding two games last season when he was just returning to action from injury, Peja Stojakovic has started every game he’s appeared in since 1999-2000, his second NBA season. Given how long it’s been since he’s been a reserve, you may think the 6-foot-10 forward is reluctant to come off the bench in his 12th year in the league. Not so, says the 32-year-old.

“I already spoke with Coach (Byron) Scott about it,” said Stojakovic, who spent the majority of the summer at his home in Greece. “If he thinks I will be more useful to the team that way, I will do it. I want to be able to help this team, either way, in whatever role is given to me.”…

“Whatever decision Coach Scott makes, I’m good with it,” Stojakovic said of the possibility of being a reserve. “We all have the same goal. We all want to be successful as a team. Personally, I’m now in my 12th season. I want to be helpful to the team, whether it’s as a starter or coming off the bench.”

Jimmy Smith, New Orleans Times-Picayune:

“I could sense their attitude changing,” [George] Shinn said of the team’s mood a year ago as it was coming off its first Southwest Division championship. “I don’t know if it was, ‘Well, we’re going to coast through this.’ I don’t know what it was. It wasn’t the same type of fire and positive attitude.

“But this year, I feel the same type of feeling of a strong attitude. I feel good. I talked to the players just a while ago and talked to them about the importance of all of us believing. We’re a team together. We’ve got to work together. And to make this happen, we’ve all got to believe.”

Shinn stressed that he’s dreaming of not just bigger things this season, but the biggest thing.

“I’ve been doing this over 20 years, and this is the best team yet,” he said. “This is our best chance to win a championship. That’s all we’re thinking about.

“We’re not just thinking about getting into the playoffs; we’re thinking totally about championship. That’s what it’s all about.”

Also notes on Stojakovic and James Posey in that article from Jimmy Smith:

“I’m feeling good, but it has been 4 1/2 months since I played any organized basketball,” Stojakovic said. “I needed that to recover from last season. I feel right. Pain free. Which was important for me to enter the training camp with no pain in my back.”…

No one knew it, but Hornets forward James Posey played all but the first two games of last season with torn meniscus cartilage in his right knee…

He had the surgery in Miami on May 22, performed by Miami Heat team physician Harlan Selesnick. Posey played two years with the Heat.

“I feel good,” Posey said. “With the surgery and the rehab, now I’m just worried about my conditioning. I haven’t played all summer, just little drills here and there. I’m anxious. I guess I was just saving everything up for going to camp.”

John Hollinger (ESPN Insider), writing about the Hornets signing Ike Diogu in the offseason:

I’m not a big fan of some of the Hornets’ other moves, but I loved this one. Diogu can flat-out score, and that’s vitally important on a second unit that had massive trouble generating offense. He’ll give the bench group a post-up threat and create doubling situations that open up the 3-point line, plus he’s a decent rebounder. Diogu has his weaknesses — he’s turnover-prone and he doesn’t defend well — but at this price he was a spectacular bargain.

William Guillory, New Orleans.com:

Instead of holding it in New Orleans, where the team usually holds training camp, the Hornets are taking the training camp out to Lafayette.

“When we used to hold training camp here, guys used to just go to practice and go home. But now the guys can be around each other almost 24/7,” Head Coach Byron Scott said. “They will have the opportunity to get to know each other off the court a little bit better, as well as on the court.”

Conversely, with so many old faces heading out the door during this offseason, plenty of new players were added to the mix to shake things up on the court and in the Hornets locker room. Six new faces were added to the mix and each one of them will be expected to come in and play a big role on the team by the time next season starts.

“My message is always come ready from day one,” Scott said. “One thing I really feel happy about is that in every position we have some competition. The backup guys will be competing for backup minutes and the backup guys will be able to push the starters a little bit more. (All-Star Point Guard) Chris Paul will not have any easy practices this year.”

John Reid, New Orleans Times-Picayune:

“I’m excited about the guys we brought in,” Paul said. “This may be the deepest bench that we’ve had since I’ve been in the league.”…

“We definitely got talented guys now,” [David] West said. “We’ve got a group that’s smarter, and it’s just a matter of how we’re going to come together as a group.”…

“I’m extremely anxious to get started,” [Darren] Collison said. “Anytime there is a good competition, the team gets better. You can tell the looks on everybody’s face that we want to win. Whether it’s Emeka trying to play on a playoff team for the first time or Chris trying to be the MVP, everybody has something to prove.”

Brett Martel, Associate Press (USAToday.com):

Given the way the Hornets were blown out of the first round of the playoffs last spring, Chris Paul figured some roster turnover was inevitable, and he was going to embrace it.

“The uncertainty, that’s what I’m most excited about,” Paul said Monday before the Hornets packed up and headed west to Lafayette for a week of training camp.

“Guys aren’t familiar with each other,” Paul said. “I’m excited to see the competitiveness … to see if it’s going to be buddy-buddy or if it’s going to be, ‘Hey, I want your position.’ I’d much rather it be guys coming to get your position, because that shows we’re going to have some warriors and they want to fight.”

Via TrueHoop, Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports from the Timberwolves Media Day:

Timberwolves rookie point guard Jonny Flynn hasn’t played a preseason game yet, let alone a regular season game. But already teammate Al Jefferson is smitten.

“Oh, man, I’m just going to say that kid’s special,” Jefferson said when asked about Flynn at the team’s traditional media day Monday. “I don’t want to hype him up right now, but I’m so happy that I got a chance to play with him. Just playing 5-on-5 with him these past two weeks, that kid’s special. The way he sees the floor. I think he’s got a chance to be just as good as Chris Paul.

“That’s just my opinion. I know that’s saying a lot. But I really believe that.”

WWL has audio from George Shinn yesterday. Interesting stuff. When a reporter asks about Byron’s contract and if Coach has something to prove this season, Shinn responds “Yes sir he’s got something to prove!” Another piece I transcribed from that audio:

We were disappointed in the season this past year. I mean, we made the Playoffs. A lot of people say “How many games did you win? That was great.” No, it wasn’t great. I was disappointed. I wanted to win more, and I wanted to go deep in the playoffs. And so, we decided we’re going to keep everybody accountable…

You look at some of the players that we didn’t keep, that we let go. You know who they are. We can talk about Brandon Bass or Chris Andersen, any of these guys. Look what they’ve done for somebody else that they could have done for us. We just let it flip by and that’s not gonna happen again, it’s that simple. We’re going to work on getting better, and we’re going to hold everybody accountable. That’s the bottom line.

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