New Orleans Hornets 2-on-1 fastbreak: Who will start at small forward in next week's regular-season opener? Jimmy Smith, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune 10/24/2012 11:17 AM
The New Orleans Hornets are just one week away from the Oct. 31 regular-season opener against the San Antonio Spurs, and Coach Monty Williams is still unsure about his starting small forward.
This week's fastbreak question: Who starts at that spot, Lance Thomas, Al-Farouq Aminu or someone else?
Hornets beat writers John Reid and Jimmy Smith give you their thoughts.
What are yours?
REID: In my opinion, Al Farouq Aminu has not played well enough after six preseason games to warrant earning the starting small forward position. Lance Thomas' natural position is power forward, but he's going to play hard and not make costly mistakes at small forward. Aminu, however, is still tentative, occasionally misses defensive assignments and inconsistency remains his biggest flaw. Entering his third season in the league, Aminu should be showing signs that warrants his selection as the eighth overall pick in the first round by the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2010 NBA draft. Yet, it still seems Aminu is overwhelmed by the skill level of his opponents, especially veteran players. He doesn't seem to play with an edge to showcase his talent. He mostly appears to be a work in progress. Therefore, Aminu's best role in Coach Monty Williams' rotation is coming off the bench. The Hornets are better off with Thomas starting at small forward.
SMITH: On Monday night in Dallas in the exhibition game against the Mavericks, Monty Williams started Lance Thomas for the first time during the preseason, hoping that he might find an answer to this rotational dilemma. Williams said before the game he though having Aminu come off the bench might better suit his style. And Aminu didn't do badly, scoring 10 points, but he did turn the ball over four times. Thomas, meanwhile, was scoreless during his time on the floor. If it comes down to a two-man race for the starting spot, I'm putting my money on Thomas. He's an aggressive defender who plays under control and right now he could be the Hornets best option as the starter. That's not to say Aminu won't see plenty of action. He has a big upside, but, at 21, is still making confounding mistakes. He needs to be more consistent.
I say start Darius Miller at SF! He's just a all around better player than both Aminu and Lance Thomas, PERIOD!