When: 8 a.m. EST, Wednesday, October 14th
Where: Shanghai, China
TV: NBA TV
There will be two changes to the Hornets lineup, with Jeremy Lin and Cody Zeller starting for the first time this preseason. Their inclusion into the lineup is well deserved following their performances in Shenzen, with both players scoring 16 points a piece, leading the way with the second unit. However, this isn't just about rewarding one good game. Zeller is in competition with Marvin Williams for the starting power forward spot. Williams has started the first three games of preseason, and now Zeller gets his opportunity. Steve Clifford wants his starting four man to hit 3-pointers. While Williams is very comfortable shooting from beyond the arc, Zeller is still growing into the roll, but is 3-3 this preseason.
For Lin, Wednesday's start is a chance for him to make the case as the starting two guard. With Michael Kidd-Gilchrist out, Nicolas Batum has shifted back to the small forward position, leaving an opening at shooting guard. Jeremy Lamb started in Shenzen, and played well offensively, scoring 12 points on 4-8 shooting. While Lamb brings more height and length to the shooting guard position, Lin's play making ability alongside Kemba Walker is worth keeping an eye on. Lin has already shown an ability to play well next to Brian Roberts (dubbed "Kemba Light"), so it will be intriguing to watch Lin play extended minutes with Walker.
In a column published today, Rick Bonnell wrote about Jefferson's role in a faster paced offense. While Clifford stated Jefferson will remain the focal point of the offense, he won't be post up as much, and will get opportunities as a role man. The 20 pounds Jefferson lost this offseason is allowing Jefferson to move up and down the floor faster, and Walker believes its already making a difference:
"He’s been really helping us the way he’s been getting up and down the floor. He’s been getting straight into (the offense), so we don’t have to run so many plays for him," Walker said. "I see a huge difference: He’s moving really well, he’s not as sore after practice. He’s in great shape and that’s going to help him as well as us."
Jefferson hasn't shot particularly well in preseason, but he's still received plenty of touches. More importantly however, the Hornets are scoring (and winning) despite his low preseason scoring numbers.
- Bonnell tweeted Tuesday that Chris Paul might play in Shanghai, despite the finger injury he suffered during a practice in China.