NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Hornets’ small forward carousel went around and around again, this time landing on Al-Farouq Aminu — which is where it all began when the regular season opened.
It likely will go around again.
On Friday, the Hornets announced they waived forward Dominic McGuire, who had signed Dec. 16. McGuire had been averaging enviable playing time — approximately 16 minutes per game off the bench, including 15:39 in Wednesday’s loss at Houston.
Aminu started the first 17 games of the season before not playing at all against Memphis on Dec. 7.
Lance Thomas, who has started at small forward since then, again started Wednesday but played just 10 minutes. Aminu played 30:50.
Asked whether Aminu could be expected to play those type of minutes in the foreseeable future, coach Monty Williams said, “That’s on him. When he plays with energy and defends and runs the floor like that, that’s how he earns minutes. I always tell him it does us no good to have him on the bench, but there’s a certain way he has to play. And I thought he responded.
“I don’t have a doghouse. When I sit a guy, it’s for a really good reason. I’m trying to get him to understand that what he is doing at the present time isn’t helping our team.”
Darius Miller, the team’s second-round pick in last summer’s draft, also had a crack at the position, but he was sent to the Development League on New Year’s Eve.
Point guard Greivis Vasquez was named Western Conference Player of the Week for Dec. 24-30, the first time in his career he has been so honored and the first Hornets player to be chosen this season.
“It feels good because people are recognizing your work,” he said. “At the same time, that’s not the most important thing for me. I’d rather trade that award for three wins in a row.”
He averaged 14.0 points and 10.0 assists in three games that week — victories at Orlando and Charlotte sandwiched around a loss to Toronto. He followed that up with 17 points, 10 assists, nine rebounds and just two turnovers in a loss to Atlanta on Tuesday, then had 15 points, 14 assists and just two turnovers in Wednesday’s defeat at Houston. He’s averaging 9.0 assists to rank third in the NBA.
But Vasquez said he feels he has “so much room to get better, defensively and offensively. I feel I have not reached my peak.”
Williams said Vasquez needs to defend the pick-and-roll better. Offensively, it’s the obvious: cut down on turnovers.
“I’d rather see him take more calculated risks,” Williams said, “than try to make those Superman plays.”
Forward Ryan Anderson is on pace for a shot at the NBA record for 3-pointers made in a season.
Ray Allen set the mark during the 2005-06 season with Seattle when he made 269 while shooting 41.5 percent. After 32 games, he had 104 3-pointers on 37.4 percent shooting; through 32 games, Anderson has 102 3-pointers on 40.3 percent shooting.
The franchise mark is certainly in sight: Peja Stojakovic set the Hornets record during the 2007-08 season, making 231 on 44.1 percent shooting. After 32 games, he had made 82.
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