David West: "The more we win, the more support we will have"
Since we are going to talk about the Hornets, I have to ask you at least one question related to health...
David West: Yes. I feel good. Overall, we are a lot healthier this year than we were last year. We don’t have three or four guys out at one time. During a long NBA season, you know that some guys are going to be injured, but as long as it is not a large portion of the team, we will be all right.
How are you feeling? You missed a lot of games last season. Are you back 100 percent?
DW: I’m done with it. It is in the past as I am healed 100 percent.
How would you define Hornets’ ambitions this year? To make playoffs? Second round, maybe?
DW: For this year, we want to play in the postseason. We are a young team and only some, but not many of our guys played in the playoffs before. Our main goal coming into this year was to get to the playoffs. But at the same time, we want to get as many wins as possible in the regular season and grab the highest playoff seed that we can.
With that said, how do you feel about the beginning of the season and the current record?
DW: You know, it’s OK. We feel like, we could be better. We feel like we just gave away a few of the games. But we have to keep playing and hopefully put together some nice wins.
One of the more experienced guys on your team is certainly Peja Stojakovic. What does his presence mean to the team?
DW: Peja is another threat. He is a good guy. He is a little banged up right now, but when he is on the floor, it makes us just that more difficult to defend because of his ability to make shots. Teams have to respect his shooting ability and that spreads the floor.
Does he make you a better passer? We have seen a few great passes from you to him this season, both out to the three-point line, and a few times, on the backdoor cuts.
DW: Again, he is just another threat. When he is out there, he is another guy for us to feed off of.
As opposed to the last year, starting for the Hornets now is Morris Peterson at shooting guard. How do you feel about his addition to the team?
DW: He fits in. He is a good guy. When he is out there on the floor, he is a great threat from beyond the arc. When he is at his best, it makes us really tough to defend.
Here in the locker room, you guys seem like a group that gets along. What is your take on the team’s chemistry?
DW: I feel that it is good. The best thing about it is that we have a bunch of good guys; a bunch of good character guys who want to do the right thing and live the right way. This translates into a good atmosphere in the locker room and on the court, where we want to play for one another and win for one another.
What about the coaching? I heard that you guys have some very tough practices.
DW: Oh, yeah. But that is good. Coach makes sure that we continue to work hard and that is why we are able to come out and give solid efforts every night.
The All-Star Game is coming to New Orleans this year. You are on the All-Star ballot. How important would it be, for you, to find yourself at an event like that?
DW: I am not really too worried about the individual stuff. I will be a lot more satisfied if we have a winning record, and if we are close to wrapping up on our playoff spot. Once the All-Star game comes around, that is (the playoffs) where our minds will be focused, more than anything.
The team this year moved back from Oklahoma City to New Orleans. How does the team feel about that?
DW: Well, we just have to deal with the situation that is in front of us. We understand that it is a difficult situation down in New Orleans because of the things that have happened in recent past. We just have to make the best out of it. We are down there, we have to try to keep winning, and the more we win, the more support we will have.
A lot of support comes from the league as well…
DW: Yeah, every team that comes to New Orleans does something with us in order to help the community. That is always a good thing.
Senad Mustafic is a Phoenix correspondent of Sportska Centrala, a sports news agency from Serbia
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