NEW ORLEANS Hornets guard Eric Gordon is questionable for tonight's game against Sacramento.
And should he not play due to a tight lower back, it wouldn't be the first time the Hornets played without him. He missed 51 games with a knee injury and sat out Monday night's loss to the Lakers because of the back.
What he'll do, however, is hand coach Monty Williams a reason to play young players.
Not that Williams is against that.
'I find joy in seeing guys develop,' Williams said. 'I really do. I think it's part of the game that has been skipped. These guys are not learning how to play basketball in high school or even in college. I know because I'm dealing with them when they get here.'
Williams said he expects to play younger players more minutes down the stretch, including Al-Farouq Aminu, a promising forward who still hasn't begun to hit his stride in the NBA.
'Can he just be solid?' Williams said. 'We like to see him knock down shots and make plays on offense. But can he guard (small forwards)? Can he guard high-caliber athletes and be able to switch onto a point guard and guard the point guard and still rebound?'
Williams added, 'He doesn't have that mindset to go in and just go in and just hammer on somebody all the time. I'd like to see him finish better at the basket. I may try to call some more plays to see if he can handle that as well.'
Combo forward-center Gustavo Ayon also can expect to see more time in spite of Carl Landry's return. Landry has taken some of Ayon's minutes since returning from injury.
But Williams wants to see Ayon get back to the level he was playing at prior to the All-Star break and in the games after.