Adam Morrison starting season on Bobcats' bench

Updated: October 31, 2006, 6:55 PM ET
Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Adam Morrison will start his NBA career on the bench.

Charlotte Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said Tuesday that veteran Brevin Knight will start at shooting guard ahead of Morrison, the No. 3 pick in the draft, in Wednesday's season opener against Indiana.

Morrison started four of the Bobcats' eight preseason games, averaging 11.6 points and 36-percent shooting. Bickerstaff said coming off the bench will help his transition to the NBA.

"He's done well, but he's still a rookie," Bickerstaff said. "This is a different level, but I think Adam will be just fine. He's a good basketball player, but he has to navigate his way through being an NBA player."

Morrison, who led the nation in scoring (28.1) last season at Gonzaga, said he never expected to be in the starting lineup on opening night.

"The only reason I started those preseason games was Brevin was hurt," Morrison said. "It's always been his job. I knew I wouldn't start the whole preseason. It's not a big deal. I came off the bench my freshman year in college. I have to earn it before anybody says I should start."

Knight, at 5-foot-10, is a natural point guard, but he was paired with Raymond Felton several times last season. It gave Charlotte a small, quick backcourt with two guards capable of bringing the ball up the floor.

"It was successful last year," Bickerstaff said. "I think we needed both on the floor. The things that Brevin can do on the floor in terms of his leadership, and he can also take some pressure off of Raymond. I also think it's better if we have size on the front line."

Emeka Okafor, who missed 56 games last season with an ankle injury, will start at forward along with Gerald Wallace.

Center Primoz Brezec missed practice Tuesday and could sit out the opener against his former team. Brezec has been slowed by an illness and fatigue for much of the preseason after spending the summer playing for the Slovenian national team.

Bickerstaff wouldn't say who would replace Brezec in the starting lineup, but second-year player Sean May is a possibility.

The Bobcats, who cut Kevin Burleson on Monday to get to the regular-season limit of 15 players, will start the season with only two true point guards in Felton and Knight. Bickerstaff said swingman Bernard Robinson could occasionally fill in at the point.

"The difficulty in terms of the cut is Burleson embodied what we were about as a basketball team," Bickerstaff said. "Just a classy young man. That's the difficult part of this job."

Bickerstaff feels the Bobcats have the most depth they've ever had as they begin their third season.

"We're comfortable. We just have to get after it," Bickerstaff said. "You never know what the first game is going to be about. I sure hope they aren't too high, too excited."


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press