Heat rookie Shabazz Napier never had any doubt that he belongs in the NBA, writes Shandel Richardson of the Sun Sentinel. “Even though Chris Paul is a guy I looked up to growing up, I just thought this was a chance for me to have a good opportunity to play against him and try my best,” Napier said after scoring 17 points against Paul in Thursday’s loss to the Clippers. “I’m never in awe of anybody. I don’t let the moment get to me at all.” Napier entered the league with a reputation for confidence after leading Connecticut to the NCAA title last season. Here’s more from the Southeast..
- The Hawks have recalled Adreian Payne from the D-League, according to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (on Twitter). Payne was went down to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, an affiliate that they share with a dozen other teams, late last week. The Michigan State product averaged 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds with 42.3% accuracy from behind the three-point line as a senior.
- Even though they haven’t saved the Hornets from a disappointing start, coach Steve Clifford told Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer that he likes what he sees in the team’s three key offseason signees. Lance Stephenson, Marvin Williams and Brian Roberts joined the Hornets in the offseason in hopes of helping the team improve on last year’s No. 7 playoff seed. Charlotte has stumbled to a 4-9 start, but Clifford said his three newcomers need time to adjust to his system. “I think they’re all getting acclimated,” Clifford said. “All three of them I like. All three do things that can help us play better and win.”
- The Magic’s Tobias Harris could always score, but he has responded to a challenge from the Orlando front office and coaching staff to expand his game, as John Denton of Magic.com details. Harris, a fourth-year player who will become a restricted free agent next summer, is doing his best to make a positive impression on the team. After getting 24 points, five steals, five rebounds and four assists in Monday’s win over the Pistons, he emphasized the victory over his individual accomplishments. “I’ve told all of the guys on the team, ‘You look better individually when we win as a team,’” Harris said. “So it really is all about winning.’’
Arthur Hill contributed to this post.