Basketball

Okafor finding himself in more foul trouble

It might be the point guards' fault, but it ends up being Emeka Okafor's foul.

Charlotte Bobcats center Okafor has already been called for several offensive fouls this young season, for setting illegal screens. Twice he was whistled in Wednesday's loss to the Knicks for the same screen, run off the same play.

Okafor said Thursday he isn't doing anything differently and the rules haven't changed. Coach Larry Brown said this is mostly about impatience among Bobcats point guards.

“(It's) because our guards don't wait (before driving) – don't allow them to come and set the screen,'' Brown said. “(Okafor is) coming to screen and before he gets set, the guard has taken off.

“In order for the screen to be allowed, he has to get stopped. If the guard takes off (early), he's in jeopardy.''

If there's any other factor in this, it might be referees consciously or subconsciously setting a standard for contact early each season. Okafor said there's always a feeling-out period in November.

“Either (the players) are going to adjust or the refs will adjust,'' Okafor surmised. “Something's got to even out.''

May near activation?

Brown said Sean May is “a lot closer'' to being on the 12-man active roster, based on the way he practiced Thursday. Whether that happens tonight against the New Orleans Hornets or later in this six-game home stand is still up in the air.

May started the season-opener in Cleveland, but hasn't been activated due to conditioning issues.

Praise for Paul

Brown says Hornets point guard (and former Wake Forest star) Chris Paul just might be the best young player in the league. Brown went so far as to make comparisons to Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan.

“I always talk about Kobe as not only a great offensive player, but a great defender. He makes all the players around him better. Paul is the same way,'' Brown said. “He defends his position, he rebounds, for a point guard, at an amazing clip, he controls the game and gets everybody involved while still letting everybody do what they do best.

“And you can tell he's an unbelievable competitor – he reminds me a little bit of Michael (in the way) he does not want to lose. He puts it upon himself, however, to win the game –whether it's shooting the ball, passing the ball, diving for a loose ball.''

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