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Report: Clifford opts for Hairston to start at SF

The Charlotte Hornets lost Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at the start of the preseason and head coach Steve Clifford used the rest of the games and practices to figure out the rotation at the small forward position. With Charlotte set to tip off the regular season on Wednesday, Clifford will start P.J. Hairston at small forward. From Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer:

    Clifford tried Hairston, Jeremy Lamb, Jeremy Lin and Marvin Williams in various starting combinations. 'I think P.J. will end up at (small forward), then we’ll just have to figure it out from there,' Clifford said following practice Monday. 'I want to be able to play four out (four perimeter shooters surrounding center Jefferson in the post) as much as we can. I would say P.J. with the first group gives us space shooting and a defender who can guard primary scorers.' Clifford said a factor in this decision is how certain playing groups fit together. He’s excited how quickly the second unit, with mostly new players, has blended in the preseason."

Clifford is still trying to determine who will start at power forward between Cody Zeller and Williams, according to Bonnell. The starting unit will likely look like this to begin the season: Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum, Hairston, Zeller and Al Jefferson.