Darius Miller will start at small forward as New Orleans Pelicans coach Monty Williams shifted his lineup in the wake of shooting guard Eric Gordon being out indefinitely with a shoulder injury.
Tyreke Evans, who has been the team's starting small forward, will move to shooting guard. Gordon's left labrum was torn during Saturday's win at Utah. The Pelicans (7-5) play the Sacramento Kings (8-5) on Tuesday night at Smoothie King Center.
It will be the first start of the season for Miller and 10th of his three-year career.
“I've just tried to continue to work hard the whole time,” he said. “I have an opportunity (Tuesday night), so I have to continue to work and have the mindset to take advantage of it.”
Miller said he didn't receive specific instructions from Coach Monty Williams on how he wants him to play as a starter after coming off the bench all of this season.
“Just compete and play hard,” Miller said. “Be aggressive and just come out and play.”
Miller was considered the front-runner for the starting job after the team decided not to re-signt Al-Farouq Aminu, the starter the past two seasons the position. However, he didn't have a strong training camp, and that has carried over into the regular season. He is averaging 0.5 points and 0.3 rebounds in four games.
“It's been kind of weird, especially here at the beginning, dealing with certain stuff off the court,” Miller said. “I don't feel like my mind was always there at the beginning. But tonight I have a huge opportunity and have to have the right mindset and take advantage of it.
“I feel like I've put in enough work to be prepared for this opportunity, and I just have to come out and play.”
Miller had a similar opportunity near the end of last season in a home game against the Los Angeles Clippers. Playing in a point-forward-type role, he had 16 points and one in 28 minutes, 44 seconds. And, his defense, particularly against Clippers point guard Chris Paul was a key to the victory.