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May 29, 2013

New Bobcats coach Clifford: I'm inexperienced, but I have a vision

Steve Clifford doesn't have much in the way of a head coaching resume, but he does have a vision.

Molded from 13 years as an assistant coach under five different NBA head coaches, the latest coach of the Charlotte Bobcats said he plans to have a team that's balanced on both ends of the court.

"There are a lot of ways to go as a coach. I have developed definitive thoughts over the years. I think any good coach has a clear and definitive vision… I have that," Clifford said at his introductory press conference Wednesday afternoon. "I have seen what the right amount of work with the right amount of communication can do for a group of players. That’s the coach’s job to set a path and vision."

Clifford, who was most recently an assistant with the Lakers, said he didn't want to be pigeon-holed as a defensive-minded coach, but he extolled the importance of defense in today's NBA.

He cited that, of the eight teams that made this year's playoffs, teams ranked No. 1 through 6 made the postseason. The Bobcats ranked next-to-last in the league in opponents points per game with 102.7 in the 2012-13 season.

"If you look at facts, balance wins," Clifford said. "I know everybody said because of my background, everything is defense. And that’s not always true. The balanced teams are still playing. That’s the challenge for any team. It speaks to utilizing personnel and putting the right lineup out there."

Rod Higgins, president of Bobcats basketball operations, declined to say how many candidates were interviewed for the job. Clifford, the third Bobcats coach in as many years, signed a three-year deal with an option for the third year. 

--Jonathan Jones

Posted by Observer Sports on May 29, 2013 at 02:54 PM | Permalink

Comments

Finally, a real coach. Welcome to Charlotte Coach Clifford! With our cap space, early draft picks, and current roster it looks like you're coming on board at exactly the right time. Good times coming!

Check out my name, y'all! I told you 15 games into last season Dunlap was trouble!

Posted by: St. John's assistant coach? Seriously? Damn right! | May 29, 2013 3:28:20 PM

This guy recieved good reviews from a number of current players, so I'm ok with the hire, but don't worry Cliffy, you and the rest of the front office are inexperienced and not sure of what they are doing. You're in company with the best of them!

Posted by: Smitty | May 29, 2013 3:30:49 PM

Rick,

I'd love it, if you could write an in-depth article about Rod Higgins. I've been a Cats fan and ticket holder for several years now and know nothing about him other than he's Jordan's buddy and his son kept making our roster. Where did he come from? What are his qualifications? Who reviews his job performance? I'm biased, but I feel like this guy keeps getting a pass for the bobcats performance.

Posted by: Nick | May 29, 2013 3:34:52 PM

Rick is too scared to write about Rod Higgins. He is essentially a bobcat ponzi piece

Posted by: Jiggy Man | May 29, 2013 3:47:00 PM

Welcome Coach!! He has great endorsements from respected coaches & players...good hire Cho & company

Posted by: Bobcats/Hornets | May 29, 2013 3:51:31 PM

I have read on some other sports sites that the Bobcats may have interest in DeMarcus Cousins. How about some articles on that Observer writers???

The dude is nuts, but he has crazy potential to throw in with our young up and comers....it would make going to games here more fun for sure to have Cousins in the Hive.

Posted by: big gulps | May 29, 2013 4:16:51 PM

At least they made a quick hire. I wish him best of luck, but say 50/50 he is here past 2 years. That all depends on how we draft.

Posted by: Jason Witt | May 29, 2013 4:28:34 PM

Humpft!!!! Talk is cheap, show us what you're made of coach!!!

Posted by: Big Daddy | May 29, 2013 4:35:54 PM

"He cited that, of the eight teams that made this year's playoffs, teams ranked No. 1 through 6 made the postseason. The Bobcats ranked next-to-last in the league in opponents points per game with 102.7 in the 2012-13 season."

that could not have been worded worse. editing is a lost art. proof reading. reading. thinking. all things of the past.

Posted by: charlottean | May 29, 2013 4:54:26 PM

Rick, he said teams ranked defensively 1-6 made the postseason. Can you think before you write something? You're a joke.

Posted by: BBallGuy15 | May 29, 2013 5:21:03 PM

Professional Athletics: Get over yourself!
Try this on your next interview:

"I'm inexperienced, but have a vision"

Posted by: Dennis B | May 29, 2013 5:49:02 PM

Vision and delusion are not the same.

Posted by: Scott Bryan | May 29, 2013 6:01:39 PM

I still think Dunlap should have got 1 more year but i'm confident that if given time, Clifford will turn the team around. First things first..draft a true CENTER ! We've neglected this spot for years. Time to get it done. ALEX LEN. This will make up for not taking Brook Lopez in 08. GET IT DONE !

Posted by: bb1130 | May 29, 2013 6:05:03 PM

I like this coach and predict he will be here for a good long time. I like Alex Len also.

Posted by: Hugo Panther | May 29, 2013 6:35:32 PM

Let me see if I have this straight... Dunlap got fired because he had no head coaching experience and winning 14 more games from previous year means nothing when you have no experience. So to replace him, the Bobcats hire... a guy with no head coaching experience.

Is it any wonder why this team is the butt of every joke in the NBA? I am losing faith we are ever going to be any good. And changing to Hornets with teal & purple uniforms isn't going to make this incompetence go away.

Posted by: J | May 29, 2013 7:22:59 PM

"I'd love it, if you could write an in-depth article about Rod Higgins. I've been a Cats fan and ticket holder for several years now and know nothing about him other than he's Jordan's buddy and his son kept making our roster. Where did he come from? What are his qualifications? Who reviews his job performance? I'm biased, but I feel like this guy keeps getting a pass for the bobcats performance.

Posted by: Nick | May 29, 2013 3:34:52 PM"

Nick, you already know what you need to know. Higgins was a player (mainly with Golden State) at the same time MJ played. They are best buddies, which is the #1 qualification to work in this team's front office. Higgins doesn't have the stones to make tough decisions, such as cutting his son when it was obvious to every other human being on Earth that he had no business being on an NBA roster. But he's MJ's buddy, so he's not going anywhere, unless MJ pulls a Jerry Richardson and suddenly gets an epiphany that his #1 personnel guy is grossly under-qualified and in over his head (Marty Hurney). I'm not holding my breaht.

Posted by: J | May 29, 2013 7:27:37 PM

"He cited that, of the eight teams that made this year's playoffs, teams ranked No. 1 through 6 made the postseason. The Bobcats ranked next-to-last in the league in opponents points per game with 102.7 in the 2012-13 season."

How about a new beat writer to go along with the new coach and new name for the team?

Posted by: downtown sports | May 29, 2013 8:06:37 PM

Good Luck to Coach Clifford. The first season will be tough, but better times are ahead once the team becomes the Hornets.

OH, and GO RED WINGS!

Posted by: Bob has gotten Horny | May 29, 2013 8:27:45 PM

I would like more Hornets/Bobcats rumors on here, give Rick a break ya'll. He writes a great column. Get tired of the abuse random idiots who probably didn't go to college give him. Take your $20 a month and go to espn.com, and spend to hear their perspective.

Posted by: JC | May 29, 2013 9:00:33 PM

Random trade rumor,,,bynum might come to the Bobcats/Hornets.

Posted by: JC | May 29, 2013 9:03:12 PM

Cats have very little talent that said....
But I like this guy already!

Posted by: Hotspur54 | May 29, 2013 9:22:14 PM

Good points about Higgins fellas.

The Charlotte media, and moreso Rick than anyone else, are in MJ's back pocket...just doing his bidding.

Guys like Bonnell are afraid to ask the tough questions, and keep asking, and keep asking, until they get some answers.

Why the heck can't Higgins say how many coaches were interviewed? Heck, if Rick would do his job he'd already know this number without having to ask Higgins.

Hey, maybe Rick actually already does know but is afraid to print it for fear of repercussions from BOBcat management? Oooooohh :0)

I Cho is in charge why does Higgins do all the talking?

The NY Rangers fired their head coach today. If you think Dunlap was a little prickly you should have hear the NY media gets after John Totorella (coach) and Glen Sather...those two might not necessarily answer every question but at least the questions get asked, and asked again, and asked again...and eventually they get the answer, one way or another.

Grow a pair Rick.

Posted by: NASTAR99 | May 29, 2013 9:42:19 PM

Why does Rick need to ask any tough questions? It is clear Higgins is a horrible executive. Look at his record. Maybe he has more kids he can add to this years roster. That would be an intelligent move. If his record and signing guys like Thomas to bad deals won't get him fired, nothing will. Has to be the worst front office guy in the league.

Posted by: Former Season ticket holder | May 30, 2013 12:17:41 AM

You say "look at his record"...

...what exactly are you referencing. Can you give like 10 specific examples?

Posted by: NASTAR99 | May 30, 2013 12:37:09 AM

^^^^defending Rod Higgins. Wow. Bye bye credibility...

Posted by: Former Season ticket holder | May 30, 2013 1:08:59 AM

After losing 4 straight in the playoffs, Jordan decided that he had to get rid of his best players and lose games to get better draft choices. When the plan is to trade away your best players to get additional draft picks and to lose so you get higher draft choices, how can you complain that Jordan doesn't know what he is doing when the team loses. The only way to judge Jordan and his staff is whether the team wins or loses after the plan is complete. The Bobcats have a high draft choice this year and possibly 3 more next year. The plan isn't complete until all of those high draft picks have a couple of years experience. So while losing is painful, watching your team make the playoffs with no chance of winning is not much better.

Posted by: Mike | May 30, 2013 7:43:56 AM

yea i gotta say, nobody needs to ask rod higgins anything other than "what do you have on MJ?" there is nothing else I need to know coming from that dude's mouth.

unless I'm feeling humorous and want to hear him break down the "money saving" dampier trade again. i might START laughing......but I will always end up crying.

i think cho prefers hiding behind higgins until higgins gets canned. i'm sure it makes his job a lot easier to not deal with the media.

Posted by: charlottean | May 30, 2013 10:18:33 AM

I agree we should draft Alex Len...he will be a more defensive minded Brook Lopez. By the way, I'll take that over Bynum or Cousins...they are both way too risky and will be extremely expensive.

Posted by: RobC | May 30, 2013 10:36:09 AM

bynum would be worth the risk, cousins wouldn't. you're talking contender or......exactly who we already are. you don't get worse by making the move like philly did. we wouldn't be giving anything up except cap room which we have plenty of that we can't use for the next 2 years anyways since nobody else would come here. bynum isn't quite greg oden. he's teetering on that ground but he's done way too much to be bailed on because he missed 1 season.

i do not for the life of me know why we would want a brook lopez on our team. he scores VERY effectively but he is not tim duncan. he is not shaq. he is not even roy hibbert. could you imagine shaq or timmy having a team as mediocre as brooklyn while having as much help on the perimeter AND reggie evans/blatch/humphries? i mean they've stacked the deck for lopez and he's just not a dominating guy. he's rik smits at best. i do not get the infatuation with the guy. he scores A LOT and very well. but he's not an elite player. he's the monta ellis of big men.

Posted by: charlottean | May 30, 2013 10:52:15 AM

I'm not defending Rod Higgins, I think he's a bum. I'm just interested in the 10 top things you'd ascribe to Higgins and how they are different from the things Air Minimum has done.

Can you provide a list?

Posted by: NASTAR99 | May 30, 2013 10:21:33 PM

higgins wore/wears the title, he gets blames for the moves. jordan gets blamed for hiring him. just like jordan doesn't set the beer prices or the security procedures, but he hired the guys that do and thus gets blamed for it all.

no doubt jordan meddles in decision making on the basketball side and it has been a negative impact. but i also have no confidence that dude is ACTIVELY sitting there debating moves with rod for the past 6 years. dude was playing golf, doing commercials, out clubbin', gambling in every casino from vegas to monte carlo, making appearances at various events, banging beauty pageant winners, etc. etc. etc.

it's different when rod higgins is sitting in an office taking calls from other gms and says "sure donnie nelson......i'll give you tyson chandler and alexis ajinca for carroll, najera, and dampier. sounds like a great deal for both of us. win win. love you donnie."

no effing way. rod probably calls jordan and says "hey dad, can I take your car out for a date tonight" and jordan is so busy he's like "yeah whatever" then he comes back and the car is wrapped around a tree (again).

so yeah. higgins gets the blame. jordan gets the blame. since cho has been hired we have made a total of 0 trades in which we took back more money and gave up an all-star in a "cost saving move" that saved no money. so cho can be proud of that. or by your logic, jordan can.

Posted by: charlottean | May 31, 2013 1:18:14 PM

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