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May 29, 2013

New Bobcats coach Steve Clifford sure sounds optimistic about the roster

            New Charlotte Bobcats coach Steve Clifford is higher on this roster than most NBA executives would be, higher than I am.

            After Wednesday’s news conference introducing him to local media, Clifford spent about an hour with four Observer writers and editors. Here’s some of what he said beyond what I used in my story for Thursday’s newspaper:

            “The thing that I saw that stands out is there are natural competitors here,’’ Clifford said. “Kemba (Walker), MKG (Michael Kidd-Gilchrist), Bismack (Biyombo), And I’ve always been a Gerald Henderson fan. He has an edge to him.

    “You have younger guys – Gerald is the oldest at 23. They’re at the age where they can still make a big jump. But the attitude is already there. You can’t make somebody competitive. You see it all the time in this league. You don’t have to have 15 killers but (some) make a big difference. We can have a great culture.’’

            The Bobcats drafted the youngest players in the 2011 and 2012 drafts, in Biyombo and Kidd-Gilchrist. I asked Clifford about that being a mixed blessing for a coach.

    “They’re 19 and 20, I believe. It still starts with talented and they’re both talented in their own ways,’’ Clifford said. “That’s what makes player-development so critical.

    “Over the summer, it isn’t just the young guys, it’s not just (rookie) Jeff Taylor. It’s Ben Gordon and Brendan Haywood. Can they turn back the clock? Can Ben be who he was in Chicago? Can Brendan protect the rim the way he once did? You can’t just connect with the young guys.

    “It’s got to be everybody. The older players play their part, whether it be teaching the younger players or doing their parts when they’re in there.’’

Posted by Observer Sports on May 29, 2013 at 07:47 PM | Permalink


It's the BOBcat Way....

"If You Can't Dazzle Them With Brilliance -- Baffle Them With BS!!"

You should know better than anyone, Rick.

Having said that, if these players don't respond to Clifford we are going to have to ship them all out and start over, AGAIN.

I hope Clifford works them harder than Dunlap ever dreamed of...they got it coming to them buncha whining prima donnas.

Posted by: NASTAR99 | May 30, 2013 12:34:45 AM

Although Kemba is a heck of a ball player, as a defensive minded coach, how is Clifford going to handle such an undersized point guard?

The field seems to be split 50/50 on Biz.

We knew when we drafted Biz that he was a very raw prospect. Look, you don't go from 'very raw' to Olajuwon in two seasons. The fact is that Biz has a very high ceiling that he is probably going to shatter. I still have a lot of faith in this kid.

--We do need a point guard that will have the size to play defense--

Posted by: downtown sports | May 30, 2013 1:09:57 AM

Why wouldn't he be optimistic about the roster? They DO have talent, contrary to believe, they just have not had the right coach to get the best out of them.

Clifford says a lot of things that make sense and seems simple, but are huge steps in player development and team development. He really does seem like he has a plan. I believe he can maximize the potential in this roster.

Posted by: D.W.G. | May 30, 2013 8:50:42 AM

I've been reading mock drafts. The "experts" have us selecting McLemore. These "experts" don't have a clue just like many on this board that bash Hendo. Anyone that follows this team would probably agree that we should re sign Henderson and draft a frontcourt player. I'm glad coach likes Henderson because it would be a tragedy to let him walk.

Posted by: nucat | May 30, 2013 9:17:26 AM

Walker was #5 in the league in steals per game and they still have a legitimate PG in Sessions who is on the roster. We'll be ok at PG. The Bobcats need low post scoring which has never been there.

Posted by: CatsFan | May 30, 2013 9:19:01 AM

100% agree we have to look for post presence in the draft- I was just looking at Clifford's 2-3 year window of where he can take our team.

SI has us taking Len at number 4. Don't really see that one happening, though.

Posted by: downtown sports | May 30, 2013 9:26:09 AM

I prefer zeller and even bennett over len at 4. Word is pretty strong that cleveland and orlando both could trade down. It would be worth it in my opinion to try and move up from 4.

I'm not a BIG mclemore fan after what he did in the tourney, but I was before that. I hate guys that disappear in big moments but at the same time, small sample size. I am big on henderson and think it's a no brainer to resign (assuming the number is around 6 a year). I think you could definitely do worse than drafting mclemore and having he, henderson and mkg in a 3 man rotation at the 2-3 spots. taylor picking up the scrap minutes.

definitely not as ideal as getting noel (or even zeller) and having a solidified young starting 5 going into a draft next year where you are either upgrading your starting 5 or getting upper echelon backups into your rotation. if we don't miss on any of these picks, we will have a very formidable and young roster come '14-15.

and I still think we need to get seth curry however necessary (buying a late 2nd rounder, signing him if he goes undrafted). at worst he's steve kerr.

and biyombo will be fine. critical year for him, but I expect he'll make that leap with proper coaching this offseason. especially if ewing is involved.

Posted by: charlottean | May 30, 2013 10:13:43 AM

I for one would be ecstatic w/ Len but I would like to trade back and still get him. Len is a baller! He gave both Noel and Plumlee the business when they faced off. He played on a team where the guards had no idea how to use him so don't let the less than stellar stats fool you.

Posted by: Nat Turner | May 30, 2013 10:22:56 AM

I would be thrilled to get Noel.

Don't know about that ACL, though.

Posted by: downtown sports | May 30, 2013 10:48:17 AM

LOL, you DOOKies are funny!

Posted by: Me | May 30, 2013 10:53:51 AM

len did give noel the business, but they lost and that was noel's first game vs. len being a sophomore.

I would be way more on board with trading back and getting len. don't like him at 4 but 8, 9, 10? sure. still like noel and zeller more though. there's no question the 3 are nba bigs. it's a question of who has the bigger chance of being great. we don't need solid pieces, we have those. we need a star. I would rather strike out swinging for the fence. There just isn't the precedent for a guy with len's resume being successful in the pros.

plumlee is trash. I'd rather have ryan kelly.

Posted by: charlottean | May 30, 2013 10:58:38 AM

I like Len, Zeller is good but didnt he disappear in the Tourney as well. I like Len because he brings both defense and offense. His pressence would take away from Biz unless he can be coached into a 4. I agree on not taking Plumlee. Len embarressed him too.

Posted by: David | May 30, 2013 1:33:49 PM

Trading up for Noel would be a waste of good picks, I think. He's definitely a better prospect than Biyombo, but not that much better, and has all the same holes in his game (absent offense, inconsistent positioning, needs to bulk up), plus it's going to be a year before he can go 100%.

We don't need an interior enforcer -- Biyombo is well on his way to becoming that. We need consistent interior offense, of which we have basically none beyond MKG at the 3. Len and Olynyk fill that bill much better, so if we trade, I hope we trade back and get an extra pick somewhere.

Posted by: MTBinDurham | May 30, 2013 3:33:40 PM

If McLemore is available we should get him. Otherwise, either Bennett or Oladipo. Bennett could fix some of our frontcourt problems as a stretch 4. He must work on his defense and post game. I don't think we need to get Len or Zeller as Biz will continue to improve. Also, I don't mind McLemore or Oladipo being SGs because Ben will be gone soon and Henderson and Oladipo are SG/SF so they can play together. I love Oladipo's defense and motor, and his offensive game will take care of itself as he has Biz-esque work ethic. I actually think being fourth in the draft could work to our advantage.

Posted by: sam | May 30, 2013 3:47:44 PM

I don't see how len's offense is that much better than noel's. I also don't see how either is remotely close to zeller offensively OR defensively for that matter.

You're looking at noel who is a year younger. Yes there's similarities in his game and biz's but that has NEVER been a problem to have. sanders and mbah a moute played very well together this year for milwaukee and a biz/noel duo has more potential offensively AND defensively.

i think the fact that noel would be sitting next year is actually a good thing. 1 - gives biz more time to establish himself before bringing in a front court PnC. 2 - has to lower some wins a bit (last year I want to be saying that as a positive). 3 - should take the pressure off of him as a rookie and allow him to work on little things (mental game, free throws) that matter A LOT in the long run.

I'm really hating on alex len and I'm not sure why, I just don't think he's THAT good. He's definitely better than a plumlee or adams. Number 10 overall? sure. 4? no effing way.

as much as i'm hearing how maryland's poor guard play hurt len statistically....nobody is mentioning how much cody zeller helped oladipo out. a lot easier to shoot 3's when they are wide open.

now it's out there that thomas robinson is again available. I would love to have robinson next to biz and then go get an oladipo or mclemore. I'd even feel a lot better about len if we have robinson also. if that's not a false rumor.....we NEED to make that happen. dude's career is being sabotaged by circumstance.

Posted by: charlottean | May 30, 2013 6:49:12 PM

It would be nice to add last year's number 5 pick into the fold; but Robinson is on camera saying that he didn't run the floor for Coach Smart in SAC because he was pouting over playing time. Warning sign when a team trades the number 5 pick in his winning season. LOL

Like it from a talent standpoint, but you gotta question the guy's heart before you pull the trigger on that one.

Posted by: downtown sports | May 31, 2013 1:47:33 AM

Correction -- Warning sign when a team trades the number 5 pick in his ROOKIE season.

Posted by: downtown sports | May 31, 2013 1:49:34 AM

Sacramento was a bad fit for Thomas Robinson, and that was known from the very beginning.
He showed plenty of competitive spirit at Kansas, and he has very high potential; all he needs is to be given the chance to succeed in NBA (which begins with playing time).

IF we can trade for him, that would be GREAT; not good, but GREAT.

Posted by: Sandy | May 31, 2013 10:44:26 AM

walker/henderson/mkg/robinson/biyombo lineup plus the #4 pick (oladipo/mclemore would be my pick if we already had robinson).

that would be insane. absolutely insane. it would actually increase mullens potential value as a pick and pop guy off the bench in smaller doses.

and i don't question anything he did at sacramento. it's the same kind of bad fit draft pick that hurt morrison here and chauncey billups in boston. darko in detroit. o.j. mayo in memphis.

circumstance has a major impact on development results. players are not isolated variables from the environment you place them in.

question is......how much do you give up to get robinson? I would gladly give up the portland pick and maybe a 2nd rounder. or the option to flip flop 2nds next year.

Posted by: charlottean | May 31, 2013 1:08:54 PM

Buttfumble wouldn't even be in the rotation for the Pacers or the Heat or the Spurs or....

Team will never make the playoffs if he is playing anything more than spot minutes.

Did the BOBcats talk to The Birdman? I thought Cho was supposed mine underpriced talent?

Posted by: NASTAR99 | May 31, 2013 3:55:42 PM

Birdman is a solid reserve, but what we need is a quality starting PF.

There's more than one way to do this. I also think that the best bet for the Bobcats in this draft would be to take a PF, Cody Zeller (who played center in college, but has what it takes to become a very good PF in NBA) or Anthony Bennett.

The other way would be to jump on the opportunity to trade for Thomas Robinson. What he offers over Cody is extra toughness and rebounding, and over Bennett, size and also superior rebounding. So, it's worth trying to get him.

Now, I don't know if what we can offer will be enough. For 2014, the Portland pick is top 12 protected and the Pistons' pick is top 8 protected - not that great. This also depends on what other teams may be able to propose to the Rockets. And, it's even more complicated, since we already owe a 2014 1st round pick to Chicago (top 10 protected).

Posted by: Sandy | May 31, 2013 4:47:17 PM

yea but that's OUR pick and there's no way we're picking 11th next year.

the top 12 protected portland pick is not bad value for robinson who was drafted 5th and will be headed to his 3rd team in a year. we could sweeten it with a 2nd rounder and the rights to cory higgins.

I think we need to sell morey on how a trade anywhere else is going to ruin this kids career.

Posted by: charlottean | May 31, 2013 5:27:31 PM

You got this right, Cory Higgins will tilt the balance in our favor!

I wish this would work, I'd certainly agree for the better pick (from Detroit) to be used in such a trade, but you know, as eager as the Rockets are to dump T.Rob's salary (and, they have now 5 young PFs on their roster!!), it still depends on what offers they may get from other teams.

Posted by: Sandy | May 31, 2013 9:00:52 PM

I don't see why they need to clear more space. what is howards contract hold? 22 million? the cap is going to be at least 60 million. they're at 38 right now. I guess either they're keeping delfino for sure or there is some sort of higher cap hit for asik and lin based on the 14 million they make the following year.

so if they HAVE to move robinson to get howard, they have to send him to a team under the cap. new orleans has davis. atlanta has horford and is probably going after howard or bynum. cleveland has thompson and likely to have noel. sacramento JUST gave him away. There may be new ownership involved, but I find it highly unlikely that everybody involved is okay with him going back to sacramento. dallas has dirk and is trying to win now. detroit has monroe/drummond. milwaukee has sanders/henson/udoh/mbah a moute. phoenix has the morris twins.

that leaves us, orlando, and maaaaybe philly as potential landing spots that make any kind of logical sense. and we've got the best assets out of the bunch. orlando only has denvers pick next year and picks in 16 and 17. that's unless they give up their own picks which would be nuts.

this is stars aligning both for robinson and for us. you know there was a huge debate last year between robinson, barnes, beal, and mkg. and now you have the potential to have 2 of them instead of just one. seems wayyyy too good of an opportunity to pass up. cho needs to get that deal done yesterday.

Posted by: charlottean | May 31, 2013 11:11:51 PM

Cody Zeller is crazy weak he gets pushed around too easy just like his brother. Len is the choice, either that or Victor. Biz should move to the 4 spot and Len come in at the 5 and then the front court is solidified

Posted by: Brett | Jun 2, 2013 12:52:53 PM

wait until the new coach learns what a pack of dogs are on the Roster-gordon, haywood, thomas not to mention the stifling air of leadership at the top with jordan, cho and higgins. no matter who they get, they will not win 20 games next year.

Posted by: HootEvers | Jun 2, 2013 2:30:18 PM

Cody Zeller may not be strong enough to be a center in NBA - and that can also change in a few years - but he is strong enough for a power forward. He's 20 years old only and he'll continue to bulk up; what matters is his great skills and athleticism.

Len has the potential to develop into a very good NBA center. This is what we need, even more than an offensive threat at PF.
But, those who keep proposing him don't realize the seriousness of his injury.
His ankle fracture makes him an even worse risk than Noel, and I wouldn't get anywhere near Noel in this draft.

Len suffered the same kind of injury as Andrew Bogut did in January 2012. It's May 2013, and he still suffers the consequences of that injury. He missed most of the last two seasons because of his bad ankle, and when he played, he was well below his ability.
It would be a big mistake to gamble a high lottery pick on a player who's carrying a serious injury. It's very hard to fully recover from this kind of injury, especially when you're a 255 pounds center.

I prefer Cody at PF, for the reasons above. But, for those who want "stronger", another very good pick at that position would be Anthony Bennett.

Biz is a defensive center. He's very far from having the offensive skills needed at PF. At this point, any PF on our roster is much better than him offensively. We need a better PF (than those we already have) as a starter, and that's not someone who still has a lot of learning to do.

Posted by: Sandy | Jun 2, 2013 3:46:32 PM

That's funny, "it's May 2013" !
Well, it's June 2013 already, and Bogut's ankle injury is still just as much trouble.

Posted by: Sandy | Jun 2, 2013 3:58:05 PM

how is zeller weak? he posted 17 reps on the bench. 2nd best at the combine. 2nd to a guy almost 4 years older. hansbrough had 18 reps coming out as a senior and he's far from weak. david west gave you 11 reps. dwight howard....7 reps. nobody was pushing zeller around last year or the year before. and he was going against older dudes.


you're talking about a guy who had an insane vert, an insane speed and agility for a 7 footer, an elite 2 year college resume, etc. etc. etc.

he ran a faster sprint time than oladipo. higher vert than dwight howard.

he has short arms. that's the knock. short arms. I think he and biyombo could be the new gasol/randolph post game ~4-5 years from now.

Posted by: charlottean | Jun 3, 2013 1:49:21 PM

Exactly Charlottean!! I think us being in the 4 spot is a BLESSING!!! B/c we can trade back to 9 pick up a extra asset & STILL get Zeller...that's a no brainer to me...also we can get a player from Minnesota or get a extra pick & use that as a part of the trade to grab Robinson...so many options b/c we know Minnesota wants Oladipo or Mclemore

Posted by: KJ | Jun 18, 2013 9:48:59 AM

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