« Charlotte Bobcats center Al Jefferson starting vs. Rockets | Main | Charlotte Bobcats exercise options on Walker, Biyombo and Kidd-Gilchrist »

October 31, 2013

So far Clifford doesn't seem afraid of stating the truth

    HOUSTON -- If you asked me to sum up Steve Clifford’s point of view in a sentence, it would be the following:

            Don’t be afraid to tell the truth.

            I’ve covered a lot of NBA coaches. I’ve been lied to craftily. I’ve been lied to clumsily. The other extreme is someone who uses truth as a weapon, as in bludgeoning people with candor in a way that degrades, rather than informs.

            So far, for a rookie coach, Clifford gets it right. You ask him a direct question and you’ll typically get a direct answer. That’s what happened post-game when I asked Clifford why shooting guard Ben Gordon didn’t play against the Rockets.

            Clifford said it was nothing against Gordon. He added that the week Gordon missed while getting treatment on a sore knee was a factor. But basically Gordon didn’t play because Jeff Taylor played so well in the preseason, and Clifford wasn’t going to steal minutes from Taylor to get Gordon on the court.

            I like how Clifford doesn’t mind explaining himself. I should think he’s at least as candid with the players as he is with the media. Clifford said that if he plays four wing players, at least two of them won’t get enough minutes to be effective. Wednesday that meant Gerald Henderson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Taylor played while Gordon sat.

            I’m sure Gordon didn’t enjoy sitting, particularly if this becomes a trend in the last season on his current contract. But I would think he and the others would appreciate that Clifford explains himself and lets you know where you stand.

            Anyway, some stray thoughts on Wednesday’s season-opener:

    -- That was a rough start for rookie Cody Zeller, the fourth overall pick. He shot 1-of-6 from the field for two points and grabbed four rebounds in 15 ½ minutes. I’m sure he expected to play more, and he will, but for now the gap between his performance and Josh McRoberts’ is wide.

    --  Thursday is the deadline for the Bobcats to exercise Bismack Biyombo’s option for next season. It would cost them about $4 million in guaranteed salary. In return, they would continue controlling his rights. Minus the option, Biyombo would become an unrestricted free agent after this season.

    This is an interesting call. In a similar situation a few years ago the Bobcats gave Adam Morrison an option that proved to be a regrettable decision. But not exercising this option is a statement that they question the long-term value of a former top-10 pick.

    Increasingly the trend these days in the NBA is to cut your losses. Note that Kendall Marshall and Royce White, first-round picks in 2012, are already waived. We’ll see how this plays out.

    -- We all know Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is struggling. That 1-of-5 from the foul line illustrates his shooting issues. But those eight rebounds Wednesday demonstrate his effort.

    -- McRoberts made three of the Bobcats’ four 3s Wednesday. The guy continuously surprises me.

Posted by Observer Sports on October 31, 2013 at 12:58 AM | Permalink


Biyombo option seems pretty simple. It is one year and he has to be much younger than Morrision was. he should still he in college. Not to mention, Morrision had already had a major injury.

One game against a good team, probably a finals contender. Offense was out of synch. Should get better as Al gets more comfortable. Where was the pick and roll in the second half? Or post ups by Henderson and MKG. Rotations were intersting. Best shooter never got in the court.

Posted by: Bam | Oct 31, 2013 4:36:36 AM

How do we get one max player let alone two. Daryl Morey figured it out.

Posted by: James | Oct 31, 2013 8:02:38 AM

It's only 1 game

Posted by: Hornet Fan | Oct 31, 2013 8:03:17 AM

you don't get 22 year old big men with his athleticism and shot blocking ability for 4 million a year. it's an absolute no brainer. even if he's a career backup, he'd be an elite backup and worth every penny of 4-5 million a year. mahinmi gets 4 million a year. brandan wright gets 5. speights is getting 3.5+. you give him the option and then you extend him to a similar deal. he won't be commanding 8 million a year anytime soon, but he might be worth it. he's absolutely worth the 4 though. and royce white's situation is not at all comparable.

morrison was a no brainer too. at the time that he was given the option he was starting year 3 of his contract and had played 1 mediocre rookie season on par with walker's rookie season and then had a great summer and pre season before tearing an ACL. the regrettable part was how larry brown handled him after the injury, not the extension. that cost us nothing. we parlayed that into stephen jackson. i hate this revisionist history ish where nobody remembers what ACTUALLY happened.

that game last night was super sloppy. zeller and taylor and jefferson missed a ton of layups they won't miss and while we were only credited with 7 turns, a lot of those shots were just as bad as turnovers.

minute distribution was great. i think everybody played appropriately and outside of odd matchups, should be our normal breakdown with some fluctuation between zeller/mcroberts and jefferson/biz based on hot hands and matchups.

i hope jefferson's lack of effort defensively was due to rust/the ankle......that was a lot of ole for the american side of the border. i know that's what we're getting in him.....tons of offense, no defense, but he's at least gotta put forth the effort to defend. he had a great block of asik though.

howard has been hanging with chris paul too much. wayyyyy too many dirty moves by him (continuing through the fouls on mcroberts and MKG to take them down hard, swinging elbows at kemba and cody, etc.) in the first game of the year.

houston didn't look anywhere as dangerous as i expected they would. they were more dangerous last year with the run and gun....that said, when you have howard and asik combining for 40 boards, 4 blocks and 21 points in only 61 minutes.......they will win A LOT. garcia and lin off the bench is a nice punch. motiejunas will give that unit even more punch, casspi's lost his confidence entirely. looked like a stud as a rookie, reminds me of d.j. augustin in that regard.

sloppy sloppy game, but direction looks right. MKG played solid, the last 2 misses at the foul line were completely excuseable, the dude got body slammed by howard (absolutely should have been a flagrant) before missing the 2.

Posted by: charlottean | Oct 31, 2013 9:40:57 AM

Using the option on Biyombo should be a no-brainer. Regardless of how he will, or will not, develop offensively, his shot blocking and rebounding abilities are already making him a role player you'd rather have in your team than lose. And of course, he's very young and has room for improvement in every aspect of his game. He also comes at a much lower cost than Ammo did.

Posted by: Sandy | Oct 31, 2013 9:42:56 AM

Of course you grab the option for Biz. he is still raw but he is the only one on our team who seems to be able to ever grab 10 rebounds or more in a game.
And based on Big Al last night and Cody I think you must keep him.
So out of 4 draft picks in:
Biz - Jury still out at best good defensive player and rebounder who has barely passable offensive game.
Kemba- thank goodness he feel to us and we grabbed him. Imagine if we didn't!!!
MKG- I think pretty soon you package him with a top draft pick we get from Blazers or Pistons and trade it for a next year pick in the top 5. Cut bait
Cody- Jury still out but will never be a stud is my guess.

Obvious folks we passed who are better the list is to long to state here.

My guess is by end of this year things better show some progress. Another 20 win year (please get at least 30) and MJ will be mentally struggling. Paid big money for a FA and amnesty of TT showed he wants some improvement.

Posted by: Season Ticket holder for now | Oct 31, 2013 9:43:27 AM

One game of a long season. Looking forward to Cleveland on Friday at home.

Posted by: D.W.G. | Oct 31, 2013 9:46:06 AM

Funny, I haven't seen charlottean's post before posting mine, but I used the same term: no-brainer!

Al Jefferson should've been resting. Will he still play while not healthy tomorrow?
I'll have to say it again: using him while he's not fully recovered doesn't do any good to anybody, and it's not needed early in the season.

Posted by: Sandy | Oct 31, 2013 9:49:14 AM

Coach let Big Al rest until he is 100% health and Play your best shooter ok (Gordon) if anyone deserves less minutes, right now its that non-shooting, k-mart jumper, shooting guard from Kentucy.

Posted by: Tarhellkenneth | Oct 31, 2013 10:14:08 AM

Definitely pick up the option on Biz. Rebounding and shot blocking in a young, player is a no brainer. Looks like he is making strides this season in rebounding so big plus there. Love MKG's effort and his shooting will improve as he gets older. Good energy and he played defense pretty hard. Maybe a future Tony Allen defensively and Gerald Wallace (in his prime) offensively, that would be his best bet.

Posted by: EP | Oct 31, 2013 11:40:45 AM

Am I the only one here who's fed up with Sessions? The guy continues to chuck up lousy shots and totally ignore his teammates.

Posted by: apauldds | Oct 31, 2013 12:20:03 PM

Pick up the option on Biz... they just don't make guys with that wingspan.

Let's start looking for a way to get something for MKG. I still can't believe we picked him at #2.

Zellar just needs time and a PG willing to throw up court. There aren't many 7 footers who can run like he does.

Let's just wait out this whole Ben Godon thing. He won't be here next year.

Posted by: Nick | Oct 31, 2013 1:27:42 PM

Hopefully someone wants BG for the playoffs and 3 point ability. It would be nice to get anything for him at all.

Posted by: Season Ticket holder for now | Oct 31, 2013 1:41:08 PM

apauldds, I've been a Sessions' fan since he started in this league.

Before being a Bobcat, he was always playing like a true point guard.
This is what he showed in the pre-season too: he averaged 4 apg in less than 21 mpg (which comes close to 8 assists per 40 minutes), while taking 6.6 FG/g only.

Last night was very different: 11 field goals attempted, and just 1 (one) assist in 19 minutes.

Sessions is NOT a shoot first PG, but he does it when it's needed.
Except for Josh McRoberts, who was capable of any scoring for the Cats? Kemba, but only in the first half.

Hendo had one of his lousy shooting nights, and so did Jeff Taylor and Cody. Big Al was not in game shape. MKG was ... MKG.
He needs to use his slashing ability a lot more; when the defense collapses on him, he needs to learn to dish it to the open player.

Within this offensive mess, Sessions took responsibility, and was our second best scorer. He's commendable for doing so. Hopefully, he won't have to keep doing it.

Posted by: Sandy | Oct 31, 2013 1:41:21 PM

I watched Big Al play in Utah. He does not play any defense to speak of. This is not a one game thing. You will not be pleased by his effort on that side. They tried and tried to get him to work more on it in SLC. He's not interested. The other side though; he can definitely score and rebound. You will be pleased there!

Posted by: Nick | Oct 31, 2013 2:02:14 PM

I know there was next to zero interest in him last year, but would Hendo be worth anything in a trade? Look up disinterested in the dictionary, his pic is beside it. What a waste of good talent!

Posted by: GO CATS!! | Oct 31, 2013 2:56:55 PM

don't get any hate for sessions, he's a solid dependable backup at a good price. he's a great trade asset, but i don't see why someone would dislike his game.

the same for MKG.......you guys are nuts, as noted earlier.....he's something like the 4th youngest in the league THIS YEAR after being the youngest last year. he should have been in high school when he was at kentucky and he should have been at kentucky last year. the guy is WAYYYYY ahead of schedule. he played very well last night.

had howard not body slammed him a couple of times, he probably would have made his par for free throws and walked away with an 11 and 8 with 2 assists a block and a steal in 30 min. that's a solid game from a 20 year old.

HE JUST TURNED 20 A MONTH AGO and you guys are giving up on him. right. that makes sense. a guy who CLEARLY belongs in the starting lineup of any NBA team RIGHT NOW at age 20......you want to give up on.

not wait until he's 25......give up on him, now. great thinking.

as for resting jefferson, i would be absolutely on that bandwagon if we had another big on the roster. cleveland and new orleans are different and biz/zeller/mcroberts/adrien will suffice there, but against asik and howard......it was rough WITH jefferson, could have been worse without.

but yeah, that dude's defensive abilities are definitely going to keep us from winning more than 32 or so games. so that makes me......ironically on board with him for this year.?.? <<< not sure if that's a statement or a question.

Posted by: charlottean | Oct 31, 2013 3:29:49 PM

Um, the Bobcats picked up the option on Biyombo a week ago.


Posted by: Brendan | Oct 31, 2013 4:06:55 PM

hahahahaha ^^^^ this dude posted a link from a year ago and claimed it was "a week ago"

come on dude.

Posted by: charlottean | Oct 31, 2013 4:25:53 PM

rick bonnell just tweeted that they JUST picked up all the options.

thanks cho.

Posted by: charlottean | Oct 31, 2013 4:26:59 PM

Question for anyone. How far do the Bobcats radio channel WFNZ 610 Broadcast? I will in Fayetteville. Cannot receive.

Posted by: PanFan | Oct 31, 2013 5:11:11 PM

sorry, Live in Fayetteville.

Posted by: PanFan | Oct 31, 2013 5:12:49 PM

PanFan you know you get the WFNZ radio app on a smartphone and listen their.

Posted by: MannyP3 | Nov 1, 2013 12:34:16 AM

sorry I'm tired. *you can get

Posted by: MannyP3 | Nov 1, 2013 12:35:00 AM

you can get internets on the phone?! how do they get the radio in the internets?!

Posted by: charlottean | Nov 1, 2013 9:27:05 AM

I look at Josh McRoberts and see a guy who is only 26 years old. Since his arrival in Charlotte, he has often been the overall best player we had on the floor. The same was just the case in last night's game. Yet most folks never talk him as a significant part of our future. At his age, he will also improve.

Posted by: Nativetarheel | Nov 1, 2013 6:11:46 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.