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March 30, 2015

Charlotte Hornet Cody Zeller planning to play tonight versus Celtics

            Three Charlotte Hornets updates from Monday morning shootaround before tonight’s home game against the Boston Celtics.

            Zeller looks like a go: Power forward Cody Zeller went through shootaround and is planning to play against the Celtics. He’s missed the last five games with a right shoulder sprain.

            “We’ll wait and see how he is, but he’s going to try and play,” coach Steve Clifford said. “He wasn’t grimacing or anything (when he shoots) the way he had been. He looked to me a lot better.”

            Fluid drained from Al Jefferson’s knee: For the second time in a week center Al Jefferson had fluid drained from his right knee. Jefferson struggled physically in the second half Saturday against the Atlanta Hawks. Bismack Biyombo picked up most of Jefferson’s minutes after halftime.

            ESPN drops telecast: ESPN has decided not to televise the Hornets’ home game against the Toronto Raptors on April 8. The network will instead televise a game between the Detroit Pistons and Boston Celtics.

            No word yet on whether SportSouth will pick up that Raptors-Hornets telecast.

Posted by Observer Sports on March 30, 2015 at 11:36 AM | Permalink


Rick Bonnell. Do you have anything on where NASTAR is ranked in his profession? That would be a cool story. Unless ESPN has already done it. Maybe someone can forward it.

Posted by: Mike | Mar 30, 2015 11:49:12 AM

Huge game tonight!! Hope the Hornets pull it out. Would be nice if the last few games count for something.

Posted by: Gruetze | Mar 30, 2015 1:00:21 PM

Well if you consider playing for the 8th seed counting for something. I had higher expectations. 8th seed and a 4 game sweep. Minimal player development. Player options for Al Jefferson. Does not seem like much progress was made. Will give them a slight pass for injuries, but maybe they win 40 in that case. Big deal. No closer to being a legit contender.

Posted by: Real | Mar 30, 2015 1:07:26 PM

Good realistic post Real. No delusion there.

Rankings galore these days from ESPN!

Shorty ranks a dubiously high #17 among PG's:https://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/12563832/nba-espn-nba-forecast-ranks-nba-starting-point-guards-no-1-chris-paul-no-30-dante-exum

FYI, the Great Chris Paul ranks numero uno!

Lotta chatter out there about the NBA possibly taking the top-16 teams regardless of conference for the playoffs -- that won't help the Boobs.

Is there any good news in Boobland?

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Mar 30, 2015 1:23:29 PM

I don't understand how kemba ranked ahead of these guys. Hill , rondo , MCW , Jackson , smart , Payton , Lin , exum. I would take any of them over kemba.

Posted by: Danny c | Mar 30, 2015 1:58:23 PM

Wow Espn decided not to televise the hornets and raptors as opposed to Detroit and Toronto. Are you kidding me? That is hilarious and I know the Hornets are not that good but they do play Toronto well. On another note I like Kemba but it is puzzling that he is starting over Mo right now. I think Kemba should wait until next year. Man Al is looking horrible at times which he does not need to start at center. I was thinking power forward but he would get killed by Dirk or Aldridge. He would get drugged way worst than he do at this point.

Posted by: tbird | Mar 30, 2015 2:10:20 PM

That is kinda curious isnt it Danny c? Maybe Mike could explain? Mike?

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Mar 30, 2015 3:25:14 PM

because they weighed the PER stat entirely too much. and kemba is more talented than many of those guys, he just plays way worse.

national media still think that jefferson and kemba having injuries this year are why we are struggling. they have no idea how much better we have been without them than with them because they just don't care enough to check.

there's value in getting the young guys another playoff series but only if biz is playing over al (only way we would possibly win a game) and assuming mkg and cody are healthy. otherwise, it's an absolute waste of time and I would prefer that we go ahead and take that top 9 pick we're potentially sitting on.

Posted by: charlottean | Mar 30, 2015 4:46:04 PM

Getting the 9th pick will mean nothing if Clifford is still here next year. Will be just another body next to PJ and Noah. The remaining games should consist of biz , Noah and PJ getting 30 mpg each. Clifford only wants the 8 seed to make himself look good , he has to realize there will be no advancing. The young guys need to play with Cody and MKG ( if able ) as much as possible. They're the future , not al , kemba and mo.

Posted by: Danny c | Mar 30, 2015 5:10:11 PM

Yes I can explain. That means the Hornets are about as good at basketball as NASTAR is at his job. They are both ranked very very low. I am not here to defend the Hornets, but NASTAR is the Hornets of posters. High volume poster. Low success %. Way more questions than answers. No real talent. Fortunately for him Bonnell's blog is like the Eastern Conference of blog's. If the Observer had the option of dropping NASTAR like ESPN dropped the Hornets, they surely would.

Posted by: Mike | Mar 30, 2015 6:53:26 PM

"Clifford only wants the 8 seed to make himself look good"

The real reason is getting in the playoffs last year was worth $2 million to Coach Cliff as it guaranteed the 3rd year of his contract.

"...he has to realize there will be no advancing."

His contract is incentivized with real cash to get to the playoffs. There's probably additional incentive for advancing, whether he realizes they will or not isn't relevant.

" The young guys need to play with Cody and MKG ( if able ) as much as possible."

The #25 ranked Front Office did not build any financial incentives into Coach Cliff's contract that hinge "on playing young guys as much as possible"...but rather, he cashes in on making the playoffs.

Danny c given the clear financial incentives the Front Office (otherwise known as Midget Management) has given Coach Cliff for making the playoffs why would you ever expect that he would do anything else?

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Mar 30, 2015 7:17:01 PM

"A most notable coward, an infinite and endless liar, an hourly promise breaker, the owner of no one good quality" Welcome back NASTAR!

Posted by: The Teal Hornet | Mar 30, 2015 7:20:53 PM

Shakespeare? Nice. Best quote on here since charlottean quoted bodie broadus.

Keep them coming you crazy kids.

Posted by: Rob Butler | Mar 30, 2015 9:20:29 PM

Nastar , what are the incentives Midget Management has given Clifford to make the playoffs this year?

Posted by: Danny c | Mar 30, 2015 9:42:55 PM

Just wasn't a fair fight....all starts at the top.

Garbage in garbage out -- another year, another failure to deliver on The Promises.

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Mar 30, 2015 9:46:24 PM

Danny c, fair question.

Just as was the case last year, at this point in the season we don't the the specifics of his contract as it relates to performance incentives for this season. However, a number of things point toward the incentives hinging on making the playoffs now.

1. Coach Cliff clearly is scratching and clawing to make the playoffs.

2. Coach Cliff clearly is not concerned about developing slurper favorites.

3. The likelihood The Midgets gave him a $2 million incentive for making the playoffs last year and then made an about face in the contract language this year to de emphasize winning and focus on longer term soft goals is exactly zero. Franchise is hemmoraghing cash, need a winner now.

Think about, are you seeing anything in Coach Cliff's behaviour that would lead you to believe he is incented to do anything other than win now?

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Mar 30, 2015 10:23:12 PM

What is MKG improving at more this year, his shooting or picking suits for sitting behind the bench.
Man that guy misses a ton of time, and now when they need him to try to get to the playoffs? Way too injury-prone.
Please, can we move Hendo? How many more years do we need to watch the Captsin of Bricklayers? The Hornets need to step it up and make some improvements at shooting guard. Bust City.

Posted by: BD | Mar 30, 2015 10:26:25 PM

Brad Stevens has already shown in his tenure with the Celtics that he gets it in how to coach in the NBA. He primarily plays his young guys(his teams future) and mixes in veterans. Yet, he is flexible to stick with the players on the court who are playing well instead of some rigid rotation like Clifford has employed since he arrived. There are nights when Al is so horrible on defense(like tonight) that Clifford has no choice but to sit him or risk losing the other players on the team(if he already hasn't). This team seems to collectively and individually lose focus on the court for long and critcal stretches of the game and then often comes up short in its attempts to recover and win the game. Cho has to reshape this team in the offseason, and find a coach who will follow the stated plan of player development. Otherwise, why draft young players at all if they are not going to play any significant minutes under Clifford inorder to develop and create a sustained winning team. Cho might as well trade the draft picks for older veterans that Clifford will give minutes to.

Posted by: will | Mar 30, 2015 10:27:25 PM

will I am glad you brought that up, was thinking about the exact topic.

The gigantic divide in results and future potential between these two franchises (Celtics and Boobs) is perfectly illustrated by how they have incented their current coach, as well as how they've treated prior coaches. Let's look at the two...

The Celtics -- Ainge's last coach was with him for 9 seasons. He gave his new coach (Brad Stevens) a 6-year contract for $22 million. Such a contract tells a coach the Front Office is committed to him and allows the coach to take a long term view and develop talent accordingly.

The Boobs -- Air Minimum is on his 6th coach in less time than Doc Rivers worked for Ainge. The last coach, who was arguably doing a good job of developing talent (just ask charlottean) was fired after ONE season. Minny gave his new coach (Coach Cliff) a 2-year deal with a 3rd year at the Boobs option. The 3rd year would become guaranteed if Coach Cliff took the team to the playoffs in year 1. With such a contract the Front Office is SCREAMING at the coach WIN NOW OR YOU TOO ARE GONE!

Hopefully this helps you understand why Coach Brad and Coach Cliff, both of whom have a keen understanding of the game, each approach the task at hand in a much different way.

It also perfectly illustrates why the Celtics under Ainge will thrive, and the Boobs under Cho/Minny won't.

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Mar 30, 2015 10:56:08 PM

NASTAR99 I agree with your point on how the organization made an error in how they structured Clifford's contract, including the length of the contract. Because it shows that the might not fully believe in their choice for coach, by not giving him a longer contract with the ability to develop players. But watching coach Clifford operate for two seasons, I believe this is who he is as a coach and a longer term deal wouldn't change what we have seen from him. At his core, I don't believe he likes to fully develop young players fresh out of college. Young players who could become stars need time on the court starting in year one to reach their full potential. The young players on this team, including Cody and Biz, have developed much slower than their counterparts with the same amount of experience in the league. As for Cho, I don't know how much power he has since the reshaping of the organization. If MJ is not mettling now and allowing Cho to make the decisions, I would like to see a younger coach(I know this would make it #7 under MJ) who has head coaching experience at a top program and will be committed to player development and will show flexibility in his rotations.

Posted by: will | Mar 30, 2015 11:47:30 PM

Nastars description of Kembas ranking as dubius is generous . And Kemba is not better than Rondo , hill , mcw , Exum esp in terms of being a floor general . Espn uses leadership , scoring , defense and playmaking as its factors in ranking these point gds . Kind of shoddy but ok.

Leadership : Kemba should be ranked dead last or lower . He has one gear and one goal . That's to score and do zero else . If he were on a ymca team , he wouldn't lead those guys anywhere , just simply score . The Hornets suffer nightly bc he never leads them , he only scores . And inefficiently which is irrefutable. Kemba is not the best pt gd leader on his own team .

Defense : lol. They have him at The bottom . In part , DEfense is limiting your opponent from getting anywhere he wants to and precluding his ability to make passes just as much as scoring . Kemba stops no one from getting anywhere and stops no one from diming bc he's too small to impact passing lanes ( everyone is taller w longer wingspan ) . Tell me who he's faced that he's reduced their ability to score ? Or prevent opposing pt gd penetration in the lane ? Or their capacity to run The pick n roll ? Ans . None .

Scoring : lol. He has to be the most inefficient shooter out of The bunch . But bc he averages 18 , they overate him . But this inefficient shooting and the fact that he won't stop is the root cause for losses;in part thereof .

PLaymaking : lol. He should be dead last . And I mean dead last . Rondo , mcw , hill now , Smart , Jackson can all run the pick n roll and hit the roller . Kemba has no second gear and is not patient enough to hit a roller . He can't see the roller bc if his height if it's lower than or at foul line or foul line extended . He's the worst pt gd in assists at The rim . Moe btw is one of the better ones which is why we won w him . Kemba can't throw a wrap around , shovel pass lob pass , alley oop or back door pass . When has he thrown one of these ? Rondo ,Exum , Smart , Mcw all can and do .

Bottom line : his " dubius " ranking was an effing gift at 21. Hero ball wins zero . No ct vision . No second gear . Arms too short to box w God . Split second decision making .lol.lol. Has no clue what pace is . Makes no one better . Raw skills that constitute being a floor general and facilitator is terrible . Ability to create a play is awful . IE , Moe up fakes , dribbles , up fakes the oncoming defender he just Drew and dishes to an open TEAMATE . Kemba has no capacity to do this to a tune of double digit assists a night . Moe got 4 in one month . Kemba got three in 4 yrs !!!!!!

It's over folks . But the contract he's on makes him unmovable until two yrs . While Mo sits behind him , much better on a cheap one . Smh . Nastars is right . This is a terrible mess .

Posted by: ironman | Mar 31, 2015 3:17:28 AM

"...I believe this is who he is as a coach and a longer term deal wouldn't change what we have seen from him."

It is possible you are correct but given Coach Cliff's track record of working for successful long-time NBA coaches who have vouched for him, personally I'm going to give Coach Cliff the benefit of the doubt and hang the blame on The Midgets who have a long track record of failure.

"As for Cho, I don't know how much power he has since the reshaping of the organization."


"If MJ is not mettling now..."

Air Minny is not only meddling he is calling every important shot. Making sure you saw this article detailing how Minny directly overruled Cho & Team and signed Lance against their wishes:

"With Michael Jordan as owner, however, Cho doesn't get the last word on decisions. According to a source familiar with Charlotte's inner workings, the voice that MJ relies on most is that of Curtis Polk, an analytics agnostic who conducts Jordan's business affairs and serves as the Hornets' vice chairman. And with pressure from Jordan to accelerate the Hornets' efforts to contend, the team made the ill-fated decision to sign Lance Stephenson over the objections of the analytics staff.


Posted by: NASTAR99 | Mar 31, 2015 8:27:58 AM

"Nastars description of Kembas ranking as dubius is generous."

Yet a large contingent of slurpers think he's an All-Star!!

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Mar 31, 2015 8:53:05 AM

Here's where we part ways Nastars . Cliffird is garbage . If he knew how to coach offense , he'd force Kemba to get inside and get assists at The rim over everything else . Just like Pop forced Parker who scores more points in The paint than any other pt gd and gets waaay more assists at The rim than Kemba who's at The bottom in getting layups tor teamates . Eff this we ain't the Spurs bs . All players can make layups .

He would force Kemba to shoot efficiently or not at all . He's shooting like 32% from the field in the last 10 games . And a career 39% guy .

Until he played Beverly d which is effort , he would sit . Your first line of defense comes from the point gd . Phil had big strong defending pt gds during all his wins .

Clifford would not have The high useage Albus offebse which kills ball movement . Albus would touch The ball and to immediately pass or make a move .

He does none of this . We lose . These are the root causes . Add not running and uptempo . He must be fired . Had he had a system in place , we could have inserted players in it despite injuries or done better .

Posted by: ironman | Mar 31, 2015 9:01:01 AM

ironman you may be correct about Coach Cliff's coaching ability (or lack thereof) but as I understand it the debate we are having is "win now" vs. "develop young players".

Coach Cliff is definitely attempting the former amd places little to no emphasis on the latter, this I think we can agree on. The reason this is the case is that's EXACTLY what The Midgets have incentivized him to do.

In the ESPN rankings Coach Cliff was 21, Cho was 25, Minny 26. It's logical to conclude with support of even a league average GM & Owner Coach Cliff would be top-half of the league.

I'm not suggesting Coach Cliff should get tenure or anything like that but among the key execs he's the only legitimate one -- start the house cleaning with the true dead wood like Cho and Air Minny.

(Ps...see my post in the new thread)

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Mar 31, 2015 9:36:50 AM

the problem with your theory is that in the case of this roster.......the former is the latter. he just isn't smart enough to recognize the very obvious results throughout the season.

we win more when biz plays big minutes.
win more when cody plays big minutes.
win more when mkg plays at all, but especially when he plays big minutes.

win more when al plays less.

look at the data points. look at the spread in possession margin and ppg margin in these instances. it's OBVIOUS to anybody that knows the slightest thing about nba basketball.

mkg-cody-biz are the most effective guys on the roster. the best athletes on the roster. the best options at their respective positions. yet he failed to play them more in favor of less effective veterans or in the case of pj, a horribly ineffective rookie.

the guy didn't do a good job at win-now mode either. he gets 100% of the blame for that regardless of what his directive was. he didn't do anything positive. he didn't make kemba better, he didn't even make al better. he didn't win a playoff game. he didn't develop young talent. he didn't get anything positive out of lance. he didn't even try.

the guy is a horrible coach. stop kidding yourself. your hero is an idiot.

Posted by: charlottean | Mar 31, 2015 12:13:09 PM

As you like to say, you are bad at reading. Not a surprise since apparently 100% of you time is spent DVR'ing and you probably haven't read many more books than Shorty.

If you read closely you'll see I acknowledge to ironman that Coach Cliff's decision making just may be sub-optimal but despite that there's no doubting (a) he is entirely concerned with winning now, and (b) he is not at all concerned with making sure slurper favorites get minutes.

I never said Coach Cliff was a great coach. I did say he's the only legitimate NBA exec inside the Boobsylum at this time, and that remains the case ;)

"he didn't do anything positive."

1. He produced a winning record. (only 2nd time in club history)

2. He got the team into the playoffs. (only 2nd time in club history)

3. He guaranteed himself a $2,000,000 payday.

All positive accomplishments.

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Mar 31, 2015 12:36:44 PM

you want to put all that on a banner now? Or is it tallest midget?

And my kindle app reeks of many leatherbound books.

If the guy knew how to win , he would play the guys that have gotten him wins. Its not about favorites, its about results. If we were 22-39 with biz and 10-4 with al, id be calling for al to play more. The name on the shirt doesnt matter to me, its What that name produces in terms of wins. Clifford doesn't know how to win.

Posted by: charlottean | Apr 4, 2015 6:48:41 PM

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