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April 01, 2015

Hornets coach Steve Clifford owns decision to sign Lance Stephenson

Three takeaways from the Charlotte Hornets’ 102-78 victory over the Detroit Pistons:

            Clifford owns decision to sign Stephenson: Coach Steve Clifford had said before he was as strong an advocate as any Hornets decision-maker for signing Lance Stephenson last July.

            Wednesday he made sure there was no misconception.

            “Lance is here because of me. I’m the one that wanted Lance,” Clifford said after not playing him for the second consecutive game. “It’s simply that I can’t find a group that plays well when he’s out there.”

            Jefferson’s knee: For the third time in about nine days Hornets center Al Jefferson had fluid drained from his right knee in order to play. Jefferson was moving poorly enough at morning shootaround that Clifford considered not playing him Wednesday. Clifford said it would take weeks of rest for Jefferson to get any real relief from his knee injury.

            A strong first quarter: The Hornets have been plagued of late by slow starts to games. They led by eight entering the second quarter and never trailed Wednesday. Point guard Kemba Walker set the agenda with 17 first-half points. Strangely enough he never scored in the second half.


Charlotte Hornets' Lance Stephenson celebrates a teammate's 3-point basket against the Detroit Pistons, Wednesday, April 1, 2015. The Hornets won 102-78. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Posted by Observer Sports on April 1, 2015 at 11:42 PM | Permalink


Rick Bonnell, you are a douchebag. You are a pussy. You couldn't take a disagreeing party so you blocked me on Twitter. What a pussy you are. Crappy journalist and writer, too. I'll try to get you fired, because you suck at what u do.

Try being a tiny bit critical of the coach and owner of the team you suck up to.

Posted by: SportsReporters | Apr 2, 2015 12:20:58 AM

He is indeed a bitch. Blocked me as well. He doesn't have the balls to ask critical questions. I despise Lance, but saying he can't find a group that plays well with him? Lol. Jeff Taylor is terrible, and Clifford can stick that "he plays defense" stuff up his ass. Something happened behind the scenes. Hopefully Adrian Wojnarowski can break it like he does everything else. Rick may as well ask Clifford what his favorite color is.

Posted by: Jason | Apr 2, 2015 1:21:59 AM

Some of his stuff lately not asking viable questions and getting deep into the heart of the issue makes me want Darin freaking Gantt to cover this team, and he got canned. Its not like Jeff Taylor is setting the world on fire. He can't shoot, dribble, and gets smoked defensively for Christ sake.

Posted by: Jake | Apr 2, 2015 1:27:18 AM

You dudes mad because some clown reporter blocked you on Twitter? What does that make you?

Really hilarious Clifford owning this and acting like he has any clue of what he's doing regarding managing the roster. He never put lance in a position to succeed. And lances numbers are solid outside of shooting (which is horrible).

Here's to hoping lance stays and Clifford goes. Dudes shooting will return.

Posted by: charlottean | Apr 2, 2015 2:51:47 AM

You guys appear to be Lance supporters . But The guy is shooting 25 / 0 from the field n arc in the last 5 games . 37 / 16 for the yr . But he's avering almost 5 assists w not much in minutes . He's a pick n roll savant .

Clifford is an idiot of an offensive coach . Lance needs space to run his pick n roll which you would need to break down the Hawks . Last night , the ball went thru Al all game . He made a quick move or made a pass much quicker which was one of my chief complaints . Still ,it's the same old tired offense w no variation . There's still no abundant man n ball movement which you must have to shift defenses and get advantages .

Back to Lance . Help him . It will help us . Start the offense out farther . That alone will spread the defense . Kidd started it from the half court line against The Heat in the finals . They never adjusted and had too far to travel . They had problems doubling too . Lance can see The floor better this way . It's a waste using Biz n Al w him out there up top . Neither can move or handle . It must be Cody , Hendo , Mkg , Taylor . They can get into the screen w force and turn the corner like mad . The roller can finish w greater force too . And see the corner gutter better .

It's ridiculous to have a savant on the bench ESP when the starter can't dime .Hendos and Codys passing skills are wasted too . Clifford should be fired bc he brought him here and has no clue how to use him . Try weak side stuff w him to clear his path on the right side . This means only using one man to screen around the foul line extended . Try him in ISO on R side . ISO is all Cliffords offense pretty much is .

Finally , Clifford plays like he's smart about offense but he's not . He gets spacing from one tired way : they all camp at The arc waiting for a pass that rarely comes . But you can space a at least 4 other ways . Crisp ball n man movement around The perimeter w drive n kick is . The pick n roll w variations is etc . All this is wo Al btw .

The Pistons are tanking . They lost ten straight . Any team that uses Butler , PRINCE AND JOHN LUCAS JR. IS TANKING .

Posted by: ironman | Apr 2, 2015 4:21:29 AM

Just shows how bad Clifford is. Not much of a coach and now we know he should not have any input a roster. Probably was a decent assistant, but that was alll. Just move on.

Posted by: Real | Apr 2, 2015 6:48:50 AM

Clifford can't find a group for lance that plays well together? It took him almost the entire season to figure that out. Meanwhile the losses pile up. Now we know why. Clifford brought him in and that was the only reason he continued to play the guy. All while Jordan takes the blame. This is ridiculous and irresponsible. Clifford cost the team the season and more. A guy like him isn't even a head coach let alone someone who should be involved in personnel. Shame on the Hornets for allowing it. Another blown season that didn't have to be. And the young guys rot on th bench. The Hirnets track record with coached is absolutely abysmal. Just get one decent coach in here. Hell. It is not that hard.

Posted by: Johnny | Apr 2, 2015 6:59:00 AM

charlottean I just wanted to thank you for the "finance" lesson you are giving me in the other thread...looking forward to learning more from you. See you over there :)

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Apr 2, 2015 10:07:05 AM

I don't know why anybody still wants Lance on the court. He's a turnover machine with a bad attitude. His stats are inflated because he goes hunting for the flashy pass or takes a rebound from somebody else. He can't shoot to save his life. I'm not totally against Cliff like most of yall are but I don't think he's the worst. My biggest problem is now that we are pretty much out of it we're still playing Maxiell instead of Vonleh and Taylor is starting over PJ.

Posted by: gainer | Apr 2, 2015 10:11:28 AM

this story just reeks of clifford being asked to take one for the team in exchange for getting next year to coach out the contract.

no way the guy was excited about having lance and then a week in was talking about what he wasn't and wouldn't be. the guy did NOTHING to adjust our playing style to the new acquisition.

and sitting him now is bizarre....the guy has actually played pretty solidly in march. something like 14/6/4 per 36 on 42% shooting and 70% from the line.

the guy only played 30 min + 16 times this season. that sound like a fair sample? all in october and november?

we need a new coach badly. the disparity between biz and al is very obvious at this point. and it isn't al leading the way like many of you think.

someone please show me a real piece of data that suggests al helps the team win more than biz. any shred of evidence beyond comparing biz' rookie year to this year.

Posted by: charlottean | Apr 2, 2015 11:42:25 AM

If we need to count on Biz to lead this team, then it is even worse than we thought.
Hard to believe the fan base expects a new coach already. This franchise has been a coaching revolving door.
Might need a new GM.

Posted by: BD | Apr 2, 2015 12:15:45 PM

it's not about biz to lead the team, it's about biz playing in place of the guy that is incapable of leading the team and letting someone else lead.

biz is an elite defender/rebounder/finisher. al isn't even an elite scorer by efficiency standards. elite post scorer in volume, sure. but that doesn't translate to wins.

agree completely about the revolving door at coaching. shouldn't have fired dunlap that was a knee jerk move. as was signing al. those were the biggest mistakes along with kemba's extension since cho has been here.

the coach doesn't need to go because of panic. the coach needs to go because he isn't smart enough to lead a team anywhere. he makes vinny del negro look like hawking. and i've been saying this since early LAST season. the guy doesn't know what he's doing.

i would be excited about a GM change, but comparing cho to higgins and bickerstaff......hard to complain about cho. comparing clifford to dunlap, brown, silas, vincent, and bickerstaff makes me curious if sam vincent is available (of course he is).

the talent level on this team is insane. think about this carefully.........marvin williams and lance stephenson have both started on more than 1 playoff teams who advanced past the first round. they have been mostly 2nd teamers on this roster. mo williams has also started on title contenders. he's the backup pg.

think about what we're saying here. we have a stud 21 year old at the 3 and a stud 22 year old at the 4. another stud 22 year old who should be starting at the 5 (to the tune of 10-4 this year when he has and 5-4 last year, too).

this roster is stacked. the 9th pick in the draft has been in a suit all year. the 26th pick has joined him plenty.

the talent on the roster is strong. the talent in leadership positions (go-to players, head coach) is not.

could bring back the same roster with a new coach and win 50 games next year.

Posted by: charlottean | Apr 2, 2015 12:58:43 PM

Biz played well last night. Made a big difference when he came in for Al. It is never going to look pretty, but Biz is very effective on the glass and is an anchor on defense. Al's offense is not as important as Bismack's defense. Especially when you factor in his type of offense diminishes everyone else's game.

Posted by: Fast Freddie | Apr 2, 2015 1:31:17 PM

Love the Hornets. Especially some of the young players. Enjoyed watching Kemba and Biz last night. They seem to have a real connection. Just wish MKG and Cody were in the lineup right now.

Posted by: Homer | Apr 2, 2015 1:34:57 PM

it would be a dream for them to land russell and pair him with kemba in the backcourt with mkg/cody and biz up front.

i would throw the pick (whereever that falls), al, vonleh and a conditional 1st to make that happen.

that team could do damage for a long time. have lance as the 6th man and focus on surrounding them with shooters (marvin would be a good fit to stay with the group as a backup 3/4).

i just don't see too many guys in the 5-15 range that will be impactful for us right now. maybe hezonja but only if he's coming over. otherwise, we're looking at a backup big man like cauley stein (would be thrilled, but he wouldn't be a franchise changer).

not sure that winning last night was a good thing given our playoff odds are currently at 13.1% with the win. the loss would have improved our draft chances and maybe kept detroit from tanking the last several games themselves.

Posted by: charlottean | Apr 2, 2015 1:44:45 PM

Hi. I'm a Clippers fan out on the west coast, but I watch a LOT of league pass so I watch some hornets too. I like them quite a bit. Right now you're trying to be a 3 point shooting team, but you don't have the shooters for it. The ball Should go into Al a lot more. He's an elite low post scorer in this league. For some reason Cha doesn't run a lot of screen roll with Kemba and Al. When they play D, you have a good team. Clifford is a good coach. Yes the offense is boring with too many midrange shots, but the D is good . I agree about Biyombo. he's an excellent defender. I would've played more Lance myself especially in that loss to Bos. But- he is a wild player, with too many turnovers and a poor shooter. Clifford's trying to get into the playoffs, and doesn't want to risk trying Lance during this important stretch. Det is NOT tanking. Don't have a first round pick.

Posted by: dave s | Apr 2, 2015 4:00:23 PM

you are not smart. they are 25th in 3 pt attempts. al gets PLENTY of touches in the paint. they don't run screen and roll with al because al can't effing move.

oh and detroit definitely has their 1st round pick. they gave us their pick last year. they owe 2nd rounders in 17 and 19 and nothing else.

step your league pass up.

the only differences between the hornets and clippers: rivers is a way smarter guy than clifford, paul knows how to pass and kemba doesn't, and instead of playing deandre jordan, we're playing chris kaman (al over biz).

"elite post scorer" not in legitimate terms. he's nowhere near the shaqs, hakeems, ewings, etc because he doesn't get to the free throw line at all. he doesn't shoot anywhere near 60% from the field like elite post scorers do. he is easily the most overrated player in the nba.

there is nothing elite about kemba or al. neither one will ever be a starter on a contender unless it's kemba as the 5th wheel or if he severely remakes his game. he's horrible under current performance. horrible. and the coach is horrible for relying on those 2 so much when they have won so much without them.

Posted by: charlottean | Apr 2, 2015 4:12:47 PM

"could bring back the same roster with a new coach and win 50 games next year."

So noted.

Didn't you predict 50+ wins for this year too?

And didn't you predict a playoff series win this year? Or was that next year?

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Apr 2, 2015 10:53:38 PM

Remember a few years ago... We signed Al and brought in Ewing as a coach. There was the idea that maybe an old school post up offense would work for a small market team in today's nba. Big Al + Ewing = ?. We now have the answer... It didn't work. The whole thing with Lance is just plain wrong. Clifford doesn't like him and continues to make these passive aggressive statements that when read between the lines is him saying "lance sucks"...

Posted by: T | Apr 3, 2015 3:48:55 AM

Now we know the coach was wrong about wanting and can't figure out how to use him. Whammy.

Posted by: Johnny | Apr 3, 2015 6:55:11 AM

Dave ... You have no idea what you're talking about . The ball goes into Al waaaay too much . Everytime he touches it , he winds The clock down , he misses cutters , guys open at the rim and forces shots on Two sometimes three players .

When the ball goes into Al this is what happens : no touches per possesion by teamates , no multiple shot attempts by teamates , standing at the acr waiting on a pass flat footed that rarely comes , loss of enthusiasm by teamates , stagnate offense , no ball movement and no man movement,

This is what happens when teamates grow cold as its Said . Bill Self says if teamates are not involved in the offense , they won't play inspired ball or DEfense . Loads of coaches have said the same .

Al shoots in the 40's from the field . He takes no foul shots . W such high useage , it's playing into the hands of opposing teams and is the most inefficient shot in the game . No player averaging 16 points a game should have an offense designed around such garbage . No center that got out the first round ever shot in the 40's from the field abd won't . Most allstar centers or even bum centers shoot in the 50 's . Few shoot in the 60 's as was posted tho .

The reason no pick n roll is run w Kemba and Al is bc Kemba can't see the roller or hit him . And Al is a pathetic roller ..

Finally , we had good arc ball shooters here : Tolliver , cdr , Mo , ROBERTS , Gary ..... W these guys , this garbage can't work . Last yr , had teams not rushed to the bottom , we would not have been in the playoffs . It's never worked nor can it .

Posted by: ironman | Apr 3, 2015 8:55:04 AM

"The only difference between the Hornets and the Clippers...."

Charlottean that is one of the dumbest comments I have ever read.

Its not like they have Blake Griffin a top 15 player in the league. They also don't have one of the best 3pt shooters in the league at SG who also happens to be scoring close to 20 ppg since the all-star break.

Yep the Hornets and Clippers are nearly identical teams talent wise. If only we could get Kemba to pass more and started Biz we would be a top 3 team in the NBA. Oh yeah and if we had Doc. That's right, can't leave him out.

Posted by: Mason | Apr 3, 2015 10:35:51 AM

Mason, forgive him....he's so deluded he only thinks home prices go one way -- up. Hard to overcome that sort of handicap.

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Apr 3, 2015 11:15:47 AM

Put Zeller with Paul, see how dumb it looks then.

I'll give you redick vs our shooters though. Valid point. But the rest holds. Its kemba and Clifford vs Paul and doc.

Posted by: charlottean | Apr 3, 2015 2:07:18 PM

Hey guys charlottean and I are having a great conversation in the Big Al/Cody/Lance post -- he's teaching me all about "finance", check it out.

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Apr 3, 2015 3:06:14 PM

Do you have any idea how pathetic that sounds. Hey. Let's post on old blogs. Yes. That sounds productive. Seriously dude. Go get some help.

Posted by: Fast Freddie | Apr 3, 2015 3:55:54 PM

Help me Freddie! Help!!

(clttn you didn't think simply using the cap's button was going to serve as camouflage did you)

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Apr 3, 2015 4:18:28 PM


Posted by: Dshtg!! | Apr 3, 2015 9:11:46 PM

Not any of above ^^^^
Just tonite in general..... Smh

Posted by: Dshtg!! | Apr 3, 2015 9:21:38 PM

How is Kemba going to handle taking a back seat and becoming a true facilitator to hendo, Cody, mkg, bismack next year. Sometimes Lance gives glimpses of what this offense can look like with a different guy running things.

Posted by: stunned at blowout | Apr 3, 2015 11:04:22 PM

Crazy, right?

addition by subtraction would add a lot.

Posted by: charlottean | Apr 4, 2015 1:36:12 AM

Again you guys need to do stand up comedy or something. I give you your props you definitely have basketball knowledge but some of the scenarios with this team. Like I said we have some talent, but they cannot compete on a nightly basis. The ship really sank when Clifford started Kemba over MO. As much I like Kemba I always believed Mo was better as a starter at this point. Big AL should take his player option, and go to another team but I doubt it. He is way to slow as a defender and cannot move the offense. I like Biz but he is gone after this season. He is a good defender and rebounder, limited offensively with no hands. So he will be expendable at the end of the season. I have seen him make some great plays, and I have seen him get drugged by some of the big men in the league. We need a player of Gortat, Whiteside, and or Enes Kanter's caliber. A scoring center that has defensive skills as well. MKG is a part of this teams future as well as Cody. The youth movement will never work we need a Superstar type of player!!!! Maybe a Kahwi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, and/or Demarcus Cousins type players. Yes Lance may turn the ball over but his talent is undeniable with the right coach. He just needs to create and I saw last night how he could have helped the team. Hard to tell how this team will look next year with the upcoming draft because playoffs are def out of the question.

Posted by: tbird | Apr 4, 2015 4:22:18 AM

"Clifford is an idiot of an offensive coach . Lance needs space to run his pick n roll which you would need to break down the Hawks..."

If the former is true, the latter would indicate that The Midgets are dumbasses, no?

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Apr 4, 2015 5:16:51 PM

Biz + minutes IS gortat, whiteside, kanter. how did kanter look without minutes and a coach that believed in him?

Posted by: charlottean | Apr 4, 2015 6:39:24 PM

Kanter kan shoot, Fumblerooski kant.

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Apr 6, 2015 9:44:37 AM

you see kanter block and shots or play defense at all?

would you rather have sam perkins or luc longley?

bargani or tyson chandler?

centers aren't supposed to be able to shoot. that's not what they are there for.

Posted by: charlottean | Apr 6, 2015 2:34:24 PM

"centers aren't supposed to be able to shoot. that's not what they are there for."

Of the top-10 leading scorers in NBA history 5 are centers.

Just based on market share it would be 2 and if your "that's not what they are there for" thesis were true it would be further reduced to 1 or 0.

You are delusional...

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Apr 7, 2015 10:43:47 PM

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