Steve Clifford: New Guys Better Complement Big Al
Bobcats head coach, Steve Clifford, fresh off a four game winning streak and in the midst of four days with no games, joins Mac and Jim to talk Orioles basketball, the playoff push, the team’s new additions and about the growth of his team.
On taking advantage of their current four day break: To me, its four days where we can get refreshed physically for the stretch that’s coming up and we can get into the details. We can work to make sure that in every aspect of our team game that everyone understands exactly what we’re trying to do. With their individual games, I really stressed to them, this is a time when you can get extra shots up.
On the break helping intergrate the new players: The break comes at a great time, because it gives the guys really six days, because we brought them in with some of the assistants and walked through offense for two days. It gives them a good chance to get up to speed as quickly as possible.
On the addition of Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour: I think overall, they better complement Al (Jefferson), which is what you need to do. You need to take your best offensive players and then build your team around them, guys that can play well with them. Gary’s range shooting and decision making will help us in that way. Luke’s a terrific organizer, pick-and-roll player and decision maker. Hopefully, they’ll help our team even fit better together. I’ve been really impressed, they’re both bright and pick up things quickly.
On losing Ramon Sessions: There are going to be aspects of his game that we will definitely miss. He was playing his best basketball, but this league is always the same, in order to get good players, you’re going to have to give up a good player.
On shooting: People realize you need shooting to win at any level of basketball, but your shooting sets up everything. When you play a good defense in the NBA, your spacing, which is the basic tenant of offense is set up by your shooting. When you play Chicago, the Clippers or San Antonio or the really well prepared defensive teams, they don’t guard you where your guys are standing, they guard you to where your guys can shoot from. Every guy you have that can shoot a three creates space.
On the keys to the Bobcats success this year: It starts with our defense. When our defense is really good, obviously we’re a better team. Also, when we’re low turnover. We’ve been first, seond or third, most of the year, in taking care of the ball in the league. We have to be lowe turnover. The nights we turn the ball over we really struggle. Our post-up offense has changed our whole team. It’s not just with Al scoring, but with guys playing off him.
On being a good team: To be a really good team, you have to have multiple aspect of your offense that are good. Our pick-and-roll offense has improved slowly throught the season, with Kemba being the biggest part of that. You saw the other night, against an elite defensive team (Memphis) with the game on the line, he made play after play.