Steve Clifford took a break from
playing lots of golf listening to the Space Jam album watching the playoffs (Author's note: at least that is what I would imagine he would be doing) to call into SiriusXM's NBA Radio on Monday afternoon.
The majority of the comments were about the current playoff matchups (BUZZER BEATERS EVERYWHERE), but we did gain a small amount of insight into the team and how they are looking to improve next year.
First, Clifford talked about he feels he has "younger players" on the roster who can improve their shooting over the summer, which would really help the team. Now, if you remember during his end of the year presser, Clifford did mention this:
Cliff says Cody's ready to start shooting corner 3-pointers.— At The Hive (@At_The_Hive) April 16, 2015
RELEASE THE ZELLER!
Ahem...sorry. Moving on...
He then addressed that, depending on how the Draft Lottery goes and what offers the team gets, the Hornets would be interested in trading some draft picks. Again, this is only if the right offer is on the table, but it is good to see that the team is willing to do whatever it takes to improve. Clifford also recalled Michael Jordan saying, "We should look every day for every avenue we can to make the team better."
Next, he talked about Noah Vonleh and, get this, actually praised him. A lot. He talked about Vonleh's skill set and skill level and how it can help the team, but added that he "needs to have a big summer" and that he needs to improve his consistency with his shooting mechanics, among other things. I think this also means that Clifford was to referring to Vonleh in addition to Zeller in his earlier comments about younger players on the roster.
As for the games going on currently. here are a few main notes:
- Clifford was quick to praise Memphis for continuing to play with two bigs (Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol) when the majority of the league is moving in the opposite direction. Memphis, in a hand, is doing what the Hornets hope to do — build a defensive powerhouse with strong inside presences and enough shooting to compliment those inside forces.
- Clifford also had plenty to say about the defense that the Grizzlies were playing, particularly on the perimeter (which is deserved, since they have for the most part shut down the Splash Brothers so far in their series) and their ability to force turnovers.
- The winner of the Cavaliers/Bulls series depends on if/when Kyrie Irving and Pau Gasol come back and how healthy each player would be.
And just for the record, Clifford did mention this during his end of year presser.
Cliff just suggested Cleveland will beat Atlanta when they meet in the playoffs.— At The Hive (@At_The_Hive) April 16, 2015
Take from that what you will.