Despite the task of installing a new offensive system in the last year of his contract, Hornets coach Steve Clifford received a vote of confidence from the team’s executives this past week. Clifford gained a well-deserved sense of security after coming to terms with the club on a multi-year extension. This should bode well for the organization, the coaching staff, and the still-congealing roster learning to play by Clifford’s fundamentals.
Now in his third season as head coach, it’s nice to hear a bit more swagger from his interviews. His bravado came through loud and clear when discussing how his extension could impact the team as a whole. The Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell played a little tee-ball with Clifford, and asked him how his contract extension could possibly affect Nicolas Batum’s upcoming free agency. Here’s the coach’s response:
“(Batum) trusts me. He believes in me. So that could be a big factor.”
From a few rows back, it’s easy to see that the Charlotte basketball franchise is now legitimate with Steve Clifford at the helm. We need to take this Thanksgiving weekend to be grateful for that. The forefathers of the team – Bernie Bickerstaff, Sam Vincent, Larry Brown, Paul Silas, and Mike Dunlap – captained a franchise that was mostly a joke, a sucker, or a d-league affiliate to the other 29 members of the Association. The Hornets’ remarkable turnaround hasn’t been entirely the result of Clifford’s work, but he’s been a big part of the equation. Let’s hope that they can maintain the momentum with “Cliff” in charge.