There is a disturbing trend developing in Charlotte, which is in danger of becoming an annual rite of spring; a sure sign that the NBA regular season has concluded, is when the Bobcats hire a new head coach. The team has been in existence only since 2004 and they hired their sixth bench boss, as former Los Angeles Lakers assistant Steve Clifford received a three-year deal from his new franchise. The “Charlotte Observer” reported that President of Basketball Operations Rod Higgins and General Manager Rich Choi, introduced him to the city on Wednesday. He replaces former head coach Mike Dunlap, who was fired at the end of the season, after going through a similar press conference a year ago, when he was hired to help turn things around in Charlotte.
Clifford was with the Lakers for just one year, however it was his 13th season as an assistant coach in the Association. He had been with Stan Van Gundy as an assistant for the Orlando Magic, he also was an assistant under Jeff Van Gundy with the Houston Rockets. It will be his first head coaching job in the NBA, culminating a journey that saw him rise through the ranks, after starting out as a high school coach.
The new head coach, will be the third man on the bench for the squad in as many seasons. The club from Charlotte, that petitioned the NBA Board Of Governors, to change their name to the Hornets, has played terribly the past two campaigns. The brain-trust hopes that Clifford’s so-called “balanced approach,” of playing can get them back into the Playoffs in the near future.
Clifford told reporters “If you look at facts, balance wins. I know everybody said because of my background, everything is defense. And that’s not always true. The balanced teams are still playing. That’s the challenge for any team. It speaks to utilizing personnel and putting the right lineup out there.”