Steve Clifford Rumors
Charlotte Hornets small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is no given to be ready to play in Wednesday’s NBA season opener against the Pistons in Detroit. Kidd-Gilchrist has been away from the Hornets for about a week, tending to an excused personal matter. Coach Steve Clifford said Sunday Kidd-Gilchrist might not be ready to start – or even play – in the team’s first regular-season game.
If Kidd-Gilchrist is unavailable, Clifford could move Marvin Williams from power forward to small forward, and start Frank Kaminsky at power forward. However, Clifford said Sunday he could also start Jeremy Lamb, back from a groin injury, at small forward and rookie Dwayne Bacon at shooting guard.
Clifford feels the Hornets regressed defensively last season, and he plans to toughen his expectations in that regard. He has already discussed this in detail with Monk. “We’ve watched film. I’ve made edits of his defense in college. It won’t be OK” for Monk to guard as he did at Kentucky, Clifford said recently. “It’s just a different world, and they’re going to go at him more. “He’s a terrific athlete, he’s highly competitive and I’m confident we can help him figure that piece out.”
Hornets coach Steve Clifford wanted to experiment some with Monk playing the point at Orlando Summer League. Monk’s ankle sprain delayed that experiment, but the Hornets figure to explore that option in the preseason. As to Monk’s playmaking ability, he’s already made an impression on a veteran teammate in a handful of pre-camp workouts. “I didn’t know (his game) a whole lot when we drafted him, just highlights,” said Hornets center Cody Zeller. “These past few weeks have been really good (in demonstrating) his knack for the game, particularly offensively.”