Steve Clifford Rumors
Center Al Jefferson was very open in saying he needed to lose weight. Have you checked in on him lately, and where does he stand? Steve Clifford: I was in Santa Monica (Calif.) with him about 21/2 weeks ago. He had a plan month-by-month with (strength and conditioning coach) Matt Friia. He’s on target. He feels good and looks good. Now he has to finish up in August and September.
Q: Lenny Wilkens is obviously the one who stands out from your playing career. Is there one or two coaches that you feel have had the biggest influence on you from when you were an assistant coach? MP: Obviously I had a chance to work under guys like Stan Van Gundy and Steve Clifford the last two years in Charlotte, who was a Van Gundy disciple himself. I really learned a lot. Both of those guys were extremely organized and detailed in what they did in their approach. I learned a lot getting an opportunity to work alongside those guys.
There is no debate that post-ups make up a shrinking portion of the scoring pie, though there is some debate about why that is. Only eight teams this season finished even 10 percent of their possessions2 with a post-up, per Synergy Sports. A decade ago, 22 teams hit that mark, and every team ended at least 7.5 percent of its trips with some kind of post-up. One-third of teams finished with a lower post-up share than that this season. Just about everyone agrees that fewer players are entering the league with any clue of how to operate with their back to the basket. “There are maybe two handfuls of guys who can post up anymore,” Kidd says. Players who don’t learn post skills at a lower level won’t get the leeway or practice time to develop them in the NBA, coaches say. “It’s probably the hardest part of offense to get good at,” says Steve Clifford, the Hornets coach.