“When I first started, shootaround would be literally, shoot around,” Silas says. “You go and play some shooting games, maybe walk through four plays. And that’s it. Everybody get on the bus and go.” Things change. Under Steve Clifford, the Hornets are known for preparation and attention to detail. Before they get to the Garden, the coaches will have gone through a thorough scouting report that was compiled by one of the assistants. “Cliff is so detailed,” Silas says. “He’s got it down. If we have an opinion, we’ll give it to him. As the years have gone on he’s leaned on us a little more.”
Silas is perhaps best known by hardcore NBA aficionados for his work with a young Steph Curry. He taught Steph his two-basketball dribbling routine and he gets a chuckle when fans come to the arena early to watch Curry’s pregame workout. Their relationship has deep roots. Silas had known Steph since he was a kid growing up in Charlotte. His niece and nephew went to the same school and Paul Silas had coached Dell Curry with the Hornets. They were both sons of former players and hit it off immediately. Curry would come over on off days and watch games or eat dinner. They’d go to church together or go to the gym and get up shots. “He’s like the perfect student,” Silas says. “He listens all the time, asks great questions, challenges you a little. You can tell him something and he’ll get better right after you tell him. He stretches you, which was good for me as a coach.”
Walker spent most of the year backing up D.J. Augustin. There were bright spots — a triple-double, nine 20-plus point games — but losing took its toll. He shot 36.6 percent from the field, and many doubted he would translate college stardom to the NBA. As charismatic and energetic as Walker generally is, it is tough to be full of life when your team can’t even compete. “He had his down days, for sure,” Silas said. “He struggled at times, especially when we were losing multiple games in a row and it didn’t seem like there was any hope.”