The Washington Times-Herald

The "Z" Watch

September 30, 2013

Bobcats coach Clifford says rebounding a concern

--- — CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Bobcats coach Steve Clifford said despite adding two big men to the roster this offseason, rebounding remains his biggest concern as the team prepares to open training camp Tuesday in Asheville, N.C.

Charlotte made a splash signing free agent center Al Jefferson to a $40.5 million contract and drafting 7-foot forward Cody Zeller fourth overall to upgrade its frontcourt. But Clifford said the Bobcats only have two proven rebounders - Jefferson and small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, last year's No. 2 overall pick.

Clifford said "other than that we don't have guys that have been even average (rebounding) with any consistency."

That has the first-year coach a little concerned despite a roster that he views as significantly more talented than the previous two seasons when the Bobcats went a combined 28-120 - the worst mark in the NBA.

"The bottom line is this: We can get a lot better on offense and a lot better on defense, but if we don't get a lot better rebounding it may not matter," Clifford said.

The Bobcats didn't give themselves much of a chance last year.

They were 29th in the league in defensive rebounds and were outrebounded on average by 3.9 per game, also second-worst in the league.

"Rebounding is something this team has struggled with and to be the team we've got to be we have to improve that," Jefferson said. "There are no excuses. It has to be done."

Clifford said he'll stress "gang rebounding" this preseason.

"It's not going to be an easy thing for us," Clifford said. "It will be something that we're going to talk a lot about... five guys going after the basketball. And if you can't get it (at least) make sure the other guy doesn't get it. "

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