The Washington Times-Herald

The "Z" Watch

September 30, 2013

Bobcats coach Clifford says rebounding a concern


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Shooting guard Gerald Henderson said players are taking Clifford's message to heart, knowing that everyone needs to chip in to help overcome that deficiency.

"We were really undersized last year and we're still undersized," Henderson said. "It's improved some, but clearly we need to get better with rebounding. And we can't just rely on the bigs. Guys like myself, I need to be a better rebounder. I don't rebound well for my position. I think that's where the guards need to get in there and clean up a lot of shots that come off the board."

Despite the rebounding concerns, the frontcourt is better than a year ago.

Things were so bad at times the Bobcats were forced to start Bismack Biyombo - a non-factor on the offensive end - at center. They rarely got a contribution from backup centers Brendan Haywood and Gana Diop, while Byron Mullens was at times a power forward playing out of position.

Jefferson gives Charlotte a legitimate low-post scoring threat and a player Clifford believes will be their "go-to guy" with the game on the line.

At power forward, Zeller is expected to battle with recently re-signed Josh McRoberts - who played extremely last season after being acquired from Orlando in a trade - for a starting spot. Clifford also seems high on Anthony Tolliver, a lesser known free agent pickup.

The Bobcats had the worst winning percentage (.106) in NBA history in 2011, going 7-59.

They went 21-61 last year under Mike Dunlap, but the 14-game improvement wasn't enough to save his job and he was fired after one season.

Despite the rebounding concerns, there's a buzz around the organization - a sense that the Jefferson acquisition gives this team some legitimacy. Players aren't talking about the playoffs, but it's clear they feel the perennially dreadful organization is finally headed in the right direction.

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