Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford reflects on time with Lakers

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error So far, that has only translated to informal consulting with Charlotte, Stanford’s women’s basketball team and Marshall University, his alma mater where his brother, Dan, recently became the team’s head coach.In other words, D’Antoni’s far removed from the criticism surrounding the Lakers, which entailed philosophical clashes with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard. Though role players credited D’Antoni for their development, he sparked plenty of criticism for the Lakers’ poor defense. “Mike is a terrific coach and very bright man,” Clifford said. “He also handles things very well and has a perspective on the way he lives his life.”Clifford originally joined the Lakers under Mike Brown, who was fired in 2012 following a 1-4 start. Clifford said he stays in touch with both coaches, offering advice that he jokes entails, “coach better.”Reflecting upon his lone season with the Lakers, Clifford disputed that it was simply “dysfunctional.” He cited the Lakers’ 28-12 record to close out the season. Clifford also argued the Lakers would have fared better than a first-round sweep to San Antonio if not for numerous injuries, most notably Bryant’s left Achilles tendon. “If all of those guys don’t go down at the end of the year, I can guarantee you no one wanted to play us in the playoffs,” Clifford said. “We were playing well.”Injury updateLakers forward Ryan Kelly missed his third consecutive game because of his right hamstring. He plans to practice on Monday and could play when the Lakers play in Memphis on Tuesday. Lakers forward Nick Young will have his surgically repaired right thumb evaluated on Monday, with hopes that he can begin dribbling and passing drills with his right hand. He has stayed sidelined for the past six weeks and isn’t expected to return until late November at the earliest.center_img Amid endless losses, injuries and non-existent defense through the past two years, the Lakers still went through one significant change this offseason.Mike D’Antoni no longer patrols the sidelines after becoming a widely unpopular figure among the Lakers fanbase for reasons varying from his fast-paced offense and not being Phil Jackson. D’Antoni resigned shortly after the 2013-14 season ended because the Lakers refused to assure him they would exercise his team option that would guarantee him staying for at least two more seasons. The Lakers then hired Byron Scott, hopeful his strong equity as a player during the team’s Showtime Era would land him more support than D’Antoni received. Meanwhile, D’Antoni spent part of his time recently connecting with Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford, who served as an assistant under D’Antoni during the 2012-13 season. “We had a great time and talked basketball two to three hours a day,” Clifford said before the Lakers hosted Charlotte on Sunday at Staples Center. “He still has a real passion for coaching.” last_img read more

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