Steve Clifford isn’t any making drastic changes to the Charlotte Bobcats starting lineup.
The Bobcats new head coach told the Charlotte Observer Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will all return to the starting lineup alongside free agent acquisition Al Jefferson.
Who rounds out the lineup at power forward, according to Clifford, hasn’t been determined. Last season the Bobcats ranked 28th in points from the position.
First round pick Cody Zeller is the popular choice among fans to start, but Clifford would prefer not to put too much pressure on the rookie right away.
“I don’t want to put demands on him, because he’s so team-oriented he’d feel undue pressure,” Clifford told the Charlotte Observer. “I’m going to watch him, let him be comfortable and see how he goes. For us to be good, he’s got to be a really big part of it.”
Zeller showcased with an improved jump shot over the summer; leading some Bobcats officials to envision him as a stretch power forward, which would fit well next to Jefferson. However, the duo would come with their fair share of defensive concerns.
It’s presumed Bismack Biyombo will lose his starting job after making 106 starts the past two seasons. Clifford wants the 21-year-old center to find a way to be consistent each game before relying on him heavily.
“The biggest thing is he has to develop a phase of the game he can play consistently well every night. To me that’s defense overall, where he can take advantage of his quickness and athleticism.
Defensively, Biyombo’s quickness and athleticism could cover for Jefferson’s unremarkable foot speed. But with Jefferson occupying space in the paint, Biyombo doesn’t project as a good offensive fit with his lack of perimeter shooting.
Josh McRoberts could return to the starting lineup after signing a two-year contract to stay with the team in the offseason. McRoberts started 19 games for the Bobcats last season and averaged a little over nine points and seven rebounds on 50% shooting. McRoberts might be the most ideal fit with his offensive versatility and serviceable defense.
Jeff Adrien made five starts for the Bobcats last season and the team signed Anthony Tolliver to a contract, but it would be hard to imagine either as a starter barring injuries.
Training camp begins October 1 in Asheville, NC, where Clifford will look to see “who fits best” in the starting lineup.
Information from the Charlotte Observer was used in this report.
Who should the Bobcats start at power forward?
- Josh McRoberts (38%, 30 Votes)
- Jeff Adrien (3%, 2 Votes)
- Cody Zeller (47%, 37 Votes)
- Bismack Biyombo (9%, 7 Votes)
- Anthony Tolliver (3%, 2 Votes)
Total Voters: 78