SiriusXM NBA Radio Charlotte Hornets Preview – Highlights


On Thursday Frank Isola and Malik Rose of SiriusXM NBA radio aired their opinions and interviews with members of the Charlotte Hornets.  The NBA radio station has been doing Training Camps of select teams the last few weeks leading up to the NBA season starting next week.  Frank Isola is the Knicks’s beat writer for the New York Daily News and hosts The Starting Lineup on NBA Radio each morning. Malik Rose played in the NBA for years and was drafted by Charlotte but most people remember him in San Antonio.  Rose now co-hosts on NBA Radio often.

Below are some of the highlights, including interviews with Steve Clifford, Rich Cho, Kemba Walker, and Al Jefferson.  Teaser – Clifford implies there is one team he would leave Charlotte for!

These were all interviews on the radio so I had to paraphrase a lot of it, but I used quotes when I could.

Interview with Steve Clifford:

On the Preseason – The team has had a lot of “little” injuries that have not let the team have as productive a month of October as he would have hoped.  The defense has not been as sharp to this point has he wanted. He mentioned Gerald Henderson hasn’t been able to play in the preseason and Al Jefferson is nursing a sore ankle.

On Lance Stephenson – Points out he could be a difference maker on the defensive end and “gives a different dimension in the pick and roll game.”  He does preach patience with Lance though because Lance is only 23 and averaged just over 13 points per game last season. He’s not an established 20 point scorer yet but he has improved “somewhat dramatically” each of his four years in the league.  Calls Lance a “really really good talent” and says his best trait is his competitiveness, but Lance has to learn to reign that in on a nightly basis to use it as a positive.

On Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – “I’ve never seen anyone change his shooting mechanics the way Mark has with him.”

On Patrick Ewing – Clifford really went out his way to talk about how much Ewing has meant in his coaching career.  Ewing and Clifford have been on coaching staffs together in Houston, Orlando, and now Charlotte. Clifford gave him credit for the development of Yao Ming in Houston, Dwight Howard in Orlando, and Al Jefferson in Charlotte.  He and Isola both think Ewing deserves a shot to be a head NBA coach.

On his perception of the team when he took the coaching job – He feels the team has guys that “want to win.  Kemba wants to win.  Al wants to win.”  That mentality makes the coach-player dynamic easier since they have a common goal.

On the Upcoming Season – Charlotte has expectations now and Clifford points out that’s “what you want.”  The team should look forward to being expected to make the playoffs instead of being expected to vie for a lottery pick.  He feels the team has more talent now with Lance, Marvin Williams, and Brian Roberts as well as the rookies.  He said “P.J. Hairston has played even better than I’d hoped for.”  He likes that the team has more depth and more shooting.

Is there a team he’d leave Charlotte for? – Isola jokes Clifford would leave mid-practice if Manchester United came calling, and Clifford just says “I love the Red Devils.”

Jun 28, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Bobcats general manager Rich Cho speaks to the media during the first round pick Cody Zeller introduction press conference at Time Warner Arena. Mandatory Credit: Curtis Wilson-USA TODAY Sports

Comments from Rich Cho:

On building the team: Like he did in OKC, he was looking for high character guys.  Also mentioned Charlotte being a “great city.  It’s not too big, not too small, very family friendly.” This has helped Cho bring in the higher quality free agents like Al Jefferson and Lance Stephenson the last few seasons.

On the current team’s potential: To become contenders, the young guys will have to grow and continue to have a good work ethic. He does think Charlotte needs to add a piece or two, and says they are always looking at trades.

Comments from Kemba Walker:

On the team going forward this season:

Kemba – wants all the players to buy into the coaching philosophy and obviously the goal is to get back to the playoffs.  Al makes his job so much easier, and Coach Clifford uses film study to show him where passes should be, and this has helped him improve.  He’s excited to have Lance, says he’s “one of those guys you’d rather have on your team than play against.”

Kemba Walker – “I’ve been waiting four years to be the target in this league.”

“I love being around these guys.”  Says there are a lot of funny guys on the team and it’s fun to have them as teammates as well as hang out. And the most memorable quote from Kemba of the day was when addressing how the team will prepare now that they cannot sneak up on anyone this season: “I’ve been waiting four years to be the target in this league.”

Comments from Al Jefferson

Al- “Last season was a little taste, a tease of what we can do.”  Felt the team got better in the offseason, and just wants to get better as a group. Ewing told him he has to do something he’s never done before.  Play defense. And he’s proud of how the team defense was last season.

On Al’s travels – Al feels he has found a home in Charlotte after stops in Boston, Minnesota, and Utah.  He feels Charlotte can have a special team.

On Al’s newfound passing ability – Gives credit to the coaching staff and jokes it “only took him (Kemba) 3 years to learn how to use his teammates, and it took me almost 8 or 9 years.” Says Tim Duncan is one of his favorite players and likes the ball movement teams like San Antonio and Miami and he has used that as motivation for keeping the ball moving.


I personally enjoy listening to Frank Isola every morning because he tells it like it is and really talks about expectations for each team in a realistic way. Frank thought Charlotte was a great town and even said the league is better when Charlotte is good. The playoffs are a very reasonable goal and Frank and Malik think best case scenario is 4th seed.

The season is less than a week away fans, what are your expectations of this season’s Charlotte Hornets?