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Tag: Ramon Sessions

Nick Denning: Coach “Steve Clifford Perfect for (Hornets), Knows How to Maximize Their Talent”

This season, Kemba Walker appears poised to make the first All-Star appearance of his career (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).

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The Charlotte Hornets’ reliable core is back this season and performing admirably despite some early-season streakiness. As usual, with a Steve Clifford-led team, the defense is generally stout and the offense is taking care of the ball. Nick Denning, editor for SB Nation’s At the Hive, rejoins the show to discuss Kemba Walker’s brilliance, Nicolas Batum’s multi-faceted game and more broadly why this fundamental, non-flashy team handles its business so well. All that and more on the show, but first some particularly buzz-worthy bites:

3:57-4:15: “100 percent convinced [Hornets head coach Steve Clifford is the right person for the job]. He’s perfect for this team. He’s created an identify for them and one thing that’s becoming pretty clear is that players like to play for him, and we’re not necessarily talking about stars, but a lot of good players like to go play for him just because he knows how to maximize their talent.”

5:01-5:30: “His [Kemba Walker’s] emergence has been really in the last couple of seasons. He’s just never really had the pieces around him to be effective because before it was like they had to rely on him; late shot clock, whatever it was, it’s like you gotta get the ball in his hands or else there’s no chance of scoring. Now, a few more pieces, they’re much better at moving the ball and whatnot, he’s able to do more of the things that he’s good at it, but he’s also improved himself a ton. He’s actually a better player than I thought he would be at this point.” Continue reading

Mike Prada Gives Wizards 30 Percent Chance at Playoffs

Randy Wittman and John Wall are hoping that the struggling Wizards can turn it around (Keith Allison/Flickr)

Randy Wittman and John Wall are hoping that the struggling Wizards can turn it around (Keith Allison/Flickr)

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Despite the offseason departure of Paul Pierce, the Washington Wizards and their young core were widely expected to turn in another quality season. Well, things haven’t quite gone that way. SB Nation NBA editor Mike Prada was gracious enough to stop by to discuss what’s holding this young team back, such as a porous defense and an onslaught of key injuries. Here are some of the highlights:  

1:55-2:25: On why the once elite defense has taken several steps back this season: “This year, of course, they’re playing small. They only have one big on the floor, and to try to compensate, they’re doing a lot of different switching, overcompensating, and trapping and recovering. It’s not working out very well, they don’t have the personnel for it… Even last year, they didn’t really have great defensive personnel, but they had a system and they had size that they could funnel everyone to. They don’t have that anymore and I think that’s the biggest problem.”

2:35-3:10: On Bradley Beal’s injury: “It’s gonna be really hard, since they don’t have a lot of really good replacements…have to run their offense more through John Wall…hopefully they can hit some 3s…teams are gonna help off Garrett Temple and Otto Porter…it’ll open space a little more…maybe they need to use more of Otto Porter’s playmaking…it’s a bad a injury, they really are going to miss (Beal) quite a bit”

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