Highlights from Mitch Kupchak and Steve Clifford’s postseason media availability

Yesterday we hit the highlights of the player exit interviews. Charlotte Hornets head coach Steve Clifford and general manager Mitch Kupchak to the podium as well, and they fielded more questions and gave more interesting answers. Let’s see what they said.

Steve Clifford

  • “It was not the season we had hoped for”
  • First step of the summer is self reflection and see what the team needs to do better. He’ll study and see what they should change.
  • Talked about Mike Budenholzer and Steve Kerr as coaches he wants to study to see how they’ve been doing things
  • Wants to be around for next year but has been around long enough to not be surprised by anything
  • Stressed the increased importance of perimeter players to be able to guard their guy in today’s game; praised Mark Williams and Nick Richards for the team’s improved defense after the All Star break
  • Said JT Thor has been playing hurt but he’s thrilled with what he can be as a key depth piece
  • Players will meet with Mitch Kupchak and Buzz Peterson to talk about the season. Clifford will take more time to develop a plan for the summer.
  • Talked about the importance of having great summers in order to have great seasons
  • Said it’s absolutely important that the Hornets win to keep LaMelo Ball happy. Talked about Ball’s hatred of losing and how he’ll send late night texts apologizing for not playing well and asking how he can be better.
  • The injured players are generally close to being back at 100% for the offseason
  • Praised the players for the team culture

Mitch Kupchak

  • “It was a rough year”
  • Team has a lot of assets but plans on using cap space to bring back players
  • Excited about the draft pick to supplement a roster he feels is good enough to compete when healthy
  • Players appreciate that Steve Clifford is a straight shooter with everyone and seem to think highly of him as a coach
  • Likes the potential of Mark Williams and Nick Richards; Williams is the favorite to start next season but it all depends on how the summer goes
  • Stressed the importance of building through the draft given the market size; team needs to win more to attract big free agents
  • Praised Greensboro Swarm coach Jordan Surenkamp for living with losses brought about by the emphasis on development of young players when a lot of G League teams have more veteran players leading them to wins
  • Wants to be around a while to see this roster construction out
  • LaMelo needs to get healthy and get stronger. Wants to see him grow into a leadership role as he gets older.

Check out the highlights from the player exit interviews here.

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